Low-Code Founders: Archibald, founder of Deskapad

What has been the common thread in your life so far?

Very early on, I was tickled by the dream of becoming an inventor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, then Web designer or architect, I ended up founding DESKAPAD: 1000 third places accessible on demand, per day or per hour, to work alone or as part of a team, and now within a few clicks thanks to an innovative application.

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How was your desire for entrepreneurship born?

The path taken so far has not always been guided by entrepreneurship.

Before launching Deskapad, my career as an employee in commercial real estate offered me a nice playground to learn how to listen and imagine tailor-made real estate solutions for clients in industry, logistics or services.

For fifteen years working for SMEs, SMBs and large groups, I have been able to live and observe closely a professional picture of the salaried workforce often tinged with passion and commitment, but also with frustration.

There is no doubt that my career at Disney has been for me an exciting and enriching experience from every point of view. In charge of the development of major tertiary projects around the Parks, there has never been any room for boredom. However, as the years went by, the need for autonomy, independence and personal development became more and more evident.

While it was important to end this salary commitment on a positive note, it was even more vital to look at my professional future differently and to embrace again this feeling of moving forward and progressing.

I was ready to write a new page and take on new challenges.

What led you to create Deskapad?

Deskapad represented both opportunity and continuity. Indeed, I was able to take advantage of the experience accumulated in commercial real estate for the benefit of a platform that advocates the use of flexible real estate (coworking, corpoworking) in companies to develop the future of work.

Having participated in the creation of office districts at Disney, the inspiration of coworking and the benefits of sharing services have shaped Deskapad’s philosophy and have fed my current strategy.

Faced with the lack of B2B solutions really designed around the punctual needs of coworking, either for a day of teleworking or an inspiring meeting with teams or a client, I positioned Deskapad on this economic and topical opportunity in order to deeply change the employee’s life in relation to the workspace.

You previous job was nevertheless very stimulating. What made you leave the security of a salary job?

While I initially thought it would be better to have nothing to risk in my personal life to launch an entrepreneurial adventure, the reality was quite different.

If you do the math, at the time Deskapad was created, I couldn’t check any of the “I have nothing to lose” boxes. Married, father of a little girl, engaged in a real estate loan for more than 20 years, enjoying a great career in real estate, employed in a large group, I ticked more the cases of “I have a lot to lose”.

Nevertheless, with unfailing family support, entrepreneurship had become obvious: sweeping away “security” in favor of new fulfillment.

I thus decided to embrace the challenge of renewal, of creation: to become an actor to share a more personal vision of the future of work.

What were the main difficulties on your way?

Real estate development and application development are not related subjects. It was quite complex to see clearly in the programming nebula.

Between the question of financing the application, choosing the right partner and combining the technical roadmap with that of customer acquisition, the stakes were high and time was running out!

Moreover, I quickly realized that having an idea is one thing, executing it correctly is another. So I had two options: develop the platform with my own hands or find a trusted partner.

How were you able to solve it?

My willingness to go fast led me to the fastest programming tools on the market such as Bubble.io (the market leading visual development environment).

Nevertheless, even if Bubble is considered as a language more accessible to “non Techs”, the fact remains that my learning curve on this technology was too important to carry out the technical ambition of my project in parallel with the many subjects on which I had to take time.

That is why I turned to CUBE (formerly INTRAFOUNDERS), a company specialized on Bubble, from the conception to the technical development of my Web Application.

After only 6 weeks, I had the pleasure to discover a robust and customized platform, operational to attack my market with force.

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Even if all that hassle is behind you, it might not always have been easy. How did you handle your doubts?

The delivery of the application was mid-March, the day before the announcement of the country’s containment by Edouard Philippe to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

This was a violent halt to the project. Indeed, if everyone was stuck at home, how could I develop my business?

That’s when I came up with the idea of transforming my value proposition to offer partner companies the possibility of setting up their own premises as a corpoworking space, so that they can not only be users but also providers of space on the platform, in parallel with third locations.

Thus, after a first pivot, the revised value proposition allows a better response to the issues of real estate flexibility and post-covid challenges. Moreover, the idea was not to surf on the Covid wave and benefit from an ephemeral effect, but I always kept in mind a “Work from anywhere” vision based first of all on the multiplicity of places and for defined uses.

Three things really helped me to stay on course:

- Confidence in myself and in my ability to move forward;

- Having faith in the future;

- To have been able to find my energy in my closest environment: alongside my family, my friends and a large contingent of friendly beta testers. I really felt a continuous strength thanks to all these links.