MML invests £16M in flexible office provider Instant to fund global growth plans

Since its inception 13 years ago, the entrepreneurial company has established offices in the USA and Australia and grown from a London-based start-up to a well established SME with nearly 100 staff today.

Chief Executive Officer Patrick Elliott, who joined last August, said: “We are delighted to receive private equity investment from MML, because they rapidly grasped the potential of the business and we quickly felt comfortable working with them. With their support, I am confident we can accelerate Instant’s success within the ever-expanding flexible office market.

“Instant works with thousands of office providers, landlords and agents, to provide the right workplace for corporate clients, which range from the world’s largest multi-nationals – who need a tailor-made working environment for hundreds of people on a medium term basis – down to start-ups looking to establish their first proper office.

“We are seeing a just-in-time approach to business become more and more prevalent; companies are seeking efficiencies by sourcing what they need, only when they need it, so they aren’t tying up capital. Why shouldn’t this practice translate to property? We work with clients to help them build flexibility into their property portfolios.”

Instant anticipates rapid expansion within the flexible office market. In London alone, the market for bespoke managed offices – a relatively new way for companies to cost-effectively outsource the task of sourcing, fitting-out and managing office space flexibly on their behalf – is already estimated to be worth over £500m. The funding from MML will enable Instant to finance more and bigger Managed Office projects, for which it covers all the upfront costs for clients.

Instant expects to see major growth within its Managed Office division, established by Seb Royle and run by a strong team, including well-known industry figures Paul Bolden and John Vaughan.

Royle said: “From beginnings in 2006 in the UK construction and transport sectors, we have already proven the model’s appeal to businesses in publishing, financial services, IT, outsourcing, and oil and gas, and expect this to continue. Instant has already closed more than 40 Managed Office deals. Today, square footage under management exceeds 250,000 across 21 Instant Managed Offices. During 2012, we also opened what we believe is the first Managed Office in mainland Europe for our client Serco and their end-user, Sky.”

Bal Johal of MML commented: “We are delighted to back Patrick and his team in continuing the impressive growth the company has achieved under the entrepreneurial leadership of founder Rob Hamilton. As companies are increasingly recognising the efficiencies of outsourcing non-core services, we see Instant – and particularly its Managed Office service – as an excellent opportunity to benefit from what we anticipate will be viewed as an attractive method for sourcing office space, by more and more organisations.

“We expect there will be a shift away from the “one type suits all” approach to workplace leasing that has dominated the property industry for a very long time.”