Jason Anderson, brand president and CSO of Vast Coworking Group, on the secret sauce behind the brand’s rapid growth

“When we launched Venture X in 2016, we bucked convention in many ways – from our model to our growth strategy,” said Jason Anderson, President of Vast Coworking Group and CSO of United Franchise Group. “What would be considered normal strategies today were very risky and novel, going against the grain and the then-$40 billion-valuated behemoth that WeWork was at the time.

“Going back to almost a decade ago, shared workspaces were predominantly used by freelancers, solo entrepreneurs, and small businesses so up to that point, many concepts were catering to these customers and focused on coworking/being the antithesis of the traditional office. They touted large, common areas where collaboration and networking could flourish. You wouldn’t dare see a stuffy cubicle or dark, closed-off office; instead, it wasn’t uncommon to see bean bags, ping pong tables, or even a bar with beer on tap.

New model

Venture X caught the judges’ eyes in the Global Franchise Awards, leading to the brand taking the win for the Best Emerging Franchise category.

“With Venture X and the other brands in our Vast network, we’ve always drawn inspiration from some of the world’s most successful hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton, seeking to cater to business professionals, not just freelancers and coworkers. That said, we took a different approach with Venture X and scaled coworking space to only 10-15% of our floorplan with a greater focus on private offices.

“We wanted to take the best features of a traditional office and elevate them with an impeccable level of design, complete with hospitality-infused amenities and concierge-level member experiences.

“This approach benefited us post-pandemic where now shared workspaces are being utilized by businesses of all types, including large enterprises that traditionally held long-term leases in commercial office buildings.

Breaking new markets

“When it comes to our growth strategy, instead of focusing on hyper-growth central business districts such as New York City and San Francisco, we’ve zeroed in on underserved suburban markets. With the rise of remote and hybrid work since the pandemic, demand outside city centers has continued to grow. There are millions less commuters on the road today than there were in 2019 and people appreciate having a professional and welcoming place to work close to their homes.

“As part of Vast Coworking Group, Venture X members have access to the third largest global coworking network with over 2.4 million square feet of space in nine countries. We have a global booking platform so members of any of our three brands can work at our entire portfolio of spaces whenever they travel.

“For our franchise owners, being part of Vast and the United Franchise Group (UFG) family of brands, they have tremendous business development and collaboration opportunities. Some of UFG’s other brands, like Fully Promoted, utilize space in our locations and our franchise owners have utilized Graze Craze for catering when hosting events in their event space.

“Finally, within our three brands – Venture X, Office Evolution, and Intelligent Office – we have developed a hub-and-spoke development model that allows our franchise owners to diversify their portfolios while gaining more market share.

“To give an example of how this works: Venture X, which caters to a member base found more in densely populated urban metros, acts as the hub, whereas Office Evolution, which caters to a more suburban member base, acts as a spoke.

“So, a franchise owner could open a Venture X in the Greater London area and then open Office Evolutions in surrounding suburban areas. We have a few franchise owners leveraging the Vast network to its fullest potential in this way and we see this as an ongoing strategy to fuel our expansion.

Leading the workspace sector

“The public shared workspace sector is currently experiencing a level of stagnancy in growth as WeWork restructures following its bankruptcy filing and IWG/Regus considers a move to the New York Stock Exchange. We see an opportunity to reinvigorate the market in the private sector, which is ripe for development as hybrid operations and commercial office vacancies continue to rise.

“Vast is pioneering a paradigm shift in the industry to revolutionize the coworking experience by creating an interconnected ecosystem of coworking brands, services, and amenities – just as Marriott Bonvoy has done within the hotel industry. Venture X is a key player in this shift, serving a high-demand demographic within the marketplace.

“My role as President of Vast Coworking Group is overseeing the development of all our brands, including Venture X, as well as strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Essentially, my job is to continue identifying opportunities where Venture X and its franchise owners can thrive.

“Our Vast network will continue to grow this year with the acquisition of our fourth brand and first co-warehousing concept. We also have 200+ locations in the pipeline for our existing brands, so we’re already in position to significantly grow our global footprint in the coming years.”

For more information, please visit venturexfranchise.com 

Vast is pioneering a paradigm shift in the industry to revolutionize the coworking experience by creating an interconnected ecosystem of coworking brands, services, and amenities – just as Marriott Bonvoy has within the hotel industry. Venture X is a key player in this shift, serving a high-demand demographic within the marketplace. Our Vast network will continue to grow its global footprint this year with the acquisition of our fourth brand and first co-warehousing concept and 200+ new locations in the pipeline.

Jason Anderson, President