In our recurring “meet the clients” blog series, we sit down with one of our inspiring partners to talk about their business and their experience of partnering up with Lizard Global. This week, we have a chat with one of our long-term partners Ferdi, founder of the innovative digital solution of Flexpackerz.
First of all, who are you? What do you do?
“My name is Ferdi Jansen, I'm the founder of Flexpackerz and my goal is to build and connect coworking communities all around the globe so that we can join forces in building a better future. We have already mapped over 500 places in the Netherlands where remote workers can work (e.g. coworking spaces, flexible offices, libraries, workcafés etc.) and meet each other. We are currently expanding to neighbouring countries and aim to grow rapidly in the coming year.”
Tell us something about Flexpackerz
“The Flexpackerz app is here to help you find a workspace anywhere you go and connect you to the local community of remote working freelancers, entrepreneurs, students and professionals. Flexpackerz was built on the principles of remote working and coworking. Since the worldwide adoption of the Internet and the exponential growth of mobile devices, there's technically nothing that keeps us from working from anywhere in the world. I've been intrigued by the possibilities and the freedom of remote work since I started my first full-time job back in 2008. However, my employers weren't as progressive as I would have liked back in the day.
“We apparently needed to face a global pandemic to finally truly experience the numerous advantages of remote working.”
“For me personally, it's the flexibility in work-life balance and the ability to lower your carbon footprint that drew my attention. Today, these values are still part of our company goals, because we believe time and planet earth are two of the most precious things for humanity. Our third goal, stimulating collaboration, is inspired by the emerging industry of coworking spaces. After spending countless hours in many different coworking spaces, it's clear to me that real innovation and entrepreneurship takes place in the most collaborative coworking communities. This is where many disruptive and futuristic ideas come to life. Ever since I became part of the local coworking community, I've been passionate about introducing this concept to the masses. Starting in the Netherlands, but with the ambition to go global. That's why Flexpackerz is designed to scale rapidly and go wherever the community wants us to go.”
What problems/challenges did you/your customers face that made you look for a digital solution?
“Many remote workers and freelancers start with working from home, simply because it's the easiest and cheapest solution. But sooner or later most of them feel the need to go out. I've heard various reasons, but the most common reasons are loneliness, distractions, lack of inspiration and the need for a network. Summarized, they are all looking for either or both an inspiring work environment and a valuable community. The initial step is to find a place that suits your needs best. The problem is that those needs are just as diverse as the people that work remotely. Some of them switch between home, coffee shops, and coworking spaces on a daily basis. Others prefer to stick to one workspace and only need a temporary work spot when travelling for work.”
How did you come up with Flexpackerz as a digital solution for your customers?
“What I noticed is that there isn't a one-stop-shop for all these individuals with their personal needs and wishes and that most people don't have a clue about all the alternative workspaces in their surroundings. That's why I decided to map as many work-friendly locations as possible and provide all the information available. So not just coworking spaces and flexible offices, but also coffee shops, libraries, hotels and any other alternative workspaces you can think of. The key condition is that both our community and the venue operator agree that it's a work-friendly place. Otherwise, it doesn't belong in the Flexpackerz database.”
“Once you've chosen your workspace, it's time to get you connected to the local coworking community. This is the part that excites me most, because I truly believe that we are constantly surrounded by opportunities. The problem is that we can't see those opportunities. All we see is people working behind their laptops. Sometimes, I can't fight my curiosity and I just ask them. More than often it results in an exchange of knowledge, a valuable new connection and even collaborations. But it's not easy to start a conversation out of the blue. Besides, talking to random strangers can be quite time-consuming. So wouldn't it be a lot more efficient if we knew a bit more about their professional profile upfront? Well, that's exactly what inspired me to incorporate all kinds of features that make it easy to get in touch and stay connected. Whether it's just to grab a cup of coffee with like-minded people, to exchange knowledge or to grow your network, Flexpackerz helps you break the ice.”
How did you get in touch with Lizard Global?
“The concept of what became Flexpackerz started as a side-project at first, but the more I worked on it, the more excited I got. Eventually, I decided to bring the concept to life and get a developer involved. I started asking around and during a speed date session at a networking event, Lizard Global got recommended to me. I was looking for an entrepreneurial developer for a long-term partnership. After talking to several developers, Lizard Global turned out to be the best fit for this adventure.”
Flexpackerz’ latest version, soon to be released
“I'll never forget one of the first questions Jeremy asked me: "Are you sure you need a mobile app?" This seems a bit of an odd question from someone who makes apps for a living. But he explained to me that they only want to build apps if it has added value compared to a mobile website. I showed him the detailed mockups that I made myself and I basically pitched the concept to him. Next meeting, Guido called in from Malaysia and we dove further into the details. Not much later, Guido presented me the wireframes for the core features and I gave the green light to get started.”
How did you experience working together with Lizard Global?
“Lizard Global has a great full-stack development team. Several team members contributed to the development of the iOS and Android versions of Flexpackerz. Because of our partnership, we are in a unique position, where our project is being supervised by the CTO personally. He is extremely skilled in both front-end and back-end development, which is a combination that is very hard to find. Next to that, I can always count on the CEO as a sparring partner for the business side. What I appreciate most about Lizard Global is that they’ve never let me down, even though we’ve faced numerous challenges. I’m actually convinced that the Lizard Global team needs complex challenges to excel.”
”Every time I recommend Lizard Global to other entrepreneurs looking for a digital partner, I make sure to ask them the same question Jeremy asked me back in the days: Are you sure you need an app for that?”
In what ways did Flexpackerz solve the problem you/your customers were facing?
“I heard many first time users say that Flexpackerz inspired them to explore different workspaces. But it makes me extra proud when they tell me they've made valuable connections through the app. Last year, I was attending a meetup at a coworking space and the guy who organized the event thanked me in front of the audience for making it so easy to get connected with the community of that coworking space. Those are the moments that I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far.”
Where do you see Flexpackerz in 10 years?
“In 10 years Flexpackerz is a well-known brand in the global coworking industry and trusted by millions of remote workers around the globe. By that time, we have helped many coworking communities to emerge and made countless valuable connections that sparked new businesses and innovations.”
Meet more clients!
Want to read more about our partners, their applications and their experience of working together with Lizard Global? Check out Nicole’s interview about her app “Retiink”. Have a look at “Globiz”, the digital business card application we developed together with Stefan and Carmen, or find out more about our partnership with Transvision and the development of VaxiTaxi.
Keen on partnering up with Lizard Global and having your very own interview and business success case obtain a place in the spotlights on our website? Get in touch, and let’s get to know each other!