Tag Archives: coworking

Startup Mansions – Thinking outside the box in San Francisco’s hot apartment rental market

Ever heard of co-working? Well, this takes co-habitating a new meaning. With San Francisco’s tight housing marketing, residents are starting to think outside of the box and revolutionize an old idea of co-habitating. The demand for 1-2-3 bedroom apartments are extremely competitive currently, but demand for 10 bedroom mansions, not in this economy. There are a handful of mansions housing tech startups around the city and bay area.

Here’s a renovated Victorian mansion across from Alamo Square houses 10 startups under one roof. I was lucky enough to get a tour from one of the occupants. They have a Great Room furnished with kitchy retro decor where all the walls is a giant chalkboard motivation board. Their living room was designed to house a bullpin of computer stations the call the “War Room.” The use of dry-erase paint on the walls make it easy for the ad-hoc meetings that occur many times a day. The house also has a music room, ping pong, billard table, community kitchen, bunk beds to pile in the bootstrappers, large deck facing Alamo Square. Some bedrooms have private baths, whereas some are shared.

Sure its the “Real World” tech style, but it goes beyond convenience. The benefits of these arrangements is intangible yet significant.  The increased productivity gained, forged friendships, partnerships formed, synergy of share resources, network and peer feedback makes this simply priceless. These occupants are selected by the company that holds the lease, thus holds the risk, but this gives the most flexibility in terms of lease terms, especially for the international entrepreneur where it’s more difficult to get a lease or sub-lease. There are several mansions like this already and the company that has the lease to this mansion is planning to expand operations. Check www.airbnb.com for some options.

Startup Incubator & awesome neighborhood cafe in the Mission

780 Cafe – I/O Ventures
780 Valencia St
(between 19th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission
(415) 552-2040

Great little spot in the mission where I have visited a few of my startup founder friends from time to time. Upstairs is the incubator portion where the selected tech founders in the I/O Ventures incubator group works. Downstairs/Street level is the cafe where anyone could come, sit, enjoy the cafe while hashing out their plan on becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. The decor is hip, lofty, modern, urban. The noise level makes it hard-to-focus but other than that it has great ambiance for a meeting over coffee or lunch. This spot is highly recommended for the visiting entrepreneur for sure.

Tip #1 – The cucumber basil lemonade is so refreshing I ordered 3.
Tip #2 – Monthly on certain Sundays there is a local street fair on Valencia right outside of the cafe.
Tip #3 – Not too far from the BART.

Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

“Located in the heart of the Mission District, 780 Café is quickly becoming the brightest new cyber incubator café on Valencia Street. The spacious, modern architecture is ideal for a Blue Bottle Coffee in the morning, business meeting in the afternoon, or charismatic event for the evening. In our lounge, you will be amongst i/o Venture start-up companies and be able to mingle with some of the tech industries finest. Formerly “The Summit”, 780 Café opened in late February of 2012 by owner Jose Ramos and his family. Moving into a new direction with optimism and New York City bred taste, Ramos plans to make this site flourish with social activities and memories for all of San Francisco. Click and discover more about this multifaceted cyber incubator locale.” http://www.780cafe.com/

Co-working – NextSpace & Sandbox Suites

NextSpace-SF

  • Location:
    •  In the heart of downtown SOMA financial district. Conveniently located near the BART & public transportation. This space has 2 levels on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
  • Ambiance:
    • Well decorated capturing the tech start-up feel with their open space plan, brick walls, primary colored walls mixed with neutrals, bright furniture & cool art
    • Hotdesking – shared desks and tables so you could work just about anywhere.
    • Comfy couches to lounge or work
    • Windows bringing in natural light to help energize members
    • Not too crowded and not too quite. Perfect place to work if you like hearing others around you. Not the best if you want a quite space to yourself. Small offices would be ok for that.
  • Great for networking:
    • Other founders and startups work there and the vibe is good, you could chat with other without feeling like you are in a library.
    • On Fridays at 4:45 pm they start their Member’s Happy Hour which are sometimes sponsored by local companies.
      • I was there when Tropo sponsored the beers and brought in reps to chat it up with members.
    • Conference rooms hold events that are free for members to attend.
      • I was there to attend a Brown Bag Lunch: Attract More Clients Now! by Coach from Clarity Unlimited
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day when you come for a tour
    • They have cubbies to stash your stuff
    • Office Manager was very nice and provided a Mac power cable when I forgot to pack mine.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.
    • Members could use any other their other locations as well as the
    • They are members of a collaborative union…so members could use other Coworking spaces they are affiliated with.

 

Sandbox Suites:

I checked out 3 of their 4 locations. 

Union Square @ 567 Sutter

  • Location:Union Sqare
    • They had limited availability and had some opening up.
    • Conveniently located near everything.
  • Ambiance:
    • First thing that struck me was how quiet it was, especially being in Union Square. Great for those who want to quiet space to think and work.
    • Open space plan using bright colors, some accents and art.
    • Private offices have windows and general area has skylights bringing in lots of natural light.
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general hotdesking are in the open but the members are very quiet and network a bit less than other Coworking establishments.
  • Networking:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • They do hold Member Tea and events in the open “Atrium” there so there are chances to network.
  • Tips:
    • As a member, you could use and attend events at any of their 4 locations
    • Near a tons budget eateries, restaurants & bars.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget…when they become available.

  SOMA/SOUTH PARK @ 404 Bryant St

  • Location:
    • SOMA/South Beach/South Park near a many other Tech companies…where all the action is.
    • Near freeways and public parking. Bit of a walk from nearest Muni lines-Less convenient to public transportation
    • In the Basement – some windows provide light into the space, private offices which have glass walls bringing in the natural light to the general area.
  • Ambiance:
    • Open space plan using Modern & Minimal Mondrian-inspired decor-stark whites with bright primary colors
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general desks are in the open, generally lit using florescent lighting. Has a library feel to it.
    • Great productive space, members are quiet and network a bit less than other Coworking establishments
  • Great for networking:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • Open “Atrium” was used as an event space – members attend free.
    • I was there for a Funders & Founders Meetup event – “Crowdfunding Your Startup – The Future of Startup Funding” where they brought in relevant speakers and 75+ people in the startup/tech industry attended.
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • Office Manager Laura was very friendly and helpful.
    • Not near very many budget eateries like in downtown, however, it is near nice restaurants & bars.
    • South Park is a great place to take a break or eat at a nice restaurant.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.
    • My favorite of the 3 Sandbox suites visited.

SOMA @ 123 10th Street

  • Location:
    • SOMA convenient to the BART & Muni lines, near Civic Center.
  • Ambiance:
    • Kitchy – College decor using off-white walls and brightly colored Ikea furniture & accessories.
    • Loft upstairs allows the space to have a more open feel.
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general desks downstairs, generally lit using florescent lighting.
    • Private desks and conference rooms upstairs – lack of natural lighting is a bit oppressive.
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day when you come for a tour
    • They have cubies to stash your stuff
    • As a member, you could use and attend events at any of their 4 locations
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.