Of all the new coworking spaces in Jakarta, there are several reasons why Clapping Club stands out among the rest.
One of them is the fact that the coworking space is being owned and operated by software development company Clapping Ape.
“Clapping Club is a product extension of Clapping Ape, which core business is a software house,” Clapping Ape CEO Bobby Pranoto explains to e27 on our visit to the facility.
Pranoto explains how the relations between Clapping Ape and Clapping Club benefit not only the two business entities, but also the community built in the coworking space.
While many coworking spaces often rely solely on organising events to attract crowds and build a community within the space, the community within Clapping Club is built on interactions between coworking space users and the Clapping Ape.
Startups which are using the coworking space often consult with the Clapping Ape team for web development, and the Clapping Ape also often act as a mentor for the startups.
“We have developers who used to work for Berrybenka, Lippo Group, and other startups such as Bukalapak, and they never hesitate to share their knowledge. They often go downstairs to teach our friends at the coworking space who wish to learn about Ruby on Rails, front-end development, back-end development … We also have friends who are working on designs … And we don’t charge them [for learning],” Pranoto explains.
With a facility that is able to house up to 40 members, Clapping Club says it is able to attract users even from abroad.
“Yesterday we had someone from the Netherlands who came all the way here to work as a reporter … We also have one founder from Argentina who single-handedly run his startup; he has no partner but he is ambitious. He works in here and he is an influence to his friends,” Pranoto says.
BBQs and fast internet
The Clapping Ape story began when Pranoto returned to Indonesia from his study in the US in November 2015.
Initially, the entrepreneur planned to stay in his hometown Surabaya while running a restaurant business, but he was later being offered a position in media and tech giant Emtek Group to handle digital marketing for its portfolio company Karir.com.
Looking to find a new challenge, Pranoto then set up Clapping Ape in the popular South Jakarta coffee shop Crematology, and got the business a four-story space in nearby Wolter Monginsidi area.
“As a software house and agency, we don’t need as many as four floors [of office spaces]. And then we think it through, what is the one thing that designers, developers, and marketers would need everyday? The answer is a coworking space,” he explains.
Clapping Club’s location is just across the street from Comma, one of the earliest coworking spaces in Jakarta which had shut down its business in March 2016.
Pranoto admitted that when it comes to location, Clapping Club may not be as “prime” as other coworking spaces in CBD areas, but he believes that when it comes to facilities and design the space is “able to compete.”
The four-story building offers meeting room, common room, and pantry in its first floor while its second floor is dedicated for the coworking space itself.
The third floor is dedicated exclusively for Clapping Ape; the floor also includes tatami room with adjustable desks.
The highlight of the facilities is the outdoor space on the fourth floor, which can be used for BBQ parties by members.
“Anyone is free to use them as long as they are willing to share the food,” Pranoto joked.
And the most important facility of them all is …
“The internet. As a software house, we have servers and other stuff. We can’t possibly use a 15MB per second plan,” Pranoto says.
Coworking space industry in Indonesia gets more competitive with the rise of new players.
But Pranoto is reluctant to refer to other industry players as competitors; he would prefer to call them partners instead. He is even willing to recommend users to other places if it is more convenient for them to reach.
“If we are comparing ourselves to players such as Conclave, we are nothing. But our selling point is that we have been in the industry long enough to learn from what they have done, and how we can improve,” he says.
“Our strategy [to compete with them] is by showcasing how we can help the community to grow. Maybe you have the same ideology as ours, then we can more forward together,” he continues.
Pranoto then dubbed affordability as one of the key strengths that Clapping Club can offer to potential users. Students can use the facilities for as low as IDR350,000 (US$26) per month, while startups can use it for IDR500,000 (US$37).
“We are cheaper because we are not money-driven. ‘So how can you survive if you don’t make money?’ Because we need the space anyway [to run our core business]. We have extra space and we are willing to share it,” he says.
For the long run, Clapping Club is considering to open a new space outside of Jakarta.
“Back again to our core business as a software house, we are always in need of developers and designers, and we are thinking about finding them in places such as Malang, Jogjakarta, or perhaps even in North Jakarta where coworking spaces are still limited. We need to figure out how to supply it to them,” he said.