Chinese co-working operator Naked Hub is going intercontinental by scooping up Australian flexible office platform Gravity. The Shanghai-based startup has signed a deal to take a 70 percent stake in Gravity, which operates three co-working venues in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, naked Hub confirmed to Mingtiandi.
Gravity is in talks for several further locations in Sydney and Melbourne to expand its current portfolio of over 5,000 square metres of premium shared office space. Through the acquisition, Gravity’s co-founder Sergio Pires takes the role of CEO Australia for naked Hub.
The deal marks another growth milestone for naked Hub, the two-year-old startup founded by luxury resort brand naked Group and backed by Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital. naked currently has 46 locations open or in the pipeline, including 26 in Shanghai, six in Beijing, three in Hangzhou and three in Hong Kong.
The company is targetting future centres in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and London, and recently boosted its mainland presence by acquiring rival Raise Office in Shanghai.
naked Acquires Premium Aussie Co-Working Brand
“This deal will bring together two proven innovators in the Asia-Pacific co-working space, and lays the groundwork for continued rollout across the region and the globe,” commented naked Hub CEO Jon Seliger in a statement.
“naked Hub, with its hospitality background, proprietary technology, award-winning design, and strong communities, perfectly complements Gravity’s vision and its commitment to converging the worlds of business and lifestyle for the benefit of its members,” he added.
Founded in 2014 by Sergio Pires and Jacqui Esdaile, Gravity markets itself as a “boutique members’ workspace” providing the top co-working venues in the trio of cities along Australia’s east coast. The centres feature open-plan work and meeting spaces, individual desks and dedicated rooms, along with classes, networking events and other social offerings.
Gravity says that its secret sauce in the increasingly competitive shared office market is its appeal to productivity-minded business professionals. Kitchens and lounge areas are provided in the centres, but there is no mention on Gravity’s corporate website of either ping-pong tables or beer on tap.
Flexible Office Operators on Expansion Drive
Prior to its Aussie foray, naked Hub in December acquired Shanghai’s Raise Office, which operates four centres in the city – in the process adding Raise founder Frank Wang to its management team, where he now reports to Seliger. The company also said it was preparing an east to west hemispheric leap to complement its north south move, by opening a pair of London locations, beginning at Gaw-owned property 123 Buckingham Palace Road.
naked’s acquisition strategy in Australia parallels the approach taken by co-working rivals such as US giant WeWork, which bought up Singapore’s SpaceMob to expand its platform to the city-state last August. Similarly, Beijing-based unicorn Ucommune (formerly UrWork) grew its Chinese network by partnering with Shanghai Fountown Entrepreneur Services last September and forging a strategic merger with its biggest mainland rival New Space last May.