July 7, 2012
Tired of getting the boot from your local coffee shop for hogging their Wifi? A Chicago-based startup looks to assist your search for a desk, while also giving shared workspaces the ability to manage their space.
Sam Rosen, the founding partner of Desktime, was inspired to create a coworking space in Chicago after spending time in Brooklyn a few years ago. At the time, his girlfriend’s “dirty” apartment lacked the only resources he needed: decent cell phone service and Internet. After banishment from a few coffee shops, Rosen discovered The Change You Want to See, a coworking space in Brooklyn. “The space was not for profit, there was a suggested donation and only two rules: be respectful, and don’t download porn,” he recalls. Armed with inspiration, he went back to Chicago thinking, “I’ll do this in Chicago, no one else is doing it.”
Rosen’s design business had been operating out of his apartment, but as the business grew he decided to move out and use the extra space for coworking. The apartment building was a former chicken processing building, so the name The Coop was a natural fit.
Originally, The Coop’s biggest challenge was getting people in the door. But as word spread about the space, that was no longer an issue. “With permanent and flexible memberships and people stopping in, the day-to-day management of the space became an issue,” Rosen says. Inspiration struck again: this time to build a software solution to manage shared workspaces. That led to Desktime.
Desktime follows the lead of other recent startups like Loosecubes. In Chicago alone, there is over a half billion square feet of commercial space, with as much as 15 percent unused at any time. Desktime’s objective is to fill that space, targeting businesses that have recently downsized, are looking to grow, or simply have unused desks and conference rooms.
The directory portion of Desktime is already live at DesktimeApp.com, with over 350 spaces in 20 countries listed. The management software is in beta, and Rosen says there has been enormous interest already. 1871, a new nonprofit, 400-person shared space and technology center in Chicago, was Desktime’s first client when they opened their doors in April.
Desktime will be live by the end of the summer, with the goal of filling your empty space, or finding you a professional spot to work (that doesn’t smell like cat litter).
Guest author Max Crowley spends his days (and nights) as the Community Manager for Uber in Chicago. He’s active in the growing technology and entrepreneurial community of Chicago, and is always down to chat business. Follow Max on Twitter: @MaxJCrowley.
Photo credit: Mike Schwartz
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