I started working at Colonies in February 2019, as an intern. Back then I was still enrolled in my master’s degree and wanted to complete a challenging last internship, in a small structure.
I started working at Colonies in February 2019, as an intern. Back then I was still enrolled in my master’s degree and wanted to complete a challenging last internship, in a small structure. By ‘small structure’ I meant young company, with less than 15-20 people, expanding its business with an innovative and competitive product. I also wanted a kind of international aspect. I had this vision of start-ups as being made of swiss army knives and that therefore my missions would be diverse and that I would not get bored - I could not imagine how right I was.
I got really motivated and inspired by coliving and the mission of Colonies, and I quickly realized I wanted not only to be there for 6 months, but for life (…or at least for another month). I arrived just after the first fundraising and everyone was pumped up by the upcoming growth. Investors, developers, partners, and the media were starting to really take seriously the concept of coliving and our role in its expansion. It is even more the case today, as coliving is now a topic covered a lot more in the press and in the media in general.
When I started, we were 12, and opening our second home, Lazare, while developing our experience and operations process with our tenants from our first residence, Royale. I was assisting two departments (very pompous name since there was only one person per department): Project Management (managing the works and smooth delivery of our projects) and Operations/Experience (manage the open residences, and the tenants’ experience at Colonies).
What is fascinating with a young growing company is the completely schizophrenic way of working on fully operational daily tasks, and at the same time constructing the global strategy to be ready for an accelerating development and multiplication of projects. Constructing a product is also a collective task, and I was really feeling like my opinion mattered and was counted.
Another advantage of having to build everything from scratch is that each improvement or advancement made is an added stone to the building. Implementing new processes and ways of working was (and is still) a huge task, and always brings new challenges as we continue growing and expanding.
I came back to school in September to complete my master’s and continued following the internal discussions and implementation of tools, along with recruitments and development news – quite a lot happened in a few months: we opened 4 more homes, with 2 of them in Berlin, as part of our European expansion. This also meant the recruitment of a dedicated German team on site.
I returned in January of this year and am now fully employed at Colonies. We have passed the number of 40 employees in two countries, raised 180 million euros to fuel our spaceship, efficiently continued working entirely remotely during the lockdown, and strengthened our current partnerships with external actors, while building new ones.
What I really like about my job at Colonies is the way we work: each of us is autonomous and has its own responsibilities, but at the same time ‘Collective’ is one of our core values. We celebrate successes and face failures together, and never hesitate to give a hand or ask for help when needed. We also take advantage of our diversity (more than 8 different nationalities in the team, and English as our business language) to challenge our beliefs and integrate our sometimes-different visions in the modelling of our housing product.
We are conquering the world and having a lot of fun doing it. The team is amazing and incredibly committed to our mission (and to karaoke nights): I know I bet on the right horse.
One last note for interested readers: we need people to work with us, as scaling our business very fast requires lots of talents. I know you wondered why I had not used the word yet; it was to show you it is possible not to, even in the ‘start-up nation’ as they say. JOIN US!
Written by Alexandre Parent, Junior Project Manager at Colonies.