HeadBox is a newly-launched marketplace in the U.K. for ‘creative, inspiring and off-site spaces’. It enables corporate, SME, and private bookers to find and book spaces for things like launch events and parties, off-site meetings, workshops or basically any kind of occasion that requires a setting that moves slightly beyond the everyday.
“The process of trying to book creative, inspiring, off-site spaces is very time consuming and painful. It involves lots of phone calls, emails, filling in forms and contracts and is very paper based,” Andrew Needham, CEO and founder of HeadBox, says when asked to describe the problem the London-based startup solves.
“The reason for this is the market is currently dominated by traditional venue listing sites who act as a middle-man between the space booker and the space owner. These companies use their websites purely as a lead generator as their business model is based on being an event organiser.”
Aiming to “disrupt” this traditional listings approach, HeadBox can be viewed as a classic online marketplace play, in that it significantly reduces the friction involved for both the space owners wishing to monetise their empty property, and those seeking a creative and inspiring space for short term rental.
To that end, Needham says that HeadBox cuts out the middle-person (or replaces it, depending on your way of looking at these things) and makes searching, booking and paying for a space easier and quicker, “solving a lot of the current pain points people face when it comes to booking a space for a work related event”.
In addition, HeadBox is making it easier for hosts to unlock their under-utilised space and drive additional revenue. “This is opening up a much wider variety of creative and unexpected off-site spaces for Guests to choose from e.g. cool coffee shops, art galleries and bistro pubs to dance and yoga studios, theatres, boats, yachts and many more!” he says.
In that way the young company is reminiscent of what Appear Here is doing for ‘pop-up shops’ by matching commercial landlords who have retail space lying empty with brands looking for a short term physical presence on the high street.
Meanwhile, HeadBox is disclosing that it has raised £1.2 million in seed funding. Backing comes from a total of 12 investors including HeadBox Chairman Ralph Kugler (who is also Chairman of Cognita Schools and former Main Board Director of Unilever), Martin McCourt (former CEO of Dyson), Anand Verma (former Global President and CEO of IPG Media Brands and now CEO of Brilliant Basics, who are also HeadBox’s product partner), and Andy Cosslett (former CEO of InterContinental Hotels).
“We already have over 1,000 spaces on the platform and will have over 2,500 spaces within 6 months and over 5,000 in 18 months. This means HeadBox will have the largest collection of amazing and varied creative, inspiring and off-site spaces, all in one place,” adds Needham.