The future of co-working spaces isn’t shared offices with bespoke decor, it’s restaurants- at least according to Nick Jiang and Ray Choi. Together, they have founded Birdnest, a new company that pairs startups with workspaces in unused offices and restaurants at an affordable price.
Jiang’s inspiration for Birdnest came from his time working out of a series of cramped co-working spaces at an early-stage startup. Jiang says his seven-person team was paying nearly $US900 a month at a WeWork in downtown San Francisco, and that the steep membership fee was driving up the company’s overhead. In an effort to keep costs low, Jiang began to hunt for a workspace that was competitively priced.
But attempting to find a cheap office space in San Francisco’s punishing rental market was no easy feat. When Jiang passed by an empty restaurant on Market Street, inspiration hit: What if he could turn under-utilised spaces into makeshift offices for small companies? Jiang contacted the restaurant owner and asked if they wanted to make a passive income during the day when they were closed for business. The restaurant agreed, and soon, a small army of startup founders and entrepreneurs were filing through its doors.
If co-working spaces are the next evolution of the workplace, consider Birdnest to be a step further in the process of re envisioning future office environments. Jiang says that Birdnest benefits not only startups but restaurant owners who struggle to keep their doors open in a fiercely competitive market with razor-thin margins.
Check out Birdnest’s first location:
In lieu of desks, Birdnest provides table space, speedy wifi, and free coffee.
A monthly Birdnest membership costs roughly $US3 a day, or 80% of what a typical WeWork membership costs.
Birdnest aims to foster a community of entrepreneurs with monthly events and lectures.
The startup was recently picked up by Alchemist Accelerator and has plans to expand to more spaces in San Francisco within the next few months.
Not only does Birdnest provide a cheap office space for fledgling founders, but Jiang estimates that the company nets restaurants as much as 15% more of additional revenue.
In the future, Jiang hopes to expand the concept beyond restaurants into other spaces as well. “In the future, we hope to turn people’s homes into co-working spaces,” Jiang said in an interview with Business Insider. “Our vision is to turn any under-utilised space into a work space.”
To anyone balking at the idea of renting out a non traditional workspace, Jiang scoffs. “People need a space to work that isn’t inside their homes,” Jiang said. “We’re filling that white space.”