Thanks to technology, working remotely no longer has to be all pajamas and couches, and Campbell Mckellar, founder of Loosecubes, is cashing in on that.
Mckellar’s story is one that many office-going professionals can sympathize with. She was laid off from her real estate firm in 2008 but managed to convince her boss to let her work remotely, at half her previous salary. Working remotely from Maine, she realized she was being just as productive. While enjoying the beautiful Maine scenery, she became aware of the potential of all the different empty places worldwide and with that awareness came the idea to try and bring them all together. Thus, Loosecubes was born - an Airbnb-style community marketplace for workspace.
The company runs on the belief that, though many people make the daily trudge to the office, many can still do their jobs while working remotely, be it from home, from the road, or from the local library or coffee shop. Loosecubes is for those in-betweeners who don’t like being holed up in a traditional office space but would still welcome a quiet space to get stuff done where they can meet new people who share similar interests or professions.
The Loosecubes office, pictured below, is based in Brooklyn, NYC and enables hosts, or those with office space to rent and share, to post office space for free and to invite coworkers or friends to come share the office space. Hosts get to choose which type of professionals they’d like to host - entrepreneurs, developers, investors, and so on - as well as including pictures of the office space and location, among other features.
For those just looking for a place to hang out for a few days (or weeks, or months), there’s a search feature through which users can find a space by city, address, or zip code. Once users find a space they’re interested in, they can message the host and work out the terms on their own.
In terms of pricing, invited Loosecubes members can receive special deals on a space when they’re invited and can even pay online for spaces they rent. The startup charges a 10% transaction fee, because, even though they’re backed by Accel and Battery Ventures for $1.23 million, they would still like to make a profit. For the first 60 days, however, Loosecubes will be waiving that 10% transaction, so if you want to avoid the surcharges, sign up now.
The site currently offers spaces in corners of the world as far-reaching as the Caribbean, collaborative workspace in the Philippines, hip spaces in Berlin, trendy spots in London, even small American towns like Ft. Collins, CO.
Loosecubes offers, at least superficially, a similar service to Liquidspace and DeskWanted. But Loosecubes takes a far more social, or person-to-person, approach to finding shared office space. Rather than acting the middleman, Loosecubes enables hosts and potential customers to get in touch with each other. It then gets out of the way, encouraging communication beyond just negotiation for the space. Loosecubes also recently released Instant Jelly, an app which allows conference-goers to create spontaneous coworking events with people of similar professions.
Keep an eye out for “Loosecubes 2.0”, unveiled next month with a new design and better search function that includes a feature to better match people with their professions. It also includes a “Recommended Spaces” function, in which the startup will tap into your social graph (via Facebook Connect) to recommend office space based on your friends, location, and line of work.