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BGF backs Desana to solve hybrid working for global employers

BGF News 07.01.2021

BGF has participated in  an oversubscribed round into Desana, the Edinburgh-based startup that is transforming how global employers utilise workspaces.

Desana secured $4 million from a consortium of international investors to fast-track growth in the in the face of overwhelming market demand.

BGF invested alongside German-based early-stage specialist, Proptech1 Ventures existing investor Techstart Ventures, with participation from GroundBreak Ventures and the Accel Sout Programme.

Desana is a flexible / hybrid workspace platform for global employers, which was set-up by co-founders Michael Cockburn (CEO), Steve Jeans (COO), and Ro Ramtohul (CTO).

The business enables companies to manage how their workforce uses space globally. Staff can choose to work from their employer’s own buildings or from Desana’s fast growing global network of flexible workspace operators in over 40 countries, with companies having the ability to curate which spaces can be accessed by any member of staff.

Funding will be used to capitalise on unprecedented market demand by growing the team and further enhancing its technology platform. The business currently has over 200      customers in its pipeline (including S&P 500 companies) which is growing rapidly as the market trend towards more hybrid working continues at pace.

Michael Cockburn, CEO of Desana, said: “The growth of the business comes at a time when the traditional world of work has turned on its head. The shift towards flexible working was already in progress, however Covid-19, has accelerated this change. Employers are now looking for the flexibility that home working offers, however, they also yearn for the human interaction of the office. Desana fulfils a much-needed hybrid between the two.”

Office space is a company’s second highest overhead, after staff, with more than $825 billion each year wasted on under-utilised, inflexible offices that no longer serve the needs of workforces.

Michael added: “For years, employers have been trying to reduce the reliance on traditional leases in pursuit of better efficiency, increased flexibility, and happier employees. However, the challenge has been doing this across different workspaces and geographies. Desana’s platform offers a quick and efficient solution for both employers and employees, and as a result of our latest funding round, we will be able to meet these requirements at scale. We’re delighted to get the backing of such a high calibre team of investors who have quickly bought into the vision of the business.”

Paddy Graham, head of BGF’s Central Scotland and Northern Ireland team, said: “Desana is a really exciting business that is in a prime position to facilitate the current market shift to a flexible working approach. We immediately saw the company’s potential and alongside the other co-investors were able to deploy growth capital, at speed, to help it capitalise on the opportunity at hand. As a growth funder, BGF wants to harness the skills and technology in Scotland. Therefore, it’s crucial that firms like Desana have a viable path to access local and strategic funders so they can scale up to their full potential and this investment is a great example of delivering that. We look forward to working with the team as they reach their ambitious goals.”