Rose-Colored Glasses Warby Parker just released its annual report for 2012, and it’s a pretty fun slideshow to click through. The glasses empire now has 113 full-time employes and 42 part-time employees. Of those bespectacled folks, 108 have company-sponsored gym memberships. In other Warby Parker health news, 2,507 pounds of salad were eaten in the office this year. Although there are not too many exact sales figures in the package (besides the fact that 296 monocles were sold this year) a diagram on the last page shows that sales from the first quarter of the year to the last one have nearly tripled. Warby Parker says it gave out 250,000 pairs of glasses this year, some of which went to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Cowork With Me?
Shai Goldman, a venture partner at 500 Startups, recently announced another sign of the seed stage fund’s growing interest in New York City–besides poaching a Silicon Alley stalwart like Mr. Goldman, of course. This February, the firm plans on opening a coworking office at 28th Street and Park Avenue in the Flatiron, not far from General Assembly.
500 Startups is known for its global focus. The only physical space the firm had up until New York was a corporate office in Mountain View, “which is where we run our accelerator throughout the year,” Mr. Goldman told Betabeat by phone. But 500 Startups opted for a different route here.
Yesterday’s news about Loosecubes closing caught the New York tech scene by surprise. The company, one of the early movers in shared office space, just raised $7.8 million in venture funding back in June. They’d been a little quiet in recent months, and the coworking business is a competitive one, but no one figured Loosecubes was on the fast track to the deadpool. It was the kind of company that even non-techies easily understood and appreciated.
So the sudden shutdown, besides bumming out fans, left two nagging questions: What went wrong? And where did all that venture capital go? When we called, Loosecubes’ office number had already been disconnected. An email to their press team returned only a canned response from cofounder Anna Thomas:
After the Storm
As New Yorkers stumble northward in search of working outlets, the whole city is seeing spontaneous outbreaks of cooperation. After perusing social media feeds, we feel safe declaring this the week that everyone learned to cowork: one guy shows up with an extension cord outside of a Starbucks, and everyone clusters around politely to get their mobile devices working again. And then, with their newly juiced devices, they’re taking pictures of their setups.
And so behold, disaster porn’s geekier cousin.
Cowork With Me?
The latest neighborhood trying to make a coworking space happen? It’s the former home of Archie Bunker, i.e. Astoria. The Daily News reports that three locals are shopping around for a space.
Maybe they can cut a deal with the beer garden?
At the moment, Astoria is a little lacking in public spaces for laptop luggers. There’s Astor Bake Shop, a couple of Starbucks outposts, and the ironically named Brooklyn Bagel, but there’s really nowhere to squat if you prefer to work away from caloric temptation.
Summer love Do you ever find yourself wishing that couples therapy was cheaper? Well, here’s an app that claims to be just as effective, and for only $7.95 a month (limited time only). Couplewise combines digital interactive versions to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and research from leading cognitive behavioral therapists as well as crowdsourcing the wisdom of other couples “who have been there.” The company claims that 79 percent of their beta users say that their relationship has improved as a result of the app, and none say it has worsened—what are you waiting for?
Attention freelancers Coworking has come to Bushwick with Bat Haus, a new community office space open to freelancers of all disciplines. The space opened last month and has apparently been hosting art groups, writing meetups and fashion shoots. If its sunny decor doesn’t seal the deal, they also have a backyard with a grill and potlucks for members. Full time membership is $275 a month, part-time $175, and it’s $15 for a day pass.
Cowork With Me?
On a muggy evening earlier this week, Betabeat made the short, sweaty walk down to AlleyNYC, a new 16,000 square foot coworking space at 500 Seventh Avenue and 37th Street. We had some inkling we might be onto the next big coworking hub when an entrepreneur on the elevator ride up to the 17th floor said he felt obligated to drop by because he heard about the space twice in one week.
Even after hours, the place was still humming with activity. The mats in the yoga room were unoccupied, but members milled about the lounge, worked heads down in one of the spacious main rooms or huddled with cofounders in the 24 private offices, which are already at capacity even though the space just opened in August. A new platform for entrepreneurs called SocialChange.is was setting up a demo and with bowls of pretzels and other snacks laid out for the event.
The vibe was remarkably congenial; high-fives, daps, and backslaps abounded.
We knew Dumbo’s vacancy rates were low, but we hadn’t realized they were this low. The Wall Street Journal reports that yesterday Dumbo techies gathered at an unusual outdoor watering hole: Underneath the Manhattan Bridge.
Perhaps the roar of the traffic overhead provides a kind of natural white noise?
Office-sharing startup Loosecubes organized the event, Read More
Back in February, Betabeat introduced you to The Yard, a freshly-opened coworking space in Williamsburg that we minted the “General Assembly of Brooklyn.” Turns out we’re psychic, because today The Yard announced that–just like its Manhattan competitor, GA–it will be offering continuing education courses in subjects like programming and biz dev, beginning this fall. All at “Brooklyn prices,” no less!
“We really want to cultivate a culture here that is cutting edge and innovative and collaborative,” Andy Smith, The Yard’s PR and curriculum coordinator, told Betabeat by phone. “It seems like now that we’re at a point where we are full, we can sort of branch out and extend our efforts to other aspects to cultivate that culture. Educational initiatives seemed like the next natural step.”
Cowork With Me?
Others have tried and failed to make a coworking space grow in Williamsburg. (The Makery is dead! Long live, Bnter’s new office!) But “real estate professionals” and born-and-raised Brooklynites Morris Levy and Richard Beyda may have the home-court advantage. The duo opened The Yard, a 14,000 square foot coworking space, in November and are already at 65 percent capacity.
A number of tech companies, including Hype Machine, Wanderfly, Mobile Roadie and Uber are already working out of the space, as well as a few startups still in splash page mode, like Gander TV and Spotflux. Somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of The Yard‘s residents are techies, although that wasn’t exactly the owners’ intention. “We knew there was a need in Williamsburg/Greenpoint for something like this, but we didn’t realize the tech scene was happening here and that that was the direction it was going to go,” Mr. Levy told Betabeat by phone.
Now that the startup syngery is under way, however, The Yard has been “planning strategic alliances” with angel investors whose portfolio companies might be interested in working there. For example, Mr. Levy said he’s currently in talks with Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder and First Round Capital alum Charlie O’Donnell, who launched a Kings County-centric seed fund last month.