cobot news

the one tool you need to run your coworking space

cobot was created to free coworking space managers from mundane tasks, giving them the time to do what is important: attending to their coworkers.

Cristina is moving on - About learning and growing

As you probably heard, Cristina, our one-woman sales team for the past 2.5 years, is moving on. Her reasons, views on Cobot, and future plans you can read in her own words. With this post I like to say thanks to Cris, praise what she has done for our customers, Cobot, and us but also reflect a bit.

race boats

When she broke the news to us that she wants to move on, it came out of the blue. It made me sad to hear and I felt like we failed as an employer. But after some time spent thinking about it, I don’t see it like that anymore. I actually think it was the other way around: we were too successful in a way. Let me elaborate: as you can see in Cris’ posts, we allow our team a lot of freedom. What we want in return is that this freedom is used to for personal growth, and Cris grew quite fast.

I still remember the energetic and slightly chaotic person who applied for the new sales job back in 2012. The fact that she left Spain and her old job behind just like that showed us that she is a person who takes things into her own hands. After she learned the basic ins and outs of coworking and cobot, she quickly provided new input, not only marketing and PR but also improvements that we could make to cobot itself.

She took care of our first steps when localizing/translating cobot into Spanish, collected and relayed feedback from our customers, helped improve the on-boarding process, worked with us on the long term vision of cobot, and made sure that we share our learning within our own coworking space.

During her time with us, she ventured out into other fields, became active within RailsGirlsBerlin and the CoworkingWiki, did business development gigs on the side, all while taking in all the knowledge she could get through books, conferences, and meetups.

She also brought in a lot to learn for us: I took examples from how she successfully built her professional online identity, and her recommendation of "The Personal MBA" started me off on a reading spree about human behavior and biases.

As it is with small teams, there is a good chance that your work relationship can grow a little more familiar, so we also had some good nights out dancing in Berlin clubs and a great sailing trip last summer.

The chaos is gone from the Cristina I know today, whose determination and focus are still paired with immense energy.

Along the way came the point at which she obviously outgrow cobot, simply because she grew faster than cobot itself. This is another lesson for me: sustainable growth sometimes can not match pace with the personal growth of a person.

So here we are now, looking for somebody new who is hungry to learn, improve, and grow further with us, cobot, and our customers.

— Thilo

Better surveys

When new members sign up for your space Cobot can ask them a few questions on your behalf. A lot of spaces use this to ask for things like profession, social media accounts or to just get to know their prospective members better.

Until today all questions had to be answered in a text field. Now we are adding drop-downs and checkboxes. For example if you are asking which neighborhood someone is coming from instead of them having to enter it by hand you can give them a drop-down with all the neighborhoods. Not only does this make it faster to fill out the survey, it also makes it easier for you when analyzing the results as the data will be more accurate.

To set up your own survey go to Setup -> Member Questions.

Booking cancellation periods, invoice previews, invoice numbers

Last week we added a few smaller features:

Booking calendar

Resources in the booking calendar can now have a cancellation period. This allows you to prevent members from canceling/changing bookings up to x hours before the booking starts. If you have a lot of people booking your conference rooms and canceling in the last minute this might help. To enable go to Setup -> Booking Calendar -> add/edit a resource and fill out the cancellation period field.


Want to know in advance how much a member is going to be charged with their next invoice? Just go to the member’s page, open the invoicing drop down and click preview next invoice – voilá.

You can now customize the format of invoice numbers. For example if you have multiple locations and you want to prefix the invoice number with the location go to Setup -> Invoice Settings and fill out the invoice number format field, for example entering NYC-1000 will format your numbers as NYC-1000, NYC-1001 etc.

New white-label features: custom colors, copy and domains

We just released a bundle of new features that lets coworking spaces customize their Cobot account in order to retain their brand when members interact with Cobot. These features are available as part of our new pro plans.

Custom Look

Coworking spaces can now customize the colors and fonts of their site on Cobot to match their logo/brand:

The Port Workspaces on Cobot. See more examples

Custom Copy

All emails Cobot sends out to members can be customized in order to match your tone and style. They can also be sent from your own email address.

Custom Domains

To make the white-label package complete your members can access Cobot from your own domain, so instead of having to go to (our own coworking space) they can visit

With these customizations combined Cobot becomes completely invisible to your coworkers and they only recognize and communicate with you.

The customization features are available on our new pro plans only, starting with the Bronze plan from $95/month. During your 30 day free trial, customizations are available, too.

To try it out sign up for a free trial and then go to Setup -> Customizations.

Deposits and signup fees

We just added an often-requested features: to be able to charge new members a fee, either for a deposit or a signup fee.

Before you had to manually create a charge every time a new member signed up. This was of course not very convenient and also error-prone. What you can do now instead is configure an automatic charge on a per-plan basis.

To add the charge add or edit a plan and scroll down to the signup charge section in the basic settings tab. Enter an amount and a description – from now on new members choosing this plan will have a charge added to their account, which will in turn be added to their first invoice.

Hourly time passes

Time passes just got an upgrade. Whereas before a time pass had to have a fixed start and end time, you can now add passes that have a duration instead.

If your coworking space is not just offering day passes but things like half-day or hourly passes Cobot will work better for you now. Before, if you wanted to have a 2h pass you had to create a time pass that was valid for all possible 2h slots of the day, e.g. 8-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-1pm etc. Not only was this too complicated it also didn’t cover the case where somebody came in at 9:30 and want to be able to work until 11:30 with a 2h pass. The pass would have only been valid until 11.

Now you can create a time pass that is valid for 2 hours from the point it is used, so if a member comes into the space at 9:30 the pass will expire at 11:30 as expected.

Notifications App

We just added a new app to the list: Notifications

This app lets you choose from a number of events you want to be notified of by email. At the moment the only supported event is that a member makes a booking in the calendar, but we’ll add more over time. Please let us know what you need.

To add the app to your space go to Setup -> Apps, find the app and click the ‘Visit app’ button. This adds it under Setup -> Notifications.

Weekly Status email

Having information about your space growth helps you better planning your week. With so many things to do every day, it is hard to find time to take a look at your space’s analytics and stay on top of everything. For over four years, our mission has been to help you get rid of whatever is not directly your job. Help you automate processes in your coworking space so that you can use this time in other more important things - like building your community and improving your space.

Why force you to remember that you need to look at your Cobot analytics when we can use some technical magic and send you and your team a recap of the most important things to look at, straight to your inbox, at the beginning of every week?

Every Monday morning we will send you a weekly status summary about your coworking space. What will you find?

A) New Members

See how many new members are there in your space this week, together with their profile picture so that you remember to drop by and say hi if someone doesn’t ring the bell.

Not seeing a picture? Take the time to ask this person to complete their full Cobot profile. Having a picture is good specially if you plan to use the member’s app. Keep reading!

B) Members leaving

If anyone cancelled their Cobot membership during this week you have already received a notification in your inbox from when the cancellation happened, but this is a reminder. Give people a nice goodbye and let them know ways to keep supporting the community and be part of it.

C) Plan changes

This section shows you how people has changed plans in your space during this week and how it affects your revenue.

D) Billing

The weekly status update includes your billed and paid amount - and helps you keep an eye on outstanding payments.

These figures should give you an idea of how your space is doing and help you make plans for the week. If you want to know more details (i.e. which plans have been changed to which plans, or how much was a leaving member paying) you can always check the full analytics for your space in Cobot. We have a button for that!

The weekly status email also includes things like Cobot pro tips; little tricks that we have came across while using Cobot to manage our coworking space co.up or that other space managers have shared with us.

And because sometimes you may miss stuff from our blog (new features, management tips, notes on coworking conference or visits to coworking spaces…) we will include a post from our blog every week.

Last, but not least… you know we love talking with you and we have included a Cobot at the end of the Weekly Status email to remind you.

Just click it and tell us any questions or feedback you have around Cobot, ask us to be interviewed for our blog, write a guest post for us, or share a pro tip with us.

Improvements for included Time Passes

We recently improved the way we handle new members whose plan includes times passes.

On Cobot a plan can have a number of time passes included either per week or per month. For example a part time plan could include 12 days per month, or a ‘getting started’ plan could include 1 day pass per week.

The improvements we made affect new members: if someone signs up on a Wednesday for a plan with 5 days/week included she now only gets 3 days (Wednesday to Friday). If someone signs up for a plan with time passes included per month we give him the passes for the rest of the month. We even take prorated invoices into account: If I sign up on the 10th and my first billing cycle starts on the 20th I only get enough time passes for those 10 days. Then on the 20th, when my first billing cycle starts, I get new time passes for that.

In addition we have improved the way the system renews time passes, which should make it more reliable and solve any problems with missing time passes that some spaces have experienced in the past.

Coworking in India: An interview with Varun from 91Springboard

Coworking has no boundaries, and it’s everywhere. Some coworking spaces have opened in India over the last months. 4 spaces use Cobot in this Country (The Playce, Working Company, and the two locations of 91springboard). We asked Varun, from 91 springboard, to tell us a bit about their spaces, their plans and coworking in India. Sit back and enjoy!

How would you define coworking and why do you think the coworking movement​ ​started? How is coworking different in your country than in other places? How is it growing?

Coworking is a fun and collaborative environment where people from diverse backgrounds can work and interact.

India lacks good quality infrastructure and the process of setting up real estate leases, internet access, power backup, security etc are not trivial, consequently there is substantial value created by just providing a location which takes care of these hassles.

At 91springboard, we did not stop there and have layered on additional pieces such as events which enable networking and knowledge exchange between members and the outside community, and access to investors. We believe we now cater to the higher level needs of our members and maintain an edge over being just a “business center”. We will continue to listen to our members’ needs and evolve :)

We started 14 months ago in New Delhi and within 11 months had opened our second location in the neighboring city of Gurgaon.

We have close to 120 members (full time + part time) in our first location and are growing rapidly in our second location, 50+ members in just under 4 months. We believe there is a requirement for the product and service we offer and with the right partners we would like to create an India-wide or even global network to grow and proliferate this culture.

How did you start with the idea of opening a coworking space? Which challenges you had and how did you resolve them?

91springboard is founded by 3 partners, we were in high school together and have known each other for nearly 20 years. While this is our first professional activity together we have kept in touch over the years and arrived at this point.

Having been entrepreneurial in our various avatars we had experienced certain shortcomings in the ecosystem and wanted to do our bit to contribute to the community. Access to good quality infrastructure and service providers, a platform to network and learn, and access to investors were the key areas we felt were missing in the startup ecosystem.

The setting up process was unique in that we had initially felt a space for 25 people in a 2000 sq ft space would be ideal, after much searching and realizing that either prices were too high or access to public transport was difficult we finally settled for an old warehouse in a “not-so-sexy” part of town!

After 3 months of design, construction, and interiors work we were ready to open our doors, the initial goings were slow but then things began to pick up as we received some publicity and our customers to share our activities by word of mouth. Our social media activities and events have helped a lot.

Our biggest challenge remains that India is still an emerging story and while there is a lot of demand, pricing continues to be a challenge. As a result, we had to be especially intelligent in ensuring we built at a low cost and kept our management team costs low.

What kind of people work with you? Do you have freelancers as well as companies?

Our member base is currently very diverse, ranging from social enterprises, not-for-profits, to VC/Angel invested startups and 1-person startups looking to create the next Google or Facebook!

We encourage freelancers to participate as we believe it creates a marketplace for their services vis-a-vis entrepreneurs and small businesses. We have a variety of entrepreneurs whose services range from hr, accounting, public relations, digital marketing, design, ui/ux, legal and technology support. 91springboard has also benefited from a few corporate clients taking interest, as an example a marketing team for a large payments processing company headquartered in a different city.

We offer four primary plans and some offshoots, the 4 main plans are Full-time, Part-time (12 working days in a month), Virtual Plan (limited conference room time, mailing address + virtual receptionist services), and Day Plan.

We have private offices in our second location, by accident rather than by design, we feel there is a lot of interest in these offices especially for larger groups, however with time they become accustomed and comfortable with open seating styles.

Another factor is that private offices are priced higher and freelancers/startups have budget/team size constraints.

Why did you initially look for an app to manage your coworking space? How did you find Cobot?

Having been involved with many businesses before, a structured and common approach to managing our spaces was paramount. After a lot of web searching we found cobot. Cobot came across as the most full featured product with a simple yet attractive design, and a quirky mascot :)

We primarily use it for booking of shared resources (conference rooms) and billing. We had experimented with it for attendance but ran into some issues with pfsense stability. We have minor feature requests from time to time and are super satisfied with the team’s responsiveness. We are growing and will have newer needs and will look to the Cobot team for continued support, an example will be some more tweaking to the prorated billing system.

Tell us a bit about your network and how you plan to expand it

We are actively looking to expand. We have grown to 2 spaces in a short 14 months and look to continue that trend. We are always looking for collaborators and partners to grow and welcome any inquiries as such.

On top of coworking, do you host any workshops or community events? Can you share some anecdotes or examples of things that worked well?​

We host 4-6 events per month/per campus now. These range from workshops, to panel discussion, to hackathons, to parties (free beer!). We have found that it creates a lively and engaged community that is aware of our activities and calls on us when they need a space to work or organize events.

We initially tried to charge for the space to host events, but realized that it didn’t work so well in that many organizers were unable to afford even the basic costs.

We then moved to a model where we would provide the space for free and attract sponsors, while this model has clearly attracted more events the sponsor piece is still a work in progress. We are thankful to have received support from Amazon Web Services and Sequoia, we are hoping others will step up and help us grow the community collaboratively.

Q: How do you see the future of coworking, both in the world and in your country?

Disruptive technologies are changing the way we do business, and large corporations are going to become leaner.

In such an environment its only a matter of time where more and more individuals are going to have to become value creators in either the services or manufacturing sector. To support such a transformation, spaces which integrate coworking, community and capital are going to be an important catalyst. More spaces with the ability to add more value to its members are a core need.

While not insulated from global trends, in India there is a lagging effect and a differentiated culture. India is a strongly entrepreneurial community and now that foreign investments have empowered us, a revolution of domestic creation and consumption is just around the corner. Coworking spaces and incubators are going to facilitate the growth of such entrepreneurs.

We hope you enjoyed the interview. If you make it until here, we have a surprise for you! Here’s how it feels to work at 91springboard:

Working @91springboard

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