Conversation with Marco Crespo, Director General de Woba

We recently spoke with Marco Crespo, the Director General of Woba. Marco holds an engineering degree from the State University of Campinas and an MBA from Harvard.

He served as Country Manager for Yalo in Brazil, structuring the startup’s operations in 2022. Marco’s extensive background includes roles at Gympass, Instituto Ayrton Senna, and Boston Consulting Group.

As an investor and advisor, he has supported over 10 startups. In 2023, Marco became a partner and COO of Woba, Latin America’s largest flexible office network, focusing on quality of life and team productivity.

Marco shared the following insights

Founded in 2017 in Belo Horizonte by Roberta and Pedro Vasconcelos and Eric Santos, Woba, formerly BeerOrCoffee, became Latin America’s largest coworking network by 2022.

Initially created to facilitate networking, Woba transformed in response to the shift towards hybrid work and increased demand for adaptable office spaces.

Early challenges included validating the business model and scaling operations. Managing multiple coworking spaces was complex, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required rapid adaptation to support remote and hybrid work demands.

The demand for flexible office spaces in Latin America has surged since 2017, driven by the need for dynamic work models and remote work growth. The pandemic accelerated this trend, pushing companies to seek alternatives to traditional offices.

To manage over 2,000 spaces in 300 cities, Woba employs an advanced tech platform for booking and optimizing space usage. A flexible subscription model allows businesses to adjust their needs in real time. Partnerships with experienced coworking operators ensure space maintenance and quality.

Woba stands out with its extensive network, sophisticated management technology, and flexible contracts. Their personalized recommendation platform and flexible subscription model offer a unique, efficient client experience. Close collaboration with coworking operators ensures high-quality spaces and continuous improvement based on customer feedback.

Technology underpins Woba’s operations, enabling efficient booking management, data analysis for space optimization, and seamless user experience. Recent funding has enhanced Woba’s tech and infrastructure, expanding their workspace network and introducing new functionalities.

Customer satisfaction is measured using metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), occupancy rates, client reviews, and retention rates. The latest funding improved their tech platform for a more intuitive user experience and expanded their network, offering more flexibility and support to coworking partners. This investment enabled significant growth: 2,000+ flexible offices, 3,500+ meeting rooms, 300+ event spaces, 11,000+ workstations, and 2,100 private offices across 300 cities in Latin America.

Woba collects feedback through periodic surveys, direct communication channels, and platform feedback tools, using the insights to enhance services, improve technology, and optimize partnerships.

Woba leads in a rapidly growing market, with Brazil’s coworking spaces increasing by 22% in the past year. With over 2,000 units, Woba holds a significant share of Brazil’s flexible office market.

Future plans include expanding further into Latin America, strengthening positions in current markets like Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. Funding has supported this expansion by investing in technology, growing the network, and marketing to attract new clients.

Woba prioritizes sustainability by optimizing space usage, reducing resource consumption, and minimizing carbon footprints. They adopt green practices, promote eco-friendly attitudes, and partner with like-minded operators.

Additional capital has enhanced Woba’s talent acquisition, offering competitive packages and professional development opportunities, crucial for supporting growth and service improvement.

Entrepreneurs entering the flexible workspace sector should build strong partnerships, invest in technology for efficient operations, and remain customer-focused. Woba’s Coworking Census 2024 report highlights essential customer experience elements and the trend towards multidisciplinary spaces to enhance business efficiency.

Woba envisions a future where the best real estate strategy adapts seamlessly to business needs, emphasizing flexibility without bureaucracy.