Proptech Growth Strategy Brief Newsletter
Codi Growth Strategy
Codi unlocks residential spaces for use as distributed coworking spaces.
"Grain of Salt" Warning: I write this newsletter with an outsider's understanding of the business in question. I am likely to make mistakes, leaps of judgement, and assumptions - that's what makes it fun.
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After Airbnb broke the space sharing economy wide open, pundits have been predicting that remote work and the creator economy were poised to flip the commercial real estate market on it's head, much like Airbnb did to residential.
Now, while WeWork picks up the pieces left by their IPO debacle, it's starting to seem like the future of office space is less 'consolidating the unconsolidated' as WeWork aimed to do, but catering more to a truly distributed workforce that doesn't want to simply trade their corporate office for a shared office the next block over.
COVID provided us with a true mass market test of work-from-home, and we've seen mixed results. More freedom, sure, but many were left taking calls in their closets and running from their children to eek out a moment's peace and quiet. It seems like what's needed is office space that doesn't replicate the same issues that made employees dislike going into the office in the first place, but mitigates all the downsides of working from their own homes.
Codi seems poised to walk this line. Codi turns ordinary residential spaces into makeshift day-time coworking spaces. This allows employees to find space near them - something nearly impossible to do with commercial spaces, especially for suburban dwellers. Taking cues from Breather before it, Codi focuses on creating workspaces that fit the needs of businesses and employees, rather than trying to shove all businesses into the catch-all coffin of a commercial lease. But unlike Breather, Codi focuses on shared spaces bookable by individuals, rather than the higher price point required to book entire spaces.
At it's core, Codi is a bet on corporations continuing to give in to employee demands for freedom and flexibility as a way to attract and retain talent. Here's how I think they could unlock new levels of growth.
Codi is a marketplace, so we'll focus on one key idea for both supply and demand sides. Geo-targeted roll out will be an advantage - it will give Codi a chance to kickstart to a critical mass of supply to impress demand side enough that they'll come back.
For supply, raiding Airbnb might be a good place to start. Hosting white collar workers during the day is lower risk than Airbnb guests at night, and Codi may even pay hosts more, so it shouldn't be a terribly difficult sales process.
For demand, the goal should be to collect city-segmented email lists of people interested. Consider driving paid traffic and local PR traffic to a landing page that collects emails with the promise of updates when new local coworking homes come online.
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After hosts list their space, a strong email onboarding sequence will be critical to get them to open up their calendars and set their space live. Host case studies, content on insurance and host protection, and information on local demand would go a long way toward reducing friction and increasing desire to green-light their space on the Codi marketplace.
Now that Codi has segmented email lists for each city they're live in, send a similar onboarding sequence for users, and begin sending weekly or bi-weekly emails highlighting new spaces opening in the city, and interviewing local users to use as case studies. The goal here is to build trust by highlighting people and places they are likely to be familiar with.
For both sides of the marketplace, a standard referral program segmented by city should suffice. Provide higher rewards for referrer and referee in the beginning, and slowly lower reward over time as referral program hits predefined benchmarks.
To build loyalty to aide retention, build low cost perks for users. Community could be very valuable here, as remote workers often miss social and networking opportunities that are mainstays of office life. Building local communities of remote workers and providing them opportunities to connect could go a long way toward retaining Codi's space users.
That's it for today. Thanks for reading!
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