Founders: Zoltan Szalas, Adam Chew, Nisha Garigarn, & David Idell
Pitch: Work anywhere in NYC from our partner workspaces with a single membership.
I sold sixdegrees in 1999 and that was the last time I had a company with a primary lease. In the early 1990’s, tech companies were signing leases in Soho for less than $20 per square foot. Today, leases in Soho and Union Square can be in excess of $60 per square foot with expectations from landlords about long-term contracts and significant deposits. These large financial commitments have quite literally priced startups out of the direct leasing market and have moved virtually all of them into shared workspaces.
It’s not just startups that have come to focus on shared spaces, but building owners have also recognized that they can increase the cashflow from their buildings by converting to shared office setups. With a shared office, the actual square footage allocated per desk is considerably less than what used to be allocated just 10 years ago.
The big question is how startups in the future will interact with these shared spaces. Will they be content to engage in month-to-month leases within a coworking space, or will they look to engage in more unusual usage patterns? Could there be a network of coworking spaces where different individuals from the same company can work in different locations, or will a network of coworking spaces allow individuals to rotate among different locations based on their meetings?
One thing seems clear, and that is that more shared workspace inventory is coming online. The company we’re profiling today is betting that they can fill excess capacity by offering a rotating coworking membership experience for startups.
To enable people to work from anywhere.
The way people work is changing. People are transitioning from a 9-to-5-er economy to a 1099-er economy, the latter group also known as freelancers. Currently, there are 53 million people in the US who are considered to be freelancers, making up about 34% of the entire workforce. This number is expected to balloon up to 50% by 2020.
There is over 10 million square feet of office space available in New York City, as well as over 100 coworking spaces with hundreds of vacant seats. The coworking and real estate industry generates billions of dollars a year. To give you an idea, WeWork just got a valuation of $10 billion.
The shared economy and the on-demand model offer an opportunity to provide a solution that benefits the 1099-ers and the coworking spaces themselves. If you take a look at the discrepancies of the vacancies available — the unused office space in Manhattan, the vacant seats in coworking spaces — you can see that this market is going unfulfilled.
Our market is composed of underserved freelancers. Right now, there are 2 solutions for a freelancer: you can work from a coffee shop or from home, or you can get a full-time office or work from a coworking space. We realized that there were no options in between.
After doing a plethora of user interviews and surveys, we realized that a lot of people want certain pre-made features. One feature is the ability to move around from space to space. Another feature is that they don’t necessarily want to commit to a full day of working — they want to pop in for a few hours at a time. And the third feature is affordability, which means people paying for a solution that makes sense for them.
Product Or Service:
Croissant is a simple monthly membership that allows our users to work from any of the spaces that we have on the platform for $99 per month. It’s as simple as taking out your phone, going on our app, browsing the spaces we have available, choosing the space you want to work at and then simply checking in. When you leave, you just check out.
Real And Vaporware:
We launched on July 1st. We have over $3,000 in revenue and over 20 users. In the future, we will be using iBeacons to make our check-in and check-out processes simpler.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out our email, photo and website translation services and our goal for 2016 is to get everyone using real-time human translation, from businesses that need to target new customers around the world through to students or expats who just need a little help to cross the language barrier in their everyday lives.
We have Nisha, an amazing designer, who did performance marketing. We have Dave, who comes from a fintech software engineering background. We have Adam, a mobile developer that Google almost snagged up. And then we have me, Zoltan. I specialize in corporate accounts and did corporate sales for many years, in addition to managing sales teams. As you can see, we have quite the diverse team and we work well together, which is why we’re the perfect team for the job.
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