Room for One More: Finding Space to Start Up

Encore: June 27, 2012

Take a look inside the offices of a few of New York City’s hottest tech companies. SoHo is home to OMGPOP and the much smaller Harvest, an online service that tracks hours and creates invoices. The social media blogging site Tumblr, valued at more than $100 million, resides in the Flatiron district.

MetroFocus: The Tech Economy” took a look inside the offices of some of New York’s biggest tech companies. But what about the little guys?

Vimbly is an online service that allows users to search and book nearby activities such as tango lessons, martial arts or cooking classes. Sam Lundin, co-founder and CEO, says that he spent a lot of time considering what kind of space he needed before settling on the cubicle he rents for himself and his six employees at WeWork, a highly manicured office space a stone’s throw from the Empire State Building.

Sam Lundin sits at his desk in the glass-walled cube he shares with his six team members. They can't all fit in the room at once so they take turns coming into the office. MetroFocus/Daniel T. Allen

Walking down the hall to Vimbly’s cube serves as a preview into the variety of creative industries represented among WeWork’s members — all of the work spaces on WeWork’s seven floors have glass walls. In some cubes, tables are piled high with fabric swatches, in others, documentary film posters abound.  The open views and proximity may be the reason WeWork’s tag line is “a physical social network.”

Lundin, a former employee at Perry Capital, an $8 billion hedge fund, said that his experience talking to tech investors, angel funders and high-net-worth individuals was good preparation for launching his own start-up, which he’s been working at since late 2011.

According to Lundin, the space at WeWork costs his company about $2,000 each month. A brick-and-mortar space allowed for “maximal collaboration” without having to fully shoulder the cost of a private office. But it was the decor and other perks like a screening room and free movie passes that attracted Lundin to WeWork.

Each floor at WeWork is decorated using a different theme. The highly stylized interiors are part of what made Sam Lundin want to house his company there. MetroFocus/Daniel T. Allen

He chose WeWork over something like General Assembly, a Manhattan start-up incubator, because he wanted a space with amenities — which he says boost employee morale.

Lundin is hopeful that Vimbly can cash in on what he sees as a trend in the tech economy. “Previously opaque inventory is starting to come online,” Lundin said. He used ZocDoc as an example of a company that took a previously offline service — booking doctor’s appointments — and turned it into a multi-million dollar business.

But collaborative work spaces also have their drawbacks. As Lundin sat to be interviewed for this article in WeWork’s screening room, another WeWorker poked his head in through the door. “I have this room booked,” he said. “Really? I’m pretty sure I booked it for this time,” Lundin shot back. The man left and came back a few minutes later. Indeed, it was his for the hour.

The interview continued on a canary yellow couch by the elevators.

For more technology news, watch “MetroFocus: The Tech Economy,” airing on THIRTEEN on June 30 at 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and July 12 at 8:30 p.m.; on WLIW at 5:30 a.m. on June 30; on NJTV on July 1 at 5:30 a.m. and July 2 at 4:30 a.m.


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