US-based co-working space Covo is also a bar and cafe, and it's got its eye on Melbourne

Covo co-working space. Photo: Richman Neumann via Covo.

Covo is the latest co-working business to crop up in San Francisco.

With an ambition to lower the barrier of entry into entrepreneurship and startups, Covo aims at creating a space that caters for workers of all age, sex, race and level of expertise.

And what better way to do it than to create a space which is somewhere between a cafe and a bar?

“When we decided to open Covo, we looked at co-working spaces around the world (including those we started) to get a sense of what members wanted out of their workplace,” Covo says.

“What we realised is that people want more than just a workplace – they want a seamless experience that reflects how they actually live their lives.”

And it even has aspirations to incorporate a gym, spa, full-service restaurants, and residences in future locations.

Covo co-working space. Photo: Richman Neumann via Covo.

Users sign up for a month-to-month membership plan that best suits what they need from the space and can choose from open seating, to a dedicated desk or a semi-private office.

And while it’s only new in the States, it’s already proving to be a success and is looking at expanding overseas – possibly into Australia.

“We’re building these ecosystems all around the world right now, the first one just launched and is already successful in month six,” Kalin Kelly, a partner at 357 Investments in Silicon Valley and early stage investor in Covo, said at Pause Fest last week.

While in Melbourne, Kelly is meeting with LaunchVIC, InvestVictoria and checking out the local co-working scene.

While there are already 153 co-working spaces in Melbourne from Hub Melbourne to Team Square, Inspire9 and Launchpad, Covo’s founders have a good track record of sniffing out what makes a good co-working space.

In fact, Covo is co-founder Rebecca Brian Pan’s 10th co-working business, having also launched NextSpace which she grew into an industry leading business ranked number one in the US in 2014.

Kelly said Australian entrepreneurs have told her they crave more resources.

“They lack community, they lack people around them providing them with success stories,” she said.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the hardest paths that you will ever take… but that being said, it is also one of the best most fulfilling paths you can take as a human being.”

“Effectively that’s what you’re trying to do with this bar, cafe, tap room.

“Anyone can walk in, anyone, any size or age, come on in.”

Here are three co-working must-haves in San Francisco that Kelly thinks Australian spaces could benefit from.

1. Resources

Having the connections to angel investors to get your company off the ground and get it funded is definitely something we have access to in San Francisco.

2. Design

The design of the space is vitally important. We need to balance our work life a lot better. That means not sitting down for eight hours a day… You need to have wellness and health incorporated into the space.

3. Fun

It’s not all serious. You can build a company and still have fun doing it. And you can be around really great people that make you laugh and take that edge off because entrepreneurs can suffer from mental health (problems) sometimes.

*The author traveled to Melbourne as a guest of Pause Fest 2017.

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