Edinburgh entrepreneur with RBS backing seeks to raise £600,000 for ‘commercial property Airbnb’
An Edinburgh-based entrepreneur is seeking to raise £600,000 for a new start-up, likened to Airbnb for commercial property, with support from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Callum McPherson, 28, is part of the RBS Entrepreneur Accelerator programme based in Edinburgh, and has previously secured £50,000 worth of investment to build his online platform, Occupyd.
The platform aims to match unused spaces across a range of sectors with small businesses looking for affordable and flexible working spaces.
Mr McPherson plans to secure £600,000 worth of funding over the next two months to support product development and the delivery of its sales and marketing strategy. The funding, half of which has already been secured, will also support the creation of 15 new jobs, including marketing, sales and technical roles.
He said he created Occupyd in 2018 because of a lack of “technology disruption” in the commercial property sector, which he believed could provide more opportunities for small to medium-sized enterprises. Its model is the first of its kind in the UK and currently supports businesses in the food and drink, hairdressing, beauty salons, workshops and other industries.
One example of its use is a café in London which closes at 4pm and advertises kitchen space via Occupyd. A budding entrepreneur who wants to start catering for the food delivery market can hire the space to provide food for services like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The café owner gets additional income and the entrepreneur gets the opportunity to try out his business idea with minimal financial commitment or liability.
Occupyd, which has plans to operate globally, will launch in London in September followed by New York in early 2020.
Mr McPherson said: “We facilitate connections between businesses that need space to work and businesses that have more space than they need, so that both can thrive and grow. This new round of funding will enable us to develop the platform further and increase collaboration between businesses.
“Being part of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Accelerator programme has helped drive forward this latest round of funding. Being around like-minded entrepreneurs and having access to support and advice from the bank’s mentors and finance experts has helped me to focus growth plans.”
Stuart Dearden, entrepreneur development manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Callum is a shining example of the businesses who come through our accelerator programme and his ambitions for Occupyd over the next 12 months, will help other start-ups and SME businesses on their journey to growth. We wish Callum the best of luck with his latest round of funding.”