Nooka Space Announces a New CEO, EUR 2M of Investment, and Expansion Plans

  • Romanian proximity office pod provider Nooka Space attracts EUR 2M from undisclosed investors
  • The startup’s plans include geographic expansion to Italy and Portugal and exploring the airport vertical
  • Irina Leca is appointed as the Company’s new CEO to lead these ambitions

This October, the well-known Romanian IoT proptech startup Nooka Space had two important bits of news to share. For one, the startup has secured a sizable round of EUR 2M from investors who choose to remain confidential for now. Also, the startup has a new CEO – Irina Leca.

Nooka Space was founded in 2020 by a team led by the Romanian entrepreneur Sandu Băbășan as a response to the COVID-related shift in the popular attitude toward work and workspace. Mr Băbășan’s team began to offer proximity office pods – small isolated spaces in green areas or malls, designed for remote office work.

In 2022, ITKeyMedia got to cover the startup’s success as it was selected to be a part of the Vienna Startup Package program where startups get the chance to implement their solutions in Vienna, Austria, and DACH; and won the Romanian edition of the Startup World Cup.

Milestones: Stats and Tech

Bogdan Iancic, CTPO at Nooka Space

Since then, Nooka Space reports expanding its reach to 12 countries, partnering with 26 corporate partners, and achieving an impressive 40 hours/week utilization rate for its proximity workspaces that deliver on average 70% yearly yields to venue partners.

The platform has diversified, too. ‘While our smart office pods were the inception, our proprietary IoT system signifies our growth trajectory. This evolution allows public, autonomous rentals. Though our technology is more encompassing now, the pods remain crucial, particularly in high-traffic areas. They serve as entry points, after which our app can guide users to other available spaces,’ Nooka Space’s CTPO Bogdan Iancic tells ITKeyMedia.

Being adaptable, the startup’s IoT system is no longer limited to Nooka pods. It can convert any space, from an individual pod to an entire room, into a rentable workspace publicly. This opens up attractive opportunities for property owners to monetize unutilized spaces, turning them into fully automated meeting rooms or co-working areas using the Nooka Space app and technology. According to Mr Iancic, the technology has completed its R&D phase and is licensing-ready.

Expanding Geographically and Vertically

Nooka Space’s other plans include geographic expansion – more specifically, Italy and Portugal. Both these locations have emerged as prime destinations for digital nomads and are teeming with hybrid workers and business travelers. The untapped potential and the alignment with the company’s vision became apparent for Nooka Space.

Mr Iancic names the following expansion steps:

  • establishing new collaborations with venue partners (including a major shopping chain in Portugal);
  • positioning proximity offices in strategic, high-footfall locations;
  • deploying the technology to offer intuitive and on-demand workspace experiences.

Additionally, Nooka Space intends to explore the aviation vertical and launch at a major European airport. The aviation sector is unique due to its transient clientele, rigorous security standards, and space constraints. Nooka Space aims at providing solutions tailored to provide travelers with convenient workspaces that adhere to airport regulations.

New CEO for New Ambitions

To lead the company in bringing all these ambitious plans to life, Nooka Space appoints Irina Leca as its new CEO. Constantly driven by innovation and building, Ms Leca’s background is rooted in entrepreneurship: from building apps for digital nomads to mentoring startups or building startup programs at Google.

Irina Leca, CEO at Nooka Space

She admits that Nooka Space’s innovative approach to transforming underutilized spaces and commitment to creating sustainable, flexible workspaces always stood out. Ms Leca confesses to having long embraced remote work and detesting long commutes, – as such, the potential of Nooka pods in strategic locations like airports, train stations, and shopping malls appealed to me.

‘Living in Lisbon, a hub for digital nomads, I’ve seen firsthand the surge in demand for such workspaces. In fact, a friend once raved about their experience using a Nooka pod at a local mall, which further strengthened my belief in the brand’s vision,’ Ms Leca shares.

She made up her mind to join Nooka Space were usage stats like 40 hours of weekly utilization and noting that over 70% of revenue came from returning users. The new CEO’s confidence in her decision grew as, during her market research, she encountered multiple instances of users praising Nooka Space’s solutions.

‘When a venture capitalist labeled our stats as ‘clear USER LOVE!,’ I was convinced about joining the Nooka revolution,’ Ms Leca recalls.

‘So, when Nooka Space’s investors proposed the CEO role, it wasn’t just a job but a chance to be at the forefront of a workspace revolution. The company’s mission, to be the ‘Airbnb for proximity workspaces.’ Its focus on sustainability made the decision clear. For me, it’s about contributing to a sustainable future by cutting commuting and CO2 emissions,’ she continues.

Apart from the professional side – driving the company’s strategic goals, expanding into new markets, and continuing to innovate the offerings. Ms Leca also sees her new role as an opportunity to merge her business acumen with her passion for design and architecture,at the same time ensuring the company meets the evolving demands of professionals globally.


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