Anish Michael serves as Firmspace‘s Chief Executive Officer. Firmspace is coworking private office space for discerning, achievement-driven professionals and executives
Anish joined Firmspace as its CEO in August 2019 after spending fifteen years as a legal advisor to public and private companies, including serving as Firmspace’s outside legal counsel since the company’s inception.
Anish brings his legal and business acumen to Firmspace in an effort to scale up the company’s niche professional workplace model. Anish manages company direction, growth, and strategy at Firmspace.
In his role as CEO, Anish works to share Firmspace’s strategy and vision with its members, strategic partners, and investors.
Connect with Anish on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studio in Chicago, Illinois, it’s time for Chicago Business Radio brought to you by Firm Space, your private sanctuary for productivity and growth. To learn more, go to Firmspace.com. Now here’s your host.
Max Kantor: [00:00:21] Hey everybody, and welcome to Chicago Business Radio. I’m your host, Max Kantor. And before we dove into the show today, I want to shout out our sponsor firm space without them. We couldn’t be highlighting and sharing these important stories and speaking of firm space. We actually have the CEO of firmspace on the show today. Please welcome Anish. Michael, welcome to the show, Anish.
Anish Michael: [00:00:44] Max, great to be here, thanks for having me.
Max Kantor: [00:00:46] Of course, let’s jump right in. Tell me a little bit about firm space, how you guys serve in the community.
Anish Michael: [00:00:52] Certainly, well, firm space is a flexible office provider for business professionals. We provide private environments that focus on exactly that, the privacy that our members need, the security and the support that they need to to run their businesses. We like to call our concept pro working. It’s really a professional co-working environment and it’s really focused on members that are achievement driven and maybe don’t have a lot of options when it comes to getting their work done and the distraction free environment. So our pro working model gives them that sense of security, privacy and support that they need to accomplish this type of tech work.
Max Kantor: [00:01:38] Now what makes firm SpaceX different from other shared office space companies?
Anish Michael: [00:01:44] Yeah, I would say typically other shared office you generally hear about co-working being from from a traditional standpoint, being a communal environment with open desks that allow for individuals to work that work in environment next to other individuals without much privacy and security. The way we are different is all of our memberships are based on a private office and it allows the professionals that we cater to to really have a distraction free and safe environment to get their work done.
Max Kantor: [00:02:24] It’s funny you say that because I have been in multiple shared office spaces and I feel like it’s always a party. You know, there’s like the ping pong table or the slide, but but what you guys doing are different, and I was looking through your website and to me, there’s almost a sophisticated feel to it. That’s what I felt from looking through your website. So can you share a little bit about your strategy of firm space and how the strategy came to be?
Anish Michael: [00:02:55] Yeah, I know absolutely it, and I’d first say like that. We certainly enjoy a party and getting getting to know others and networking and certainly our environment caters to a networking among our our members when the time is right and appropriate to do that. But we were really founded on the concept of developing a model that worked for the highest level of services from from some urban professionals, mainly lawyers and law firms. And the concept really was generated based on that, and lawyers need a sense of privacy and the ability to focus on their work and service. Their clients in an environment that is going to be distracting isn’t going to compromise the confidentiality of the work that they are working on and the formation that their clients are providing. So that was really the genesis for why we built a model like from space and when we were able to cater to the legal profession, it really allowed us to open the eyes of other professional services and build an environment where it’s sophisticated, it’s professional. It’s meant to keep a focus of getting work done and ultimately being an environment where our clients and our members worry less about the hassles of running the space and more about an environment that they can bring their clients and guests to and be really proud about.
Max Kantor: [00:04:40] So you mentioned lawyers, but what other industries would make good members for firm space?
Anish Michael: [00:04:47] Yeah, sure. In addition to to the to the legal profession financial services consulting real estate, there’s many industries that really fall into the category of needing an environment like ours.
Max Kantor: [00:05:03] You talked about how individuals and members can just bring clients to have a meeting at you guys as offices, and that’s what they focus on. So I’m assuming you have other amenities that kind of help take care of your members like reception areas and mail services, things like that.
Anish Michael: [00:05:21] Yes, we’re full service when it comes to that traditional concept of an office sharing environment. Mail services conference rooms will. Every location will have a board room type conference room that allows for large group gatherings. In addition, we’ll have other smaller conference rooms and hotel rooms that do allow for collaboration when when the when that’s necessary. So there is other amenities in addition to just having that private office environment and all the other basic amenities that you would want in an office environment such as refreshments, the coffee, obviously things of that nature, it’s really more about allowing our members to focus on their business and less about them worrying about the administrative hassles of running an office.
Max Kantor: [00:06:16] Totally, which is great. And you mentioned collaboration and the spaces for collaboration. Do you guys put on any events for your members and how do you support the members in the community?
Anish Michael: [00:06:30] Sure, Max, yeah, definitely want to do things to not only promote our members and their businesses, but also help in the community. Obviously we’re in the middle of challenging times, so we want to make sure we are adhering to the local requirements as it relates to the COVID pandemic. So we’ve done different things. We definitely in terms of our members providing weekly catering services for meals, things of that nature. We’ve even gone to the efforts of making sure we’re being sanitary as we try to provide those types of meals just to make sure everyone’s comfortable in how we do that. But we still want to continue to do that as being a benefit for our members as they come in on a regular basis. And then in terms of for the community, I think we’re new to Chicago or happy to be in a great metropolitan city like like Chicago, and we feel that we are getting our name out there and it’s being recognized over the the last few months since we’ve been open and we’re looking to partner with community partners that that really want to take, take, take initiative and bring in events and other type of formal gatherings to outer space when the time is right. For now, we’re certainly adhering to the COVID mandates that are in place locally, and we are working to provide an atmosphere where our members feel safe and comfortable. Really, the good thing about our environment compared to maybe traditional environments is that we were really built with that social distancing in mind because of the private offices. And so it gives our members comfort to be able to come into their offices, close their door and be able to focus on the task at hand and not worry about some of the some of the things that we all are facing in our daily lives today.
Max Kantor: [00:08:37] Yeah, I got to say you guys were social distancing before it was cool, before it was the cool thing to do. You were ahead of the game there with that one.
Anish Michael: [00:08:45] Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
Max Kantor: [00:08:47] Is there anything special about the Chicago firm space location it compared to the other firm’s space locations?
Anish Michael: [00:08:54] Well, we it’s unique in the sense that we have three floors at the top of our building at one point forty five South Wales, and it’s great to be at the top of the building. We actually are contiguous with the amenity floor at the very top of the building, so it really gives our members the ability to enjoy their private office environment, but really have a really close step to being on the amenity level of the building, which comes with a workout facility, shower rooms, outdoor terrace when they want to go out and get a fresh breath of air and additional open areas to be able to collaborate with not only their colleagues but guests that they want to invite to the building. It also has a golf simulator up there, so if someone wants to go upstairs and take a quick break from from the daily grind, we think it’s just a great amenity for us and we’re glad to be a part of the building and so close to it.
Max Kantor: [00:09:58] Initially, it seems like you’re not only giving people private office spaces, it’s almost a lifestyle, I mean, you could spend an entire day at the firm space location.
Anish Michael: [00:10:08] Well, yeah, yeah, it’s funny that you say that I think the building and the great group of developers and the landlords that built that with had a really good understanding in mind. Tom Rogic, architects and company who helped develop the the the the building rosette industry. They they really put forth the thought and were able to think through what really makes sense in this part of town, what really is an amenity that people are longing for. They come from a background in building high rise condominiums. And it’s funny because it really does have a great feel, not only of a wonderful office space where where professionals can come and focus on the work, but it gives them the ability to do things that are attractive for everyday living.
Max Kantor: [00:11:10] And we’re talking about the Chicago firm space. But how where are your other firm space locations across the country?
Anish Michael: [00:11:18] Sure, yeah. Be happy to tell you, we currently have five locations at this point, Chicago being our most recent, but we also have locations in Austin, Denver, Houston and Atlanta.
Max Kantor: [00:11:32] And how did you guys end up picking those cities?
Anish Michael: [00:11:37] Well, you know what, it’s it’s a great question, and it’s something that we’re we are really particular about. We do a lot of research up front and make sure we are in cities that where we see a need for our particular concept, right? And that includes growing cities with professionals that have a desire to be in our environment. But it also needs to be in the right location with the ability for our professionals to have the additional amenities not only not only within our space, but not only within the building, but also in the surrounding area, the surrounding block to to really have a complete environment, if you will, for the type of things they want to do on a daily basis. So those things are important to us as we grow and expand, and those are some of the reasons why we’ve made the decisions to be in the cities where we’re currently at.
Max Kantor: [00:12:36] So if there’s a member in one city, say Chicago and they become a member of the Chicago firm space, do they get access to the other firm space locations as well?
Anish Michael: [00:12:47] Absolutely. It’s something that we’ve been wanting to have, and it’s a reason why we’re we’re spread out all over the country at this point in time. We’re wanting to build a network so that our members have the ability to access firm space wherever they may be. So if they happen to be a first base Chicago member and want to head to Denver for a couple of days if there is availability to have an office in the Denver location, our first base Chicago member is more than welcome to use it.
Max Kantor: [00:13:23] What are your different types of memberships for professionals?
Anish Michael: [00:13:28] Yes, it’s a great, great question, Max, because we’ve thought a lot about it with the way the work environment has changed through the pandemic. Our basic membership has been a private office membership where you can get a private office with how many guests are needed and that can range within our locations. But those private office memberships are typically based on a two month, six month or 12 month term. So there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of how long of a duration that our members want. And in addition to that private office, we have other products such as conference room, use day office use, even a firm space hybrid product which piggybacks our private office membership in the sense that we allow for up to three people to use the same office and desk so long as they’re just not working there at the same time. So we decided to bring out that hybrid product for a small fee. It’s always been a two to one ratio for us with our guest. We just bumped it up to a three to one ratio because we feel there’s a demand out there and people are longing for a hybrid work environment. And this is our way to say, Hey, we’re here to try to meet this desire and demand and give give companies a little bit more flexibility in how they want to staff their work environments.
Max Kantor: [00:15:09] Totally. And Aneesh, you sound very passionate about what you do. It sounds like you enjoy being the CEO of Firm Space. So for you, what’s the most rewarding part of the job?
Anish Michael: [00:15:20] Well, it’s great to be a part of a company that’s finding ways to innovate and bring new concepts and solutions to the commercial real estate industry. That’s been fun since day one, something that we’re trying to accomplish and and give people more solutions, more options. But I have to say just the day to day gratitude and fulfillment that I have is just working with my team and just growing something special. And you and I both know that, you know, a product is only good as the people that are around it and able to promote it and support it. And and at the end of the day, while we’re selling office space and giving people a place to work, we’re really here to support their their mission, their business, the things that they’re trying to accomplish. And that’s really at the at the end of the day, what firm space is all about. We are trying to enable people to achieve their very best and it just happens to be in a private office environment. But we’re also here to be an extension of their business and provide the support they need to excel in their day to day work.
Max Kantor: [00:16:39] And so for any professional that’s looking to achieve their very best or even to learn more about firm space in general, what’s the best way they can find you guys?
Anish Michael: [00:16:51] Absolutely the best way is go to our website at WW from Space.com. And for the folks in Chicago, please come check us out. We’re located at one point forty five South Wales in the central loop, right off of the Quincy Loop and in a great place. I think for for many professionals to want to continue and really rejuvenate their their their work, for sure.
Max Kantor: [00:17:20] Anish, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Anish Michael: [00:17:24] Thank you very much, I appreciate you having me.
Max Kantor: [00:17:26] And it’s not every day that I get to talk to the CEO of Firm Space, so I also got to say thank you so much for sponsoring the show. Thanks to firm SpaceX, we’ve been able to talk to amazing businesses across the Chicagoland area, from small theaters to restaurants to everything in between. So a very special thank you for for helping us out being able to highlight these local businesses.
Anish Michael: [00:17:49] You bet. Max, good luck to you.
Max Kantor: [00:17:51] Thank you so much and thanks everyone for listening to another great episode of Chicago Business Radio. I’m your host, Max Cantor, and we’ll see you next time.
Intro: [00:18:01] This episode is Chicago Business Radio has been brought to you by firm SpaceX, your private sanctuary for productivity and growth. To learn more, go to Firme Space.com.