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Airbnb for ‘deep work’: Skimlinks founder bags £1.2M for Flown ahead of launch

Image credits: Flown

Social media, emails, text messages, and whatnot! The sheer volume of distractions around us can make it difficult to concentrate fully at work. As an antidote to this problem, Cal Newport, a scholar and associate mathematics professor at Georgetown University, coined the terms ‘Deep Work.’ Notably, he is the author of the book ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.’

What is Deep Work?

What exactly is Deep Work? It describes a state of focused, distraction-free concentration, where we can do our most creative and productive thinking and work. 

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. And this is where Flown, a new digital platform comes to play. 

Raises £1.2 million ahead of launch

Launched by serial entrepreneur Alicia Navarro, Flown has already raised £1.2 million pre-seed investment from several noted and prolific angels and entrepreneurs, 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 is planning to use the funding to build out the platform, onboard remote work-enabled properties, and launch across the UK and Portugal.

She says: “Raising such a large fundraise during a pandemic demonstrates how much our future-of-work vision resonated with investors. 

Deep work-as-a-service

Based out of London, Flown is a “deep work-as-a-service” that offers ideal mental and physical spaces for individuals and teams to think and work more creatively and productively. You can also call it Airbnb for deep work.

The company enables its members to search for a curated list of inspiring properties that are equipped for distraction-free and ergonomic working. Further, members can also tap into a set of tools and resources to support them with ‘deep work’ rituals around creativity and accountability.

How was Flown born?

Navarro, who previously founded the highly successful content monetisation platform Skimlinks, came up with the idea of Flown when she didn’t find a proper, inspiring space to do work. 

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.”

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, Flown is providing an innovative solution for the growing demand for productive remote workspaces.

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.”

Flown’s offering

Right now Flown has two core offerings: 

Flown Away: Curated list of homes, hotels, and retreat spaces that are fully equipped for distraction-free, ergonomic, and productive remote working. 

It ranges from a cabin in the woods equipped with a large screen monitor, to a countryside cottage equipped with a whiteboard and display screen.

Flown Here: Resources and interactive tools to help workers establish more effective ‘deep work’ rituals – from virtual accountability groups to perception-shifting creative challenges.

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.”

It’s worth mentioning, ahead of its launch in early 2021, Flown is offering £200 of credit to anyone who visits their official website and joins the member waitlist or nominates a property.