#StartupLife co-founders Steven Liu and Louie Torrellas have already collected $1,040 (and counting!) towards their $10,000 campaign to create an affordable co-living space for start-ups in East Williamsburg. They’re certainly in the right neighborhood for such a collegiate project. McKibbin Lofts, just two blocks away, is so popular with artsy post-grads that it’s often referred to as a dorm. Okay fine, maybe it’s more like that “filthy hipster dorm,” but still.
Perhaps it was that underground ethos that prompted the two co-founders to eschew Kickstarter for their fund-raising campaign and instead opt to advertise on the more DIY-focused San Francisco-based IndieGoGo.
Although you can’t throw a Nexus S1 in parts of the city without hitting a coworking spaces, that still leaves future Dennis Crowleys and Kevin Ryans to fend for themselves after hours. Liu’s plan for a start-up alternative involves “lower-than-market rent, a close-knit start-up community, and a strong network of experienced mentors”–accessible from bunkbeds, private bedrooms, or suites in 20 separate apartment units. Bunkbeds go for under $300/month, but come with access to the courtyard and rooftop. “All you need is a suitcase and a dream.” (Oh, and at least $550/month if you don’t want to become too familiar with your co-founder’s sleepwear.)
The entire $10,000 will go to subsidizing the cost of rent for residents. At “certain contribution levels” donors are entitled to a week long stay in their own room or suite. Mr. Liu’s goal is to get sponsors to subsidize living expenses, provide subsidized legal and accounting services, and promote products from residents from the “media production room,” he set aside for marketing purposes. Ultimately, he wants to build a fund to finance the whole shebang.
We want to encourage people to pursue their real passions by removing distractions like worrying about rent, scrambling to find advocates and friends, figuring out legal and accounting structures, etc. Our thesis is that if entrepreneurs can focus on what they’re really good at, which is building a product that customers want, then we can improve the quality of startups in the NYC ecosystem.
Betabeat maintains that the pressure of making rent every month tends to inculcate a healthy practical streak. But we have to admit we’re intrigued, both by the concept and how $10,000 alone can subsidize the cost. Perhaps Mr. Liu learned some financial wizardry in the seven months he spent as an analyst at UBS before jumping ship to the lean side. He promised to tell us more after he got off “a conference call with City Hall,” (hmmm) so stay tuned.
There are currently 94 days left to raise funding for the campaign. In the meantime, whaddya say General Assembly, We Work Labs, Dogpatch Labs, etc., can we bring our toothbrush?