Coworking Latin America

Coworking in Mexico: Inside the Mind of a Serial Entrepreneur

Marc Navarro
Jan 3, 2019
Coworking in Mexico: Inside the Mind of a Serial Entrepreneur

Puedes leer este artículo en castellano aquí

The Cobot team is proud to highlight the vibrant, diverse, and remarkable Latin American coworking scene. This series of articles uncovers the character of coworking across the American continents.

Coworking in Mexico
Capital: Mexico City
Population: Urban: 8.9M / Metro Area: 21M *
Number of coworking spaces*: 110 in Mexico City / 271 in Mexico *
Average monthly coworking rate*: $273 / month (MXN 5,500 / mes)
Eduardo Ezban

Eduardo Ezban created The Nest Coworking in Mexico City and managed it until just a few months ago. The Nest is an innovative ecosystem that provides acceleration programs for startups. After a working briefly for Selina, a hotel chain focusing on catering to millennials, Eduardo is currently developing a soon-to-be-announced project.

Shaped by his experience at The Nest, Eduardo has a gained a deep knowledge of the local coworking industry. “Coworking in Mexico City is growing very fast; four years ago it was seen exclusively as a solution for startups but it is increasingly seen as a solution for a wide range of professionals and companies” This change can be seen as the logical evolution of the market and WeWork’s entry into Mexico: “WeWork has benefited us all as it has brought the culture of coworking to the general public, and now nearly everybody in Mexico City knows what coworking is.” However, in the rest of the country the story is somewhat different. Eduardo explains that this is because 80% of the spaces in the country are located in Mexico City, and that, for example: “in a city like Puebla there are only two coworking spaces.”

Another issue in play that we are trying to explore in this series is the existence (or lack thereof) of a Latin American coworking scene, understood by looking at common factors that differentiate the coworking scene here from the rest of the world. “In my travels through Latin America I have seen common elements in coworking spaces. I also observed the sector evolve similarly in different countries”. It seems to us that the way in which a coworking space develops is directly related to the local cultural expectations, which in turn is tied to where that coworking space was born as these factors are impossible to separate from one another. One particular factor that stands out in different markets is the concentration of corporate clients in WeWork, although this is perhaps due to a lack of local alternatives that specialize in corporate clients — yet.

We asked Eduardo: What does coworking mean to you? “It means working with people who, at some point, can help me in the growth of my project,” as well as optimizing one’s budget or the ability to work in better facilities at an affordable price.

When we dive deeper into what makes coworking special in Mexico, things get interesting: “In Mexico, corporations have begun moving their innovation teams into coworking spaces to absorb the creative energy found through coworking. But there are still some challenges waiting for solutions. Mexico is still a very traditional country where it can be difficult to ask people to give up some of their privacy by working in less closed-off spaces. Eduardo explains further that several high-profile experiments have failed publicly, forcing those companies to backtrack on their plans. The staff of more traditional departments were unwilling to take a leap and work in non-traditional workplaces, and according to some of these companies “managers cannot work like this.”

The upside of this is that until the mindset of big corporations changes, coworking spaces in Mexico have the opportunity to develop offerings that address corporate concerns proactively and build new relationships with corporate giants.

One of Eduardo’s favorite moments in coworking is closely related to the shared Latin American culture: lunch time. Similar to mediterranean countries, a latin lunch is never a lonely cold sandwich in front of a screen: is it a sacred moment during which people sit in the kitchen and talk about anything; sometimes even about work! These moments, this way of doing things, and of seeing life, forge a character that we share with other parts of the world and are part of what makes Spain, Italy and Greece closer in spirit to Latin America.

There are a few spaces that Eduardo thinks represent the best elements of Latin American coworking culture.

The first is Impact Hub, not because of their physical space but because of their almost primitive approach to the concept of coworking. “Impact Hub has an incredible community. They are very proactive, everything is organized from within the space and collaboration between members is central to their mission”

Another space that stole his heart is Naua, “an impressive, beautiful space, with interesting events and an extraordinary community.”

The third is Workcosfera in Puebla. His description of his open-air workspace under the shade of the trees makes us long to be working there right now.

As usual, we close the interview with our most difficult question: What question would you love to be asked but you have never been asked before?

After laughing a lot, and thinking for a while, Eduardo answers: “Which person is most essential in a coworking space?” His answer is clear, the community builder, the person who knows all the member and is responsible for connecting them. Because in short, the software and administrative procedures are just a tool to make the space work. The feeling of community and connection is the reason to work in a coworking space. And, although Cobot is a software company (originally founded as a coworking space in Berlin), that’s why we couldn’t agree more. Our mission in Cobot is to handle all of the management tasks so that your staff can focus on what matters most, regardless of your space: people.

We like vibrant coworking in all its shapes and sizes. If you visit Mexico, you can surely find the ideal coworking among some of Eduardo Ezban’s favorite spaces.

Cobot helps coworking businesses around the world effectively manage their spaces. You’ll find that our features can help you run your coworking space more efficiently and grow a healthy, and happy, community. Want to try it out to see how Cobot can help you automate your daily administrative tasks? Just sign up for a free trial or a live demo session and reach out to our support to learn about our available discounts.

Marc Navarro

Coworking and organization consultant. Content Director of the CoworkingSpain Conference. Created the coworking with social return concept.