If we say that 2017 was hectic, I doubt few of you would disagree. Looking back on the last 12 or so months it feels like so many of us were in the same boat, heads down getting stuff done with moments of “wow, that is happening” when examining the world around us.
Like plenty of other folk in the business community in NZ, BizDojo hit the ground running at the beginning of last year, and what should have been a growth sprint turned into a full-on marathon. As we scaled, the business scaled its challenges which made 2017 a year of both giant leaps, and crushing moments in equal measure. We may have said that BizDojo was crafted by founders for founders now, but boy do we know that more than ever now.
A sprint. A run. An acquisition.
Towards the end of last year we are guessing a few of you noticed a sort of quiet, frenetic energy amongst our team as we quietly worked through a due diligence process for an investment turned acquisition process to enable the next steps for us here at BizDojo. And by now, few of you will have escaped the fact we have been acquired by UK based company, IWG.
IWG is one of the largest flexible workspace companies in the world. Publicly-listed in the UK, they have been a global leader in the sector for over twenty years, and now operate over 3,000 locations in more than 100 countries. The IWG family of brands includes some of the world’s best known providers, including the ‘Spaces’ coworking network and the patriarch of the industry, Regus serviced offices.
Mark Dixon, the CEO and founder of IWG, is a massive fan of BizDojo - both what we’ve achieved in New Zealand and the community that we have built. IWG love the personality of Dojo life, the people that call our environments home and the day-to-day BizDojo magic. They think what we have created here is pretty special, and they can see how it will mesh with the future of work around the world. With all this in mind, you can imagine that IWG have big ambitions for the BizDojo brand and you would be right.
As part of the IWG family, we have opened our newest location in Wellington’s Market Lane this month, and will be launching our next space in Auckland’s Ponsonby in the coming months. Our ambitions for BizDojo remain as big as ever, and we look forward to continuing to grow the business both here in New Zealand, and as we look ahead to the future, internationally also.
Since the beginning of 2018 the BizDojo team have been marking out what the future holds for us as part of a global organisation with IWG. A lot of this stuff has been happening behind the scenes, with new systems being put in place to help free up our community team to do less admin and do more good sh*t. We have been planning out new stuff to make our spaces work better for our communities, and ways to take the stuff we learnt as a team through the epic/hard/crazy year that was 2017 and share it with the wider community of business owners.
But with all this goodness comes some sad news too. The biggest change for us all here at Dojo HQ comes with the departure of BizDojo cofounder, Nick Shewring, who will be finishing up officially with us in May.
Anyone that is familiar with the BizDojo story knows the part Nick has had to play in taking BizDojo from a glimmer of an idea with his cofounder, Jonah Merchant, to a network of thriving communities across New Zealand.
While the past 12 months may not have always been smooth sailing here in Dojo Land, Nick has always played a huge role in creating an environment at BizDojo that nurtures businesses, supports their founders, and creates avenues for people to learn more, and be more through collaboration, connection and community. This focus on people and support has always been what BizDojo is about and this will continue to be at the core of our values as we go into the future. Partly because its baked in to what we do, and also because if there is one thing Nick has drilled into the Dojo team over the years it’s that community and our residents come first.
And after over eight years at the helm with Jonah building BizDojo, and our transition to join the IWG family well progressed, the time feels right now for Nick to move onto the next challenge, and to focus more specifically on causes close to his heart, including founder mental health support and other issues, for which he has been a prominent advocate in the local startup ecosystem now for some time.
We’re all excited for Nick’s next steps and know that the passion and drive that he brings to life will mean that he will continue to be a force for positive impact, and continue to embody the Dojo values which we all strive for!
Nick, we gonna miss you mate.