LOOP Ventures helped Norwegian office furniture manufacturer Flokk to validate their interest in Workplace-as-a-Service business models.
Flokk had already been piloting the service model with a co-working hub in Oslo and they had experimented on several different business models. However, it was still unclear to Flokk on how to productize the new offering, who would be the potential customer target groups, and how the new business venture should be built. So we rolled our sleeves together with Flokk’s business owner, Ola Tjade, and started shoveling the concept together.
We decided the best way to approach this opportunity was to validate the hypothesis on customer demand – and to launch a MVP sales test of some sort. We really wanted to keep the project “lean and mean”, so build something concrete fast and throw it to the first customers.
“Our main objective with this project was to learn how the market would respond to an easily accessible as-a-service model for our products. LOOP Ventures had experience with similar projects already and really is at the forefront of practicing what they preach in terms of building actual MVP’s of new business models. It was also a natural fit due to our mutual interest in developing concepts for the circular economy.
We quickly developed Flokk Flex– a concept for a flexible monthly subscription service for office furniture with no strings attached, targeted for the small and medium sized businesses who do not want to own furniture or who for some reason cannot obtain high-end products for their employees.
The vision for this venture was to develop a very easily accessible product-as-a-service solution, which would be strongly based on the circular economy of an optimally managed fleet of office furniture that would be circulating between customers based on fluctuating demand”, Ola Tjade, Flokk’s Business Development Manager.
Once our value proposition was crystal clear we started to build a functioning prototype, one that would look and feel like the real thing for the end customers. We created the necessary sales material, and especially a working landing page. The landing page had a simple office furniture planning tool, and a purchase order feature. The goal was to think what would be the minimum commitment that we can ask for from our first customers, and we only developed enough to be able to sign up some first customers.
And that’s about it. After a few rounds of quick iteration on the page content and features we were able to launch the service and start directing customers to the landing page to see what happens. The whole process from concept creation to MVP service launch took only roughly 6 weeks from the start, and we had gathered enough customer insight and data after 10 weeks to finish the project.
It is worth noting that we were able to test the market this fast because our aim was not actually to deliver any furniture yet at this point. Fulfilling the service would require setting up significant new operations on Flokk’s part; for example warehousing, delivery, maintenance and returns handling capabilities – all of which would be significant (and not to mention pointless) investments in size and complexity if we did not validate the customer demand first.
In Flokk’s case the first potential customer interviews offered some really valuable insight on the various intricacies and complexities of producing the planned service business model. The global trend of offices and equipment becoming “connected” with the aid of emerging new technology and new innovative business models is clearly a big opportunity for Flokk. At the end of this project Flokk was able to take the learnings and insights into account on a higher level of strategic planning and development roadmap planning.
“For Flokk the insights have been valuable in focusing our future work on how we can maximize value creation in a circular business model”, Ola Tjade.
Currently Flokk continues to develop products and services for the WaaS market. Flokk has been a company strongly rooted in sustainability and circular models already for the past 20 years, and it seems circularity will continue to play all the time bigger and bigger role in the future.
Question is, what would circularity mean for your business?