London-based Flown lands €1.3 million to launch new ‘deep work-as-a-service’ platform, led by serial tech founder Alicia Navarro

Experienced UK-based entrepreneur Alicia Navarro has announced the close of an around €1.3 million pre-seed investment round to fund her latest venture, Flown

Flown is a new online platform that aims to help knowledge workers achieve “deep work”. By matching them with inspiring properties setup for productive and ergonomic remote work, as well as providing an array of interactive tools and resources, Flown will provide the ideal mental and physical spaces required for knowledge workers to get away from their day-to-day work environments to do their most productive and creative work. 

“Deep work” is a concept popularized in Cal Newport’s book of the same name. It describes a state of focused, distraction-free concentration, where we can do our most creative and productive thinking and working. Newport suggests that to get into this flow state, we need to retreat from our normal environment, perhaps somewhere closer to nature, and intersperse our periods of focused concentration with exploration, play and learning. This is what Flown aims to deliver via its platform.  

Navarro was inspired to create Flown after stepping down from her last business Skimlinks in 2018, following 11 years at the helm. Navarro said: “After leaving Skimlinks, I thought I’d have tons of time to write, think and ideate. Unfortunately, it was impossible to find spaces to do this: co-working spaces were too distracting, cafes weren’t ergonomic, and I needed a break from working from home. Plus, not being part of a team any longer meant I was often lonely, and struggled to get into the right mental space for thinking creatively or productively.”

She then set off travelling around Europe to see if she could focus more easily away from the distractions of London, but became frustrated at how difficult it was to find remote working locations that were reliably wifi-enabled, ergonomic, creatively inspiring and functional. 

It quickly became her mission to help people find the fulfilment that comes from being able to focus and create significant thoughtworks. Aimed at freelancers, creatives, entrepreneurs, academics, remote teams, or anyone struggling to focus or get things done in their usual day-to-day setting, Flown is providing an innovative solution for the growing demand in productive remote workspaces. There are 1  billion knowledge workers globally, and it’s the fastest growing sector of our economy.

Navarro added: “COVID19 has only made the need for Flown even greater. People working from home sometimes need to escape to find inspiration and fewer distractions. Companies shifting to remote work still need places for their team to regularly collaborate or bond. And never before has our economy been more open-minded and experimental with new ways of working and supporting the needs of their employees.”

Available to both individuals and teams, Flown has two core offerings: Flown Away (a highly curated list of homes, hotels and retreat spaces that are fully equipped for distraction-free, ergonomic and productive remote working, from a cabin in the woods equipped with a large screen monitor, to a countryside cottage equipped with whiteboard and display screen) and Flown Here (collection of resources and interactive tools to help workers establish more effective ‘deep work’ rituals – from virtual accountability groups to perception-shifting creative challenges).

Raising a pre-seed investment in November 2020, the business now boasts a number of well-respected, prolific angels and entrepreneurs as part of its investor cohort, including Taavet Hinrikus (Transferwise), Greg Marsh (OneFineStay), James Meekings (Funding Circle) and Pete Cashmore (Mashable) – with a third of the fundraise also coming from female investors. 

Navarro will be using the funding to continue building out the Flown platform ahead of its formal launch in the UK and Portugal, as well as onboarding new properties and bolstering Flown’s growing team. Working alongside Navarro, Flown’s founding team includes talent from Mr & Mrs Smith, Ometria, Quill, McKinsey’s Generation, and Resi.

Taavet Hinrikus from Transferwise says: “I recognised that Flown has the potential to be a real driving force for the way we work, and for how the hospitality industry can adapt to become more resilient and diversified by accommodating knowledge workers, not just holiday-makers.”

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