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Former Tech Head of WeWork China Introduces On-Demand Work Pods

wework pod

As the Zero Covid Policy in China has disrupted the offline interactions and on-site work culture, Dominic Penaloza, the former head of tech and innovation at WeWork China, came up with the bold idea of On-Demand Work Pods.

These on-demand work booths are placed in public locations offering a peaceful and quiet working environment to boost people’s mental health. So now, people don’t have to choose noisy or crowded workplaces for remote work.

Dominic named his venture “Peace” and quickly raised capital for his innovative idea. The company announced recently that it has raised a seven-figure investment from a group of entrepreneurs and business partners.

Last week, this seven-month-old venture introduced its first portable pods batch at two office buildings and three known malls in Shanghai. The company aims to deploy around 1000 of them in metropolitan cities in the upcoming year. The company avoids placing security cameras to make these on-demand work pods a private space for users. As per Dominic, it is important for people to feel they are 100% in a private space where no one can hear or see their activities or screen.

Every working pod has a 35 sq. ft. big meeting table, enough to fit four people. It also features soundproof walls, ventilation fans, app-enabled security lock and charging sockets. To maintain Covid guidelines and keep each pod free from viruses and bacteria, the company uses Covid-19 prevention technology by Lumenlabs.

As per Dominic, its venture “Peace” has a sustainable growth model. The rent for each pod is around 11.25 yuan every 15 minutes. However, this is a rough cost as the actual cost in future will vary as per the location and real-time demand & supply. While the tariff is costly for a single person, if four people share the workplace, it is cost-effective and ideal for those who want peace and stable internet to work.

The company is also working with various landlords of retail spaces, transportation hubs, exhibition centers, office lobbies, urban renewable sites, etc., to attract more white-collar people. Working with them will also save their yearly maintenance costs as landlords get their annual renovation budget to make buildings better and competitive.

At the end of every booking, Peace’s tech platform notifies the property manager to clean and sanitize the space to prepare it for another booking. If everything goes well, it can be a viable business model.

The investors involved in this project are mostly entrepreneurs, like Pablo Fernandez (CleanAir Spaces), Wei Cao (LumenLabs), Chris Brooke (Brooke Husband), Hei Ming Cheng (Kailong), Patrick Berbon (CM Venture), Panda Eagle Group, and Francois Ammand and Joachim Poylo (Aden Group).

It is not the first venture of Dominic Penaloza. In 2019, he worked on an internal project, “Pay As You Go”, workspaces at WeWork China and a year later, shifted to start his own similar on-demand workspace services by collaborating with third-party property owners.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew is the Founder of TechZape. He looks the work of authors manages the completes blog. He is always keen to research about the latest tech and share it with users. He has previously worked with popular media sites such as Wired and WPMagazine.

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