wouter jellema innolab
Contributor Wouter Jellema at the Innolab last week. Image supplied.
  • Wouter Jellema was recently a special guest at the Innolab in Bentley
  • The facility combines a technology lab and a cafe setting
  • Founder Mike Ghasemi hopes to employ a franchise model to grow his business

The owner

Recently I was a special guest at the Innolab in Bentley, and had the opportunity to meet the business owner, Mike Ghasemi. 

Mr Ghasemi has been an entrepreneur since 2005, specialising in technology in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was involved with many tech businesses, and at one point, he became the Head of the Hospitality Industry at International Data Corporation.

Three years ago, Mr Ghasemi moved to Australia and now runs his own technology research company, Mike Ghasemi Research, the Innolab, and the Innolab cafe.

Mike Ghasemi. Image: LinkedIn.

The cafe

Mr Ghasemi described the cafe as an accident.

The idea was to start the lab and help other entrepreneurs to launch their technology products into the market. A cafe was also opened as part of the lab, one of several amenities and services the lab offered.

The Innolab cafe is located at the Bentley Technology Park, adjacent Curtin University. Image supplied.

Mr Ghasemi is a tenant leasing the property directly from the lessor, and is a sub-lessor, sub-leasing office rooms and facilities in the area next to his cafe.

While Mr Ghasemi enjoys direct contact with his lessor, he said he missed the service real estate professionals offer, which his landlord does not always have the time and resources to do.

To lease or not to lease?

Mr Ghasemi said many real estate professionals have contacted him to offer space in shopping centres, however, he noted that Innolab tailors to office professionals, not retail customers, so he politely declines those offers. He also said he believed his cafe business can become an anchor tenant in many office buildings, using a franchise model.

Recalling the 2016 movie The Founder, Mr Ghasemi said the secret of success lies in real estate.

The film followed the journey of Ray Kroc, who purchased McDonald’s from the original McDonald brothers in the early 1960s, and grew it into a global business, using franchising. 

The McDonald’s secret of success lay in real estate, as his financial consultant Harry Sonneborn discovered – upon reviewing Ray’s books – the real profit was in providing property to the franchisees, along with a revenue stream; which had the added benefit of leverage over franchises.

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