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May 13, 2015 5:31 EDT

Habu: An intelligent, integrated room booking and space management platform

iCrowdNewswire - May 13, 2015

An intelligent, integrated room booking and space management platform

Location Bristol, United Kingdom
Investment sought: £70,039

Product(s) and/or service(s)

Habu is an elegant, fresh and innovative space management and room booking platform. It’s a tool designed for businesses with spaces to rent, and who want to increase revenue whilst reducing time spent on admin.

Habu is all about reducing complexity inevitably faced by our target customers who have been using outdated, unconnected tools for too long.

Habu is easy to use, cloud-based software integrating the key elements for productive workflows with emphasis on contact, schedule and space management. Ensuring that our customers always stay on top what’s going on across their buildings. The simple through to the ultra complex are handled with ease.

So whether it’s setting up automated internal meeting room booking systems or handling multi-staged event processes with large teams, Habu aims to enable smooth, productive workflows for a wide range of businesses.


Intended impact

Our research revealed a distinct lack of software that addresses the key needs of our target market. The result of this is that the majority of our target customers have devised their own ad hoc solutions. This is typically based on a mix of spreadsheets, email, word docs & shared calendars.

The problem is that these tools aren’t well-suited for dealing with the increasing complexities of the market, where seamless links across data, the team, multiple devices & other services are key to the success of a business. The lack of integration between these tools, can commonly lead to information falling through the gaps resulting in an admin grind of double bookings, operational conflicts, & crucially, under-utilisation of spaces.

Habu introduces a new way to manage space.
Habu is a platform created with the complexities of our customers’ business in mind, yet is a simple to use and approachable platform. Habu aims at reducing wasted time across the team and increasing revenue opportunities, ultimately allowing them to concentrate on growing and developing their business.

The offer:
• Centralised data and an integrated toolset linking key booking and contact information for an event, and shared across the team.

• Streamlined workflows that reduce the amount of work required to make a booking happen.

• Intelligent process pipelines enabling the whole team to know where things are at & what needs to be done, improving collaboration and communication.

• Powerful forms that make getting spaces booked out easier for both our customers and their end-user. Forms that effectively filter out irrelevant booking enquirers, crowd-source contact and booking info, saving time and improving the quality of information.

• Analytics that generate deep business insights into the business, helping to inform long-term decision making.

• Integration with other key platforms in areas such as accountancy, payment transactions, publishing, and marketing.


Substantial accomplishments to date

The directors have worked together for 6 years. We started to work on the first iteration of Habu in 2013. Seeing the potential of Habu as a more universal product with a broader target market we began working full-time on Habu and incorporated our new company in 2014.

We were one of the companies on the high-profile WebStart Bristol business incubator program.

Since then we have expanded our team with two fantastic appointments in the form of a CTO/Lead Developer and a Non-Executive Director. We have also developed our minimum viable product and are busy proving the market.

Habu is currently being used by 5 venues with 25 users in the early-bird group who are piloting and paying for Habu.

We are developing the feature set to take Habu from being a powerful tool for managing short-term bookings to being an even more powerful tool able to deal with both short and long-term space management intuitively and intelligently.


Monetisation strategy

Our model is simple. Habu is Software as a Service. It’s a cloud-based platform that our customers pay for on a recurring subscription and calculated on the number of admin users per venue. Based on our market research our target customers have an average of 7.6 users.

Because our pricing is based on a per admin user basis it is a flexible product for both small and large businesses. Our customers are able to pay on a monthly or annually, with discounts offered for annual payments.

A secondary revenue stream would be based on facilitating payment transactions for bookings.


Use of proceeds

First round investment in Habu via WebStart Bristol and Seedrs enabled us to put a fantastic, experienced core team in place, build our beta product and prove our business model through initial customer sales.

We are now at a point where we want to grow and build on this strong foundation, to establish Habu as the out-and-out market leader for a new generation of space management software.

Investment in Habu will allow us to expand our team to facilitates securing our two main objectives:
• building Habu into an enterprise grade, internationally scalable product
• getting Habu out to market, securing a strong customer base

We are open to over-funding of up to £60,000 which will take us up to our SEIS threshold. With over-funding we can increase both development and sales/marketing activities to maximise our opportunity and anticipate full product release in the early summer.


Target market

Broadly speaking, our target market consists of any business / organisation that have spaces & manage bookings in those spaces.

Bookings may be short-term such as meeting & conference rooms, hot-desks, event & performance spaces, sport pitches, etc. Or they may be more long-term spaces such as studios, offices, exhibitions, etc. As well as revenue-earning spaces, Habu caters equally well for in-house bookings reducing administrative burden and overheads.

With our minimum viable product & as our initial route in to the market we are specifically targeting customers who manage short-term bookings in related market segments. These are businesses such as:
◦ Business Centres
◦ Meeting & Conference Venues
◦ Creative / Tech Hubs
◦ Co-working Spaces, &
◦ Event Venues


• We believe Habu is an internationally scalable product and plan to expand into European and US markets after securing a customer base in the UK.

• Once Habu is established in our initial market segment we will diversify our marketing message tapping into wider markets sharing the same basic needs. These markets include potential customers in areas such as:
◦ Universities
◦ Local Authorities
◦ Therapy Centres
◦ Recording & Rehearsal Studios
◦ Marinas
◦ Short Term Accommodation such hotels, B&B’s, Professional Airbnb’s, Kennels, etc.
◦ Sport Centres

• Habu would be able to appeal to this diverse customer base due to the fact that the same basic needs seem to apply: managing space hires in a simple & flexible way.


Characteristics of target market

We have worked in and closely with creative and tech hubs for the past six or so years. In that time we came to deeply understand the issues & the extent to which admin grind can negatively affect these businesses.

• Our initial market segment consists of more than 23,000 businesses in the UK alone.

• Based on the quality of the product & the lack of competition, we are aiming to secure a 5% market share by the end of 2016 with ambitions to secure a much higher percentile.

• The wider market in the UK is estimated to be hundreds of thousands. Along with standard market research, we have carried out numerous in-depth face-to-face interviews with key space management organisations. These interviews have both verified our assumptions and informed the development of features. We are also currently working very closely with our early-bird customers.


Marketing strategy

Habu will be marketed through a mix of channels including social media, various brand development and awareness activities, plus more traditional approaches and direct marketing.

In order to achieve minimum critical mass, above-the-line marketing would be a major feature after which greater emphasis would shift to online marketing as typifies maturing SaaS products.

Our initial entry into the market will be achieved through a balance of both targeted telephone sales & lead-generated meetings, particularly for larger customers.

This approach would be coupled with direct marketing and social media activities. Attending networking events, conference and trade-shows would also form a crucial part of our ongoing strategy.

As a SaaS product with disruptive pricing, we are committed to emphasising a self-service model as our long-term strategy.

We aim to achieve this by:
• Direct sales through the website (with strong SEO)
• Marketing activities that raise awareness and trigger interest in our product based solution such as:
◦ Social media engagement & targeted campaigns pointing to the website & product videos.
◦ Thought leadership activities underpinning our digital & direct marketing activities.

In addition to this a customer referral scheme would be adopted to support the sales strategy.


Competition strategy

The primary competition that we face is with the ad hoc ‘no solution’ solution. Through an identified lack of suitable or affordable software solutions the majority of our target market tend to rely on using spreadsheets to manage their spaces and contacts, shared calendars and word docs for managing bookings, email / post for communications. We found that paper-based processes are also common-place. Whilst these tools are initially low-cost, they can lead to disjointed, clunky practices with the potential to carry substantial hidden costs though extra admin and labour.

Software competitors include:
● IBCS – Event and space management software aiming at business centers.
● Artifax – Event booking software primarily targeting large arts organisations.
● Nexudus – White label co-working membership software.
● EventsPro – Event booking software based in the US.

Our objective is to beat our competitors through a combination of:
◦ creating an affordable, approachable product that actually meets the needs of our customers.
◦ building a top-quality platform providing excellent user experience.
◦ continual feature enhancements based on both our visionary road-map and on user feedback.
◦ focusing on specific market segments in the UK and consolidating our base before expanding to Europe and the US.




Contact Information:

Jak Ollett
Richard Mojel
Sam Barnes
Mike Jackson

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