Joining us at our virtual table is Vibushan Thirukumar, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Oru Space. Vibushan, fondly known as Vib, talks about the journey of Oru Space. According to him, Oru is a Tamil word that means “at one”.
The background of Oru
Opened in 2020, Oru is perfectly placed in Zone 3, southeast London, in a pleasant neighbourhood with beautiful scenery and parks.
The first phase of Oru started with a cafe, and a few months before opening, the team started hearing about COVID, ultimately leading to the total worldwide shutdown. Oru was not exempt from the lockdown and had to shut down only eight days after opening its doors.
For Vib, the initial plan was to open an eco-hotel in Sri Lanka, which ultimately didn’t happen. Upon his arrival in Sri Lanka, he says that everything that could go wrong went wrong. Upon their return to London, Vib and his co-founder Paul realised how impractical an idea it was to try and get into hotels when they’d had no prior experience working for a hotel company. The pair ultimately realised that coworking is where their passion and knowledge came together perfectly.
Transforming a rusty building into a multipurpose coworking space
Originally an old building, the transformation of Oru wasn’t an easy project. Vib and Paul worked with architects and people from various professions to transform Oru into what it is today.
But what came with that was the process of scrutiny of every decision that would result in the business becoming what it is today, with a beautiful yoga studio inside the business.
The coworking space includes unique features with its wellness studio, vintage furnishings, and even a piano.
Staying afloat during COVID
When asked whether he was anxious or worried about finances during COVID, Vib explains that he wasn’t. His primary focus was on making it work one thing at a time. Improvements were continually made along the journey. Apart from a bounce-back loan of 50,000 pounds, the Oru team didn’t seek out any other help during the pandemic.
Because the company was new, the team did not qualify to receive any government help.
From The Millennium Falcon to Oru, a Coworking, Wellness and Foodie heaven
The space for Oru came about when Vib and his team decided to bid for a project in Sutton that formed part of a major regeneration scheme, a space that is 45,000 square feet.
It’s a huge building on Sutton High Street next to where he grew up in Kingston. Prior to this, Vib developed a mega business plan that translated into a plan with everything on one spreadsheet. He recalls the planning phase as being rather extensive, with colours, timelines, numbers, revenues, KPIs, and many more key areas for the business.
Fast forward to 2022, Vib and Paul are now in an exciting space; with incredible coworking facilities, a café, and a yoga studio. The Oru team plans to take hospitality, well-being, and coworking to a new level in Sutton.
The duo also have plans to transform the building’s huge rooftop to feel and look and function a like a mini nature reserve. A unique feature like this will bring something new and exciting to Sutton and the South London region.
To listen to this insightful conversation and to learn more about Oru, visit: https://londoncoworkingassembly.com/podcast/vibushan-thirukumar-at-one-with-the-community/