Live with Mo Hamzain, CEO of VEL

Workplace 3.0 and The Digital Coffee Shop

Imagine yourself loving to go to work, where your office workspace is equipped with perfect lighting, sound, and personalized working space (even if you’re left-handed!). This workspace helps you be more efficient and productive, all while offering flexible privacy and psychological safety.

Mo Hamzian took his love for working at what he calls “analog coffee shops” and started VEL, a hyper-localized tech-enabled, highly productive workplace based on a coffee shop concept. Sounds pretty good, right? Mo is betting hybrid, flexible, dedicated co-working spaces are here to stay and he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

Is Mo’s vision of Workplace 3.0, the future of the workplace, correct? Will co-working replace working at the office and working from home? Are there better alternatives? With nearly every employer and worker struggling to figure out how, what, and where to work in this new world of Never-Normal, you don’t want to miss what Mo Hamzian has to say.

Take Innovating Seriously

If there ever was a time that HR and business leaders needed to reimagine their future, it’s right now. Ben M. Bensaou, author of Built to Innovate and Professor of Technology Management at INSEAD, (home of the Blue Ocean Strategy) says that HR (as well as every business leader) needs to begin taking “innovating seriously.” Instead of reaching for one more piece of HR Tech (which Bensaou classifies as innovation), we need to start “innovating” and create an innovating culture that gives people permission to innovate and take risks  – motivating them to share ideas and contribute. We interviewed Ben on this episode of Geeks Geezers Googlization Show. Ben was captivating. He’ll leave you wanting more!

Who Is Mo–Hamzian?

Mo-Hamzian is the founder of VEL, a company that has grabbed remote work by the horns, revolutionizing the concept of working in your local coffee shop. VEL’s coffee shops are highly flexible, technology driven and provide a private setting for remote workers. The idea of this “digital coffee shop” came from what Hamizan calls “a third place” – a workspace outside the office or home that helped him perform quality work while traveling or when he just needed a change of environment. But Hamzian makes it clear that coffee shops really weren’t designed to help workers but to sell coffee. That created the spark to explore what if there was a coffee shop in this digital age designed to help online workers perform at their best. Co-host Ira S Wolfe believes this adds yet “another mix” to the ecosystem of remote work, as opposed to either the office or home.

Why The Digital Coffee Shop?

This era of remote work will provide the labor force with new opportunities to revolutionize the standards of just working in the office, says Hamizan. He breaks down the evolution of the workplace on a timeline starting with Workplace 1.0 in the industrial revolution. With the shift from manual to service and knowledge work, Workplace 2.0 was created, which is the office workspace we all knew pre-pandemic. But Hamizan believes the pandemic disrupted Workplace 2.0 and now there is an opportunity to redesign the workplace with imagination. 


Hamzian comparies the emerging Workplace 3.0 to the early years of ecommerce. It was impossible when the Internet was first launched but with advances in technology, new opportunities opened up. The pandemic has forced a Great Reevaluation of almost everything we knew and took for granted. Both employers and employees realized that there is no need to force work between the hours of 9 and 5. Expensive office leases can be retired and who needs to spend hours each day commuting to work?  


That leads up to what Hamzian calls Workplace 3.0, which is being curated and customized as we spoke. He believes VEL’s coffee shop concept will be part of this Workplace 3.0, helping to complement the office or home as a digitally driven workplace.

Are Workers Putting Their Personal Lives First Now?

Speaking every day with company executives, co-host Jason Cochran shared how he sees employees beginning to put their personal and family wellbeing before work. The modern worker is no longer squeezing his personal life into a traditional 9 to 5 day and office. Work is now a supportive pillar to prop up one’s personal goals and life’s purposes. The pandemic created an opportunity to reflect and explore oneself. Providing that space is a key goal of VEL – to create an atmosphere where workers can feel fulfilled. Hamzian wants his clients to be able to shutout the friction in their lives and fall in love with the journey of work again.

Can VEL’s Workspace Concept Transfer Over To The Office?

While the workspace seems to be heading to a flexible hybrid remote setting, the corporate office isn’t going to disappear. So is it possible for the traditional in-person corporate office to recreate VEL’s workspace? Hamzian reiterates that VEL is not trying to replace the office but compliment the office. Hamzian explains it this way, “a business may have a physical building but the responsibility for its construction and maintenance is delegated to the real estate developer or contractor.  VEL is not the only workspace but a delegated location to get work done. Hamzian believes offices can recreate a VEL like workspace and VEL is already exploring this concept by having smaller “concession stands”located in an office building.

The Journey Of Workspace 3.0

Hamzian’s process of creating Workspace 3.0 started about 2.5 years ago when he dropped his career to pursue this entrepreneurial dream. Hamzian quickly realized that he needed another player on his team to help him execute VEL, co-founding the company with Jack Gunn. The pair started simply by selling coffee to raise money, build products, and market their dream. While the pandemic provided a rough start for VEL, it did provide Hamzian with the opportunity to re-invent his business and take a risk with Workplace 3.0. 


Hamzian quickly recognized a new opportunity – to provide an evolving and emerging workforce with flexibility like never before, relying on advances in technology. Hamzian even feels that in the coming years, it is very possible there may be an entirely digital version of VEL, driven AI and the emergence of the MetaVerse.

How Far Away Is VEL?

Where can you visit a VEL? It’s coming soon. VEL’s first location in Savannah (GA) will be open in just a few months with more locations currently being negotiated. Five years from now Hamzian and several business partners believe 100 stores is very possible.


“Why don’t we design workspaces around coffee shops… [but] where the air, the sound and physical meeting spaces were all designed to work.” (Wolfe, 00:04:49)

“VEL comes from this idea of velocity because we think modern workplace and modern people want trajectory and speed to some degree” (Hamzian, 00:09:58)

“We don't want to be in the business of creating T.V. for a radio, what a missed opportunity that would be to redesign a workplace based on limited imagination… similar to what the internet did for e-commerce.” (Hamzian, 00:14:14)

“Companies like us are searching for Workplace 3.0 which is going to be curated, customized, it means different things for different people in different geographies. (Hamzian, 00:16:00)

“We want you to fall in love again with work… when you’re at VEL we want you not to think about the bills and some of those friction in your life that derail you from the passion you give to your work” (Hamzian, 00:20:27)

“The workplace itself has more room to change and one of the things we find in startups that is really valuable is we don't have any legacy cost, which means theoretically we could take some risk that the bigger boys can't” (Hamzian, 00:29:22)