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A look back on 2021, with learnings for the future

Dec 15, 2021

The new world of work 

If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it's that in a post-pandemic lifestyle, flexible work and employees embracing remote working, is here to stay. Employers have been forced to adapt their offerings to suit these new needs, by either choosing flexible workspaces for their team, or by offering remote working opportunities. With over 1,300 space members and an extended community of over 4,700, it’s clear that flex working is no longer a trend, it’s a choice that business owners, individuals and corporates are making as they step closer to the future of work.

Earlier in the year, Spacecubed Founder and Managing Director, Brodie McCulloch shared his thoughts with The West Australian on how a hybrid work model is a long-term solution for the way forward. “This hybrid model allows employees to work from the office at least three to four times a week. Working face to face hasn’t been replicated by technology, and employees need collaboration, human connection and activity to thrive.” 

In a study we conducted with Ewert Leaf’s EliLabs on The Third Space, we found that 77% of individuals were looking for more casual workspaces in 2021 so that they could facilitate meetings and work collaboratively. This was then reflected within our spaces, with 5,044 meeting room bookings from Spacecubed members in the past 12 months, and a record number of members attending our larger scale events, including End of Financial Year and Christmas Party, showcasing the need for human interaction, connections, and collaboration. A full outline of this can be found in our 2020/2021 Annual Report.

Ranjeev Sidhu, Innovation Product Manager at BetterLabs, shared that the community at Spacecubed has been pivotal in providing feedback on their product. “We’ve had some great help from members checking out our product and giving us candid, honest feedback – which most people won’t give, they’ll just tell you they love your idea or what you’re working on, but it’s the real honest, critical feedback that helps you improve your product.” 

With COVID-19 accelerating both our thinking and our action, in 2022 we can expect to see things continuing to move quickly. Looking back on 2020 and 2021, it’s interesting to see how we adapted to working from home, hosting virtual meetings and promoting employee engagement online, while simultaneously keeping businesses afloat. Nevertheless, it shows how capable we are of fast thinking, action and change, a momentum we can expect to see continue in 2022.


Growing programs of support 

With our Plus Eight accelerator program running for its fifth year, we were pleased to announce Woodside as a major partner alongside BetterLabs, Eastcourt, Mirvac, Hawaiian, and Jackson MacDonald, as we continue to support the future of startups in Western Australia. Through this program, we’ve been able to invest over $1.5M, with an additional $12M in follow-on investments and a $101M latest portfolio valuation.

Our yearly Demo Night, hosted this year as part of West Tech Fest, is just one of the examples of how far innovation in WA has come, and how Spacecubed have played a pivotal role in this growth. A big congratulations to our 2021 cohort, Snackr, IDEA, Wolfit Box, Tender Relief, Ready Team One and The Tooth Market.

Alongside our accelerator program, She Codes has continued to reach new heights in 2021 with the recent funding announcement from the Women's Leadership and Development Program, from the Office of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, enabling more women to join the Tech sector. With 70% of She Codes graduates pivoting into tech roles, and more companies joining forces to increase the diversity levels, it’s clear that this program will continue to make waves in 2022.

“With the need to double down on the investment in STEM education, and build a pipeline of talent to fill the ever-growing technical jobs across the country continuing to be a prevalent topic, we’re excited to reflect on the work we’ve been doing, and showcase the opportunities for other businesses to get involved in the future.” She Codes Founder, Kate Kirwin shared.

With 39% of our members struggling to hire, and find the right staff to grow their businesses, we can expect to see this be a strong and defining trend of 2022, like it has in 2021. Programs like She Codes are leading this charge, as they work to upskill internal teams and the broader community, and with corporates following this trend, we can expect to see a stronger talent pipeline here in WA, and throughout Australia.


Reinvesting in Western Australia 

During FY20-21, Spacecubed Foundation remained committed to our ongoing support of key youth and regional entrepreneurship projects. We supported 10 social enterprises through our Impact Scholarship, with 95% of these business owners transitioning through our programs to upskill and grow their offerings, as well as provided grant funding to social enterprises like Impact Seed and IDEA Academy to deliver key programs in youth and regional entrepreneurship to organisations.

The support to IDEA was accelerated through their selection to participate in the Plus Eight Accelerator program. IDEA has since gone on to raise capital and will run the first IDEA co-learning Hub out of FLUX in 2022. IDEA will provide an alternative pathway to over 20 Year 11 and Year 12 students in its first year operating as an Entrepreneurship school co-located within Spacecubed’s biggest coworking spaces in the CBD.

Spacecubed Foundation also supported other initiatives to encourage diversity in skills and technology, like Murdoch University’s National Indigenous Summer School and the Innovation in Education Festival run by BOP Industries.

Spacecubed continues to support and build the Regional Innovation ecosystem through the Meshpoints initiative. The Meshpoints network supports over 30 regional innovation champions and hubs and builds capacity in regional innovators, with a view to diversify the regional WA economy. A recent success story from Meshpoints programs is Tender Relief, a Karratha based business that was also selected to go through the Pls Eight accelerator program after winning a regional pitch competition, and has grown significantly over the past 12 months.

One of the 10 social enterprises supported through our Impact Scholarship, Force Hooks, went on to receive the Golden Ticket at Freo Startup Fest giving them direct access to the 2022 Accelerator Program, as well as flights to London Tech Week. This shows that Perth, and the Spacecubed community, is an incredible launchpad for growing startups, and just how important it is to give back to our local community. 

“You certainly can’t beat locally owned, socially responsible enterprises who look after their customers, and Spacecubed is the standard by which we measure everyone else.” Piers Higgs, CEO of Gaia Resources shared.


2022, Let’s Go! 

As we look forward to 2022, and beyond, it’s clear that the trends we’re noticing throughout our community are here to stay. When it comes to where and how we work, there are three main models: full-scale private offices that are centralised for the entire team, remote organisations that are split across states, and a hybrid approach. 

We are looking forward to continuing to support our members and partners to grow and adapt to the future of work along with enabling their upskilling and reskilling through our programs. 2022 provides an opportunity to rethink how people work and the ways we support them to achieve their goals and objectives, we are excited about working with you to help make this a reality. 

Have a great holiday season and see you in 2022!