Space man … Glasgow start-up finds room to expand amid upsurge in home working

By Ian Marland at

His idea has been described as ‘Uber for architecture’.

Now Glasgow-based start-up entrepreneur Danny Campbell has secured £400,000 to expand his business at a time when others are tightening their belts.

His company HOKO wants to employ more than 30 people across the UK by the end of the year in a bid to become the UK’s leader in residential architecture.

Danny Campbell and HOKO

Danny Campbell and his team of  investors. L-right: Donald Wilson, Graham Campbell, Danny Campbell and Warren Gee. Photo: Neil Hanna 

HOKO has developed a technology-enabled platform that makes it easier for people to create new space in their homes.

And the company has recorded increased interest from people wanting to create home working areas as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Danny who was a star player for West End rugby side GHK said: “This investment will accelerate our ability to scale across the UK.

“I now have a team of experienced businesspeople behind me, who can help guide me on this exciting journey.

“As an architect, I was incredibly frustrated by residential architecture being an afterthought throughout education, while the customer journey for anyone wishing to extend or convert their home is confusing, inefficient and extremely unfulfilling.

‘Amazing designs’

“There’s beauty in small projects. We work with homeowners to make their dreams a reality with creative architecture and trusted relationships.

“Our platform makes it easier for architects to spend their time on delivering amazing designs rather than admin, making it more cost-effective for clients and more fulfilling for everyone involved.

“Our entire process and ethos is built around making homeowners happier in their homes.”

He said the company had seen an upsurge in interest for home-working projects.

Danny said: “We always approach projects trying to maximise what space they have before extending.

 

Danny Campbell

Funding space: Danny Campbell in his playing days at Old Anniesland club GHK.

“We have noticed trends in garages, lofts and gardens being utilised for home-working.

“It’s frequent topic in our conversation with clients these days – there was an extremely sharp rise from the moment the pandemic began.

“It wasn’t really mentioned before but now, nearly every client brings it up.

“We’re excited to make homeworking a lot more efficient and fulfilling with creative architecture.”

A group of investors, led by Warren Gee, the Chief Portfolio Officer at private equity firm Cairngorm Capital, Barclay Gilmour’s Donald Wilson and Executive Director of long-term equity investment business Saracen Fund managers, Graham Campbell, has backed the entrepreneur to transform the industry.

 

‘We have noticed trends in garages, lofts and gardens being utilised for home-working.

‘It’s frequent topic in our conversation with clients these days – there was an extremely sharp rise from the moment the pandemic began.

‘It wasn’t really mentioned before but now, nearly every client brings it up’

Danny Campbell

 

The process allows homeowners to embark on an extension or conversion of any type from design to build, beginning with an immediate quote including all associated fees produced by an initial free online consultation.

With live project updates and drawings online, and by using Virtual Reality, homeowners can see their final project virtually before building begins.

Warren Gee, who played a lead role in building the FNZ group into an international market leader, believes HOKO can disrupt a big, but underserved market.

He said: “I have a passion for seeing businesses develop to exceed their customers’ expectations.

‘Rewarding’

“What excites me most about HOKO is that we won’t just help customers, but also create opportunities for architects to build a rewarding career in a sector which is currently struggling.

“With the simplicity and ingenuity of its process, there’s a huge opportunity in the ability to scale.”

Donald Wilson, who established Barclay Gilmour Partners in 2013, said: “I believe there’s an opportunity for a digitally focused, innovative business model targeted towards extensions and conversions to support the UK residential property market.

“Given the personal attributes and strength of character of Danny Campbell, I believe he’s the person to do just that. Danny can drive HOKO to become the UK’s most recognised brand for residential architecture.”