Kaniyet Rayev (BSc Management 2016) graduated from Cass with dreams of starting his own business. Little did he know that his troubles finding somewhere to work were about to become Haus, an innovative network of workspaces available by the day (or longer!). We chatted at first Haus location in Holborn about how it happened.
Tell me about your time at Cass!
It was amazing! Especially looking back now I have a 24/7 job and those crazy exam periods are your every day experience. I had my birthday the other day, and I was thinking just how much life feels like the exams time. When you finish University you start appreciating it – you realise what a good time you had.
In terms of what we studied, Cass was pretty helpful. I studied BSc Management and that was really good for a broad range of subjects. I intentionally didn’t have a specialism because when you manage your own business you do it all: the marketing, operations, finance. So I’m using everything that I learned.
What did you do after you graduated?
I was planning to launch another company, based on my dissertation, which was like Airbnb for experiences. I was doing my research for it, and I found out that Airbnb were testing a very similar concept. So I stopped developing it.
That must have been a shock! What did you do next?
My idea for Haus came from being tired of the library! After I graduated, all June and July I was walking around searching for a place to work. I tried coffee shops, museums, but they don’t really work for me. They are too crowded and noisy, and you’re worried about stealing, so you can’t easily go to the toilet. There are lots of problems and you actually spend quite a bit of money living this way.
I realised there are so many empty places that don’t get used all the time. That gave me the idea. Restaurants and bars are often closed in the day and that’s useful space going unused. For example, this place is closed until 5pm.
The idea wasn’t really formulated in my head until I did some research. Schemes like this exist in other parts of the world but nothing like this is happening in London. I decided that if I found a restaurant I would go for it! I didn’t even have a business plan. Unfortunately my first contact fell through, but I started the search again and Haus was born.
What is Haus exactly?
Haus is going to be a network of workspaces around London where you can work alongside other early stage start-ups and freelancers. I hope that as soon as our members will meet regularly in one place, it will lead to a better collaboration and friendship between them.
Do you have any advice for others starting a business after Uni?
Speak to at least one person per day relevant to the industry you want to work in. I have a really limited network of people in this industry and I’m building my contacts at the moment. Just imagine if I’d spent the three years of University time doing this. I’d be in a much different position! In two months I have met more relevant people than in the past three years.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Marketing. I think at Cass, marketing was different to what I actually use in real life. We didn’t learn Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, SEO, PPC and other digital marketing tools which are very simple, but they just take time to learn. These are technical – you know it or you don’t and that’s the challenge. If you plan to do business, especially in this industry, you should know how to do digital marketing in advance, it’s very important.
Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!
Favourite place in London: Wallace Collection Café
Favourite holiday destination: Blenheim Palace
Must-check every day website: Facebook, it’s not just my friends on there, I also follow lots of relevant news outlets like TechCrunch
Dream travel destination: Macchu Picchu
Cheese or chocolate: Chocolate!
You can work at Haus for £99 incl VAT/month for students and recent alumni, or £150 + VAT/month for the general public. Haus offers trial periods and flexible options. Find out more on their website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.