Mohamed Khaled, who traces his origin to Egypt, is driving the development of the ‘Future of Work’ that was born during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020
Mohamed Khaled is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hotdesk, the homegrown UAE platform that provides instant access to remote workspaces at a client’s fingertips. Mohamed, who traces his origin to Egypt, has more than seven years’ experience working in the region.
He is a charismatic, driven, solutions-focused, strategic financial expert, who is playing a pivotal role in the way start-ups, consultants and even enterprises manage their remote working structures. He is the architect behind Hotdesk and oversees business operations, development, and global expansion strategies. He is leading a team of over 50 top-flight professionals, who have joined Hotdesk from Google, Swvl, WeWork, etc.
Hotdesk began its simultaneous operations in 2020 in the UAE and Egypt. The UAE serves as the company’s headquarters, while Egypt acts as a base for its operations and technology teams.
Mohamed weighed in on the big idea behind the start-up.
“Prior to entering the start-up world, I spent more than six years as a Senior Associate working for one of the Big Four. For the uninitiated, these are the world’s largest consulting firms such as PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the industry’s $150 (Dh550.89) billion global market. I spent most of my time travelling and working from various locations across the region, often in silos; as a result, I was limited to the options of where to work from, when it wasn’t at a client’s office. Towards the end of my time at the company, I began to rethink the ways of co-working, realising that more flexible working options were needed for workforces of the future to adapt and thrive, and that was the germinal idea behind Hotdesk,” he said.
Hotdesk has been disrupting the industry in a brief span of time.
”The start-up supports the ‘3.0 work model’, where the new work order is a hybrid blend of working from office, home, and now co-working spaces. Many start-ups, consultants, freelancers and creatives looking to work in co-working spaces are restricted to fixed locations, often with large fees and long-term agreements, which lead to limited flexibility. That’s where Hotdesk comes in. We empower our users to search for and book workspaces, meeting rooms as well as private offices on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly basis – with no fixed committment,” he added.
Hotdesk is disrupting the industry when it comes to enterprise. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many corporate houses have adopted more flexible working policies, driven by employee demand and the importance of enabling ease of working wherever staff happen to be based. Mohamed spotted an opportunity here – to offer flexible, company-vetted and approved spaces for these business houses to offer their staff when they are travelling or prefer to work from somewhere else instead of the office environment.
Mohamed believes he is helping to support ‘work 3.0’, with the office, the home and flexible co-working spaces coming together.
He explained the revenue model of the fledgling start-up.
“Hotdesk matches supply and demand in the market, and the end-user always gets the best prices from the co-working hosts, enjoying us as a free service. We charge a market-based fee that varies slightly from market to market, and that fee is then collected from the co-working hosts’ revenue. Some might compare the model with Uber, Careem, or Airbnb, although we charge a lower fee and help our hosts sell workspaces, which otherwise would be vacant. We’re helping users achieve a better work-life balance and get things done, while driving the development of the “Future of Work”.
Technology holds the key for Hotdesk
“Built in house by a team of experts who have come from companies such as Google and Swvl, we offer a stack model enabling it to provide multiple solutions for clients. We’ve developed sophisticated proprietary software to deliver an outstanding user experience, with a backend deeply rooted in the massive supplier network for international coworking hosts around the globe. We continue to focus on automation and digitisation to scale up seamlessly, with minimal people required, and to help drive and shape the workplace of the future,” Mohamed said.
The start-up is unique in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region because it’s facing zero competition.
“We’re the only on-demand workspace booking platform in the region. Whilst in other markets there are similar companies in the same space, we’re proud to be pioneering and leading the charge on the ‘New Work Order’ and welcome the ecosystem that is developing in terms of empowering more flexible working and increasing productivity,” Mohamed added.
Following a year of tremendous growth, which saw the start-up grow from 15 bookings in its first month to over 10,000+ monthly bookings in less than 12 months since its inception in the UAE and Egypt, Hotdesk will be expanding into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
”For years, the KSA has offered an abundance of opportunity and Hotdesk now feels this is the time to lay down its marker and offer its solutions to the ever-growing ecosystem of freelancers, start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Beyond the region, Hotdesk has its sights set on scaling from East to West in the New Year and providing its unique product offering to the ever-demanding European market, according to Mohamed.