After 12 years of building and exiting a successful business, I thought I’d have tons of time to write, think and ideate. Unfortunately, it was impossible to find spaces to do this: co-working spaces were too distracting, cafes weren’t ergonomic, and I needed a break from working from home.
So I became a digital nomad, working while travelling around France and Spain for a few months. But it was difficult to find places with reliable wifi. Desks – even when provided – were cluttered or in dark corners. And I was often lonely, and struggled to get into the right mental space for thinking creatively or productively.
Then, I discovered Cal Newport’s book “Deep Work”, and learnt that there was tons of research backing up what I’d experienced. Work performed in a state of distraction-free concentration is not only the source of significant human innovation and creativity, but it is also the source of human fulfilment and joy. And I became horrified to discover that our ability to focus and achieve deep work is being eroded through a barrage of online and offline distractions, exactly at a time when human ingenuity is most needed and valuable.
I decided to make solving this my life’s purpose. What better way to spend one’s day than helping human potential flourish by providing the ideal mental and physical spaces to think and work more creatively and productively.
And thus FLOWN was born.
Then COVID19 hit.
And the need for FLOWN – as well as the likelihood of its success – became even greater:
- Working from home would still suffer many of the same challenges that working from offices had: too many distractions, lack of inspiration, poor ergonomics.
- Many companies became fully or partially remote, giving up their normal office leases, but still inevitably requiring inspiring and ergonomic spaces to meet regularly for collaboration or connection.
- And never before have companies been as open-minded or experimental with ways of working, appreciating that different settings are suitable for different types of work and different needs of their team members.
We managed to close our first round of pre-seed funding during lockdown, raising £1.2m while nomading around Portugal. Our investors include some of the most respected entrepreneurs in the UK, such as Taavet Hinrikus (Transferwise), Greg Marsh (OneFineStay), James Meekings (Funding Circle), Alex Stephany (Beam), Freddie MacNamara (Cuvva), Pete Cashmore (Mashable), Tom Allason (Shutl, Residently), Joe Stepniewski (Skimlinks), Chris Evans & Tom Weaver (Flyt), Srin Madipalli (Accomable), and Ed Gillespie (Futerra), as well as many respected angels and investors including Atomico’s Angel program, Alma Angels, TrueSight Ventures, Laurel Bowden, John Taysom, Rod Banner, and many more. 37% of FLOWN’s angels and 30% of our fund raise came from female investors.
We also managed to hire our founding team while fully remote, bringing together talent with experiences from Mr & Mrs Smith, Ometria, Quill, McKinsey’s Generation, and Resi. Forming a team in the middle of a global pandemic has its challenges, but we are living our own values, and weaving ‘deep work’ principles into our culture.
We are now building our platform of physical spaces (properties to work from distraction-free) and mental spaces (tools to help you be creative and productive), due for launch early 2021.
Sign up for our waitlist here to be alerted when we go live next year. By doing so, you lock in our Launch Offer: £200 of credit to use when booking FLOWN spaces in your first year as a member, (alongside all other membership benefits).
Nominate a property that you think might be a perfect FLOWN space, one that can inspire creativity and focus.
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Thank you to everyone who is supporting and cheering me on in this second round of entrepreneurship. The decision to start another company was not taken lightly – it was the result of a lot of reflection and soul-searching – knowing how arduous and all-consuming it would inevitably become. In the end, I realised that the moments I felt the most satisfaction and joy (outside of loving relationships) were when I was able to concentrate, contemplate and collaborate, and then get something significant done. Creating a company whose purpose it was to enable others to feel this same satisfaction and joy was a worthy pursuit.
So come and join us on this journey, dear friends 💕
CEO & Founder, Flown