When went out of business in March 2016, a former editor reached out to me to discuss some of the most pressing questions we have about coworking space industry in Indonesia: Is it a crucial element of the country’s tech ecosystem, or is it nothing but a mere fad? Also, is it possible that their golden days are over before it can even begin?

Fast forward to the end of 2017, we began to see many exciting developments in the Indonesian coworking space scene.

We saw coworking space chains such as Rework and EV Hive raising a massive amount of funding, followed by acquisitions to strengthen their presence in the market.

We also began to see foreign top brands entering the market, from Spacemob, Block71, to Spaces. Even a hospital chain and the provincial government run their own coworking spaces today.

Also Read: Coworking space chain JustCo raises Series B round by Thailand’s Sansiri

Does this mean that coworking space operators can start flooding potential investors’ office with pitch decks?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

Because as highlighted by Coworking Indonesia President Faye Alund in a previous interview with e27, local coworking spaces are still facing challenges in convincing and converting potential users.

So we decided to take a look at the industry trends throughout 2017, and discover the characteristics of a well-funded coworking space in Indonesia.

This might just be the secret to running a successful coworking space.

1. Location, location, location

One thing that we noticed about new coworking spaces launched in 2017 is that, in Jakarta, their locations are getting closer and closer to CBD areas such as Sudirman-Thamrin and Kuningan. In its early days, most coworking spaces are located near residential areas such as Senopati and Kemang, areas that are known for hip cafes and hangout places.

But today most newly launched coworking spaces are located in skyscrapers in CBD areas, and we believe that this is strongly related to commuting habits in Jakarta. As a city with one of the worst traffic congestion in the world, getting to places in time is a challenges of its own.

Coworking space users who are building their businesses can certainly appreciate a space’s close proximity to potential partners’ offices.

2. Privacy, please!

I recently went to Spacemob Gama to host the Jakarta Meetup 2017 event, a collaboration between e27 and DailySocial. Like many coworking spaces, the venue offers a communal section with open office plans for users to work in. In addition to that, it also offers private office spaces for startups and SMEs to rent.

Also Read: We checked out 6 of the best coworking spaces in Beijing, so you don’t have to

A visitor commented that under such settings, the venue will be more similar to a virtual office than a coworking space. While the exact definition of a coworking space might be debatable, we learned that many new coworking spaces in Jakarta (such as Rework and GoWork) implement this setting to answer demands from the users themselves.

As much as there is a great emphasis on collaboration, some users still appreciate a certain level of privacy.

3. Family ties

Another element that we noticed among the newer coworking spaces in Jakarta is that they often have ties to a venture capital firm or corporate giants. Think Salim Group’s Block71 Jakarta or Bundamedik Hospital’s H Cube.

Clapping Club is an example of such coworking space; the space is being owned and ran by a software developer company called Clapping Ape. The benefits of the arrangement, apart from funding support, is the opportunity to network and build communities within the space itself. Since communities are the factor that sets coworking space apart from the rest, this might just be the secret of attracting potential users to the space.

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