Back in May, 2021, we interviewed Shegun Otulana, founder of TherapyBrands, about his historic $1.2B exit and what he was planning next. Harmony Venture Labs (HVL) is his next endeavor, and they’re now launching their first brainchild: CoWello. We’ve got an exclusive interview with Otulana and Oz Imaghodor, Entrepreneur in Residence at HVL. Keep reading for all the details.
What CoWello is
CoWello is an all-in-one space management platform whose name comes from the marriage of coworking and wellness.
Let’s say you own a wellness coworking space, a massage therapy biz, a yoga or spin studio or a therapy practice. CoWello’s software gives you a quick and easy way to book your spaces, saving you time and providing you with the opportunity to make more money from your space.
1. What do you anticipate is the market for wellness coworking spaces?
Otulana: “In addition to the fast-growing wellness market, CoWello’s software extends into the facilities and real estate aspects of that market. We are combining three markets and aspects of each business:
- The place you find yourself—managing real estate space
- The people you take care of within that space—delivering wellness as a service
- The ability to extend that space to do more—monetizing your space”
2. How did you discover this untapped need?
Otulana: “When I was at TherapyBrands, my impression was that this was a fast-growing industry. A big factor in making this more concrete was Meredith Calhoun with PracticeWorks.
I could see the trend of the sharing economy around me in places like Charlotte and other cities across the country. From CouchSurfing, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and WeWork, you could see where society was moving in general, and we had clients at TherapyBrands in a shared space situation which our software didn’t really serve. We didn’t cater to them, and we didn’t know of anyone else who catered to them, either.
When Meredith launched PracticeWorks here in Birmingham, she and I started talking. She is very, very smart, so I give a lot of weight to the things she tells me. Hearing that she was seeing the trend and seeing it across my own customers was the seed of what led to this.”
3. Do you have projections of how much revenue your subscribers could earn using CoWello?
Otulana: “It depends on the space and will be different for each one. I believe if you’re able to monetize your space, you can probably add anywhere from 20-30% of additional revenue over time, depending on how much space and free time you have available.
For people who own properties, it’s a very efficient way to increase your level of productivity with your tools, your rooms and equipment.
Let’s say you have a spin class that normally runs from 5-10AM. You have 19 more hours in the day where you could have classes of equal sizes running within your space. You can go on about your day while your business, facility and equipment keep making money for you even when you’re not there.
It’s an efficient use of society’s space and resources as a whole, including energy. It’s a net good for businesses, facilities and customers.
We’re in the early days, and we’re going to learn a lot from our customers. Part of our job is to keep listening to our customers and make sure this is something that really adds significant value to their business, their ability to serve their customers and empowers them as they make other people’s lives better.”
Who’s behind CoWello
Harmony Venture Labs (HVL) is a Birmingham-based venture studio that launches and develops high-growth startups.
Founded by Otulana in 2020, the HVL team specializes in creating new ventures and helping founders build their own. By generating new solutions and supporting entrepreneurs, HVL’s goal is to foster an ecosystem of empowerment and economic opportunity within the community.
The team who created CoWello developed business-to-business (B2B) Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies serving the mental and behavioral health industries, so they know a thing or two about how to deliver real value to their customers.
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