COMMERCIAL PROPERTY | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Meet the man behind co-working space operator Collective Works

The CEO and founder is just 30 years old.

Singapore-based co-working space operator Collective Works made headlines recently when it inked a deal with Asian property giant CapitaLand to launch a high end co-working space inside the Capital Tower in the CBD district. Much has already been said about this new space spanning over 22,000 sq ft space and expected to house a maximum of 250 business. However, little is known about the man behind this landmark project - the 30-year old Jonathan O’Byrne.

Jonathan is the CEO and founder of Collective Works. He focuses exclusively on building thriving co-working environments for high performing entrepreneurs. He has also built a reputation as an industry thought leader, speaking at conferences and events and consulting for other co-working spaces throughout the region.

Collective Works was a pioneer space and the first to build an operating model around Singapore’s unprecedented CBD rents. The business has excelled and expanded rapidly with 1300% growth of square footage in under five years. Jonathan envisions Collective Works not as a real estate business but as a service business, with a clearly identified client segmentation. Jonathan’s aim is to provide Collective Works’ beacon community of early adopters with an ecosystem that fosters collaboration and lifestyle services that will simplify their business set-up. According to Jonathan, the beauty of co-working spaces is how personal, relevant and “human” the environments can be but that is only possible with a fluent understanding of the people who will be using the spaces.

Jonathan saw two key problems in the co-working spaces. The first was the isolation normally inherent in entrepreneurship and the second was the information disadvantage that small teams experience without access to proximate expertise. He realised that by facilitating connections he could not only create a paradigm shift in the quality of people’s working lives but in what they were able to achieve as well. The solution became the catalyst and inspiration for Collective Works.

With the launch of Collective Works, Jonathan succeeded in his aim to create an unparalleled entrepreneurial community of over 120 companies with members from over 20 countries. He became the Chair of the Entrepreneur and Small business Committee at the British Chamber of Commerce.

A lifelong expatriate who was born in Europe before moving overseas, Jonathan has lived in three continents before finally moving to Singapore in 2010. The concept for Collective Works was borne out of his experiences in his own working life.

Known for his keen eye for innovative design, Jonathan attended London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, before undertaking a BA (Hons) at London College of Fashion. Following a stint as a communication and branding specialist at a newly constructed Industrial Corporate in Oman, Jonathan moved to Singapore founding NuCo, an integrated communications studio in 2010.

In addition to Collective Works, Jonathan also runs a software business. During the early years of Collective Works, Jonathan saw a gap in the software market for an internal operating system designed to work with individuals across a collection of businesses. Working with members of Collective Works, Jonathan designed and developed a software platform for co-working spaces. This software controls reservations, digital signage, inventory, case workflows and much more. It now runs not only Collective Works but the largest co-working operators in Australia and New Zealand.


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