Europe’s coworking industry is waiting for a round of massive investments
BRUSSELS – JUNE 23rd, 2021. According to the study «Who owns the coworking industry in Europe? », produced by SocialWorkplaces.com, the European Union is still very far away in terms of investment volumes poured into the coworking market, compared to the situation in the US or the UK. While the post-Covid era is around the corner and the demand for satellite workspaces is expected to explode, Europe’s coworking industry is waiting for a round of massive investments and the situation appears both as a challenge and as an opportunity for the European Union. Download the full study for free here: «Who owns the coworking industry in Europe?».
Report on the State of the European Coworking Industry and its Capital Structure
A new study by SocialWorkplaces.com, a consultancy firm and producer of Europe’s biggest event devoted to coworking and flex office – the Coworking Europe conference – unveils the big investment potential the coworking industry has on continental Europe.
The study’s authors compared the UK market which has already been through a market consolidation phase and counts close to 50 coworking chains (brands operating at least 4 locations under the same name) to countries such as France or Germany. The European Union counts proportionally two to three times less coworking chains active on the market. In Sweden, Austria or Germany, the number of coworking chain locations per million inhabitants is no more than 5, as opposed to 15 in the UK. France does barely better than Germany, with 6 coworking chain operated locations per million inhabitants. Only The Netherlands shows a coworking chain density comparable to the British market.
Huge untapped potential for investors
The reasons for the relatively low market penetration of coworking brands in the EU are both to be found in the so far slower adoption of the coworking model on continental Europe as well as in the limited involvement of professional investors within the flexible workspace industry compared to other markets. In the UK, close to 30% of local coworking chains are funded by financial investors such as private equity funds or venture capital providers. In contrast, VC or private funding rarely goes above 12,5% of the total in the EU. As a matter of fact, the coworking sector often reflects the economic structures individual EU countries are used to. The coworking growth in France is mainly driven, for instance, by Paris based real estate owners that see coworking as a service to add to their property portfolio, whereas in Germany you see more chains owned by the founders in line with the idea of an economy driven by the “Mittelstand”.
On the short run, the situation could cause a mismatch between a rising demand for distributed workspaces and the limited existing offering in the EU. However, it also demonstrates the huge untapped potential of the coworking industry for investors. Close to 40% of the coworking chains in Europe are still owned by the initial founders and the seed capital providers, as opposed to less than 17% in the UK.
Download the full study for free here: «Who owns the coworking industry in Europe?».
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