For Digital Turbine, Canvas was a highly strategic choice. Finding the perfect place to set up a new business hub where all four of their newly acquired businesses could work together, was never going to be an easy task. They needed transport links and entertainment options for clients. They wanted a distinct upgrade from a co-working space, to a place that provided an ideal mix of private and communal areas. But most of all, they were looking for more than just an office provider. They were looking for a working partner.
We met Shalom Michaeli, Managing Director for EMEA at their office at St. John’s Lane, Farringdon. We’re in one of their private meeting rooms. Statement artwork hangs the wall and the combination of oak furnishings, and soft lighting bring a calm focus to the room. We sit to talk about their experience with Canvas to date.
Can you introduce Digital Turbine and tell us a little about the business?
“Digital Turbine is a mobile growth platform. We help app developers and advertisers get together and maximise revenues. That can be brand advertisers and gaming advertisers, and we match them together to facilitate growth for both publishers and advertisers in a mobile app economy.”
How long have you been running?
“DT acquired several companies over the past two years, Fibre, Colony and Appreciate, and we’re facilitating the combination of all four here in one single place, in this new office. Originally we’re an American company with our HQ in Austin, Texas, but we also have offices in Tel Aviv, Turkey, Berlin, Spain and London.”
So you moved here in March this year, did you see many other offices before settling with us?
“Wow, yes, actually, quite a lot I have to say! I moved here to open our London office seven years ago. Back then we were just Fibre, and we took some sharing space, and we were there for quite some time. But there is a point when you need something else.
A balance between having flexibility on the shared, co-working space and having an office of your own. We were looking for quite a few months and checked out 10, maybe 20 places, and we couldn’t find something that gave us that feeling of “hey, this is our office”.
Because we meet a lot of clients in our business, there’s a difference between getting a client into your co-working space when everything is so massive and non-specific to us as a business, to a space where clients feel like this is a proper ’Digital Turbine’ office. And we got that feeling over here with Canvas, and this is why we decided to take this place and to join this team.”
Were you only looking in Farringdon?
“That’s a great question because we were previously based in Bank and the other team that DT acquired were in Holborn, we were trying to find something in between which is why we wanted the Farringdon area. We wanted to be close to transportation links and different restaurants, because of the kind of business that we run, we need somewhere that will combine ease of arrival to the office when we have clients here, but also an area where we can entertain. So those were the factors we were looking for.”
You took this office when the renovations were still in progress at St John’s Lane, when it was essentially a building site! How did you convince your team to go with it before it was fully finished?
“I still remember us with the hard hats on, going up and looking at all the refurbishments. And we didn’t believe you would make it on time. I remember asking the teams back then, ‘are you certain you’ll make it?’ and I was pleasantly surprised when we saw the construction site turning into the space it is now.
We were very excited about the Canvas team delivering on their promises because we had made promises to our management, too. Our contract was ending at our old place and we needed to find somewhere that met our needs. Delivering on time created this credibility and a mutual understanding that you guys really cared about us and that we cared about you. It was definitely a big thing.”
Did coming in at that early stage give you more options to personalise the space?
“One hundred per cent. I felt heard. And I felt that all our needs were massively addressed. I feel that we had, and still have a partner. It’s definitely the opposite of what we had in the past. It’s exactly what we were looking for. Somebody that can understand how we operate. Someone that can adjust and give us recommendations and support this thing that we’re building.
We’re building something over here that’s strategically big for the company, and we were looking for somebody that could give us the edge in their way of thinking, saying ‘hey, maybe we should do that’ or ‘maybe we should do this.’ And this is exactly what we found with Canvas and we’re very happy with that.”
We’ve just seen some of the team using some of the communal space, and you mentioned having a balance of private and communal space earlier. How important is that for you and the team?
“So, this office has 29 people. We have technical hubs in Tel Aviv, in the US and Berlin as well, but this is a business hub, and that’s important because primarily you do business when you’re speaking to clients and meeting clients and have conversations with them constantly. For me, it was very important for us to find a place that had great meeting rooms and booths, like dedicated ‘escape rooms’ where people can go and have those one-on-one meetings, but also have the bigger meeting spaces. It was crucial for us and we found it here. The variety of the offices that Canvas currently offer in Farringdon is immense for us.
We worked with the [Canvas] team to build spaces which help the sales teams and account managers do their jobs of having conversations without the need to worry about booking this room or that room, places that are only available at certain times. It can be really tedious and time consuming, and creates this fear of ‘hey, I don’t want to go in to the office because it can be really hard to even have a call and I can’t actually do my job’! And this is what we managed to prevent. It’s one of the reasons we have a big attendance here, because of the facilities you’ve managed to build.
“We try to create this balance of ‘come to the office, have conversations with your peers, understand what’s happening, be aware of the things and the dynamic and what’s developing in the company and with the products’. But also you have Mondays and Fridays where you can be at home and sit and focus on your project without any distractions. This balance is critical for us.”
Canvas is all about spaces and connections and though we like introducing you to your neighbours, you can dip in and out of that as much as you want. Do you find the little social touches you may not find elsewhere important?
“Yes definitely. I can tell you that the two people from our team who were involved in the meeting room naming events were really happy to share their experience with the company. Those small things that connect our company to another company. Being part of something, being heard, having someone you can go and ask for something, and you know that there’s somebody over there that will support you. It makes a difference. The teams are very happy they have someone that will listen to our needs. It addresses something that we might not necessarily get in other places.”
And do you value having that relationship with Tsubi and Cara who come in to the office, being there and having those conversations in person?
“I mean, we’re on WhatsApp so that’s everything! We have that openness and acceptance, and they respond to requests so quickly and everything is addressed in a professional manner. I’ll tell you in all honesty, in the previous space we had, we had a very default setting. We had a table and maybe a lamp, whereas over here we had a chance to reinvent ourselves.
Like, how do we set up the rooms? How many tables in each and every one of them? Where do you want the phone booths? What decorating style do we want? What pictures? Maybe we should knock through rooms and have more collaboration between the two teams etc, and this is what we achieved. A partner who listened. Addressed them. Tried to understand why we need them and recommend according to our needs. And it starts with that and goes all the way to the acoustics in the meeting room – do we have the right sound or do we need something else?
The small things that create massive value for us. We have a very strong sense of collaboration. Those needs are constantly ongoing. We need keys. We need something else. The teams are constantly addressing our needs and supporting us. So thank you.”
We love watching your team interact because it’s so clear that people genuinely like each other. They all want to have lunch together, play pool together and you can see the DT team all get along.
“Yes! And this office is extremely important for us. It’s the first office in the company of almost 1,000 people that we’ve managed to bring the four entities of the company that have been acquired into one place. In most of the other places it’s been a bit more scattered and we’re still trying to bring people to the offices.”
And what are the reactions from other business hubs when they see this place?
“For London I have this new saying that ‘all roads lead to London’ as opposed to ‘Rome’. It’s all coming here. So we see people coming from AsiaPac, from the Middle East and from Europe, coming to London to visit us. The feedback that we get from senior levels of the company is that we’ve managed to create something very unique because people are super keen to come into the office as they get to see their colleagues but also because they have a good time. And that’s rule number one, if you like what you do and you’re happy where you’re doing it then you’ll continue to do it and achieve what you’re trying to accomplish.
So what we’ve managed to do here, we’re trying to replicate it with other offices around the world, but it’s hard with some of the facilities. It’s so difficult to replicate the London environment and it’s hard to replicate Tsubi!”
So, what’s next for Digital Turbine?
“We’re starting lots of strategic products, and we’re launching alternative stores. Basically, up until now, there are two main stores that you download applications from, there’s GooglePlay and the App Store for Apple. This duopoly has been running for the last 15 years and there’s been lots of discussion about how beneficial that is for clients. An alternative store is better for users and it creates a better business model for the app developers because they’ll pay lower fees so they can focus on actually growing their businesses.”
“Yeh! So maybe when you download an app it’ll be from our alternative app store!”
At Canvas, we take time to understand your business, and the people that make it great. We translate that understanding into a space that sets you up for success. Come and talk to us today about our spaces. We can’t wait to collaborate.