Having grown up in Dublin, David O’Coimin relocated to Bristol and then to The Netherlands, where he now splits his time between. Having always had an entrepreneurial streak, in 2015 David set out to create Nook Pods. An inclusive space for meetings or a quite area in offices. Now highly successful, in some of the most prestigious offices in Europe and gaining market traction in the events market Nook Pods may be the answer when we all return to the office (hopefully sooner rather than later!) We caught up with David who explained the inspiration for the product and it’s growth since:
- To someone who may not have heard of them; explain what Nook Pods are?
Nooks are quiet mindful space to squirrel away from the noisy world – or more formally a multi-award winning family of Booths, Pods and Shelters designed with introvert needs in mind, for the people-centric flexible work and learning spaces of the new world.
- How long did it take from your eureka moment to launching the product?
March to August 2015. The idea that ‘some thing’ was needed had percolated for a few years. The catalyst to JFDI occurred following a chat with some wonderfully encouraging close friends. That August I put the first two into a coworking in Bristol and turned the lights on. We went revenue positive immediately.
- How did you develop your business plan and sales pitch? What was your big break early on?
What Business Plan? I’m a terrible planner. My ADHD brain jumps from one thing to the next relentlessly. Bullet points are my friend so I built everything on to-do lists which constantly help me to defragment the chaos in to order. The big early break was bringing Facebook and BP on as customers with the latter evolving to a Global Framework Agreement. Amazing.
- Where are you now in terms of numbers of staff, the products you sell, the markets you sell into?
I’m a disastrous manager (and I hate many aspects of it). It’s still just me as the sole employee because the vision was always to build a network of brilliant beautiful minds and services – manufacturing under license, virtual assistants, freelance consultants and associates with their own businesses supporting each other. The product range has grown from a single pod in one size to three models and various sizes, with the addition of sensory elements, battery technology and an event hire service. Plus we have certified the Nook as an autism resource. We are actively selling and renting across Europe, North America and the Middle East.
- Are there any markets you are focusing on in the near future?
- What were some of the biggest challenges since the start? Are they the same now or have they changed?
Battling with the limitations within my own very conceptual and people focused brain which lacks greatly in terms of planning and data. Building a presence in a very unknown segment of the market – breakout space furniture was the best definition for it at the time. These challenges remain but I understand myself much better now and know how to work best to amplify my strengths and fill in the gaps where I am weak.
- What are a few of the highlights since your launch?
A big highlight for me was when we brought a cabal of awesome people to Barcelona to install the event pods for Cisco Live, working during the week in a partner coworking location, immersing ourselves in the local culture and all getting paid for the privilege. It showed me we can build nimble, purposeful, lifestyle oriented businesses which deliver meaningful inclusive experiences.
- What effect has the pandemic had on your service? Have you seen any uptake in purchases since some of the markets you sell into have reopened?
The market has evolved significantly, accelerated by the pandemic, leading to a huge understanding and need for products like Nook.
- What tips would you give a new founder in this space?
Network like crazy. Get out of your head and connect. Attend events on your own sometimes to drive that engagement. Dig deep in to the things which interest you and build knowledge which will make you interesting and feel confident. Use coworking – its an amazing melting pot. And remember its really true that you get out what you put. In. membership of an organisation or presence at an event only deliver ROI if you engage. That can be in person or digitally depending on what suits you.
- Are there any other businesses in the Diversity and Inclusion space in Ireland and The UK you are a big fan of?