Interest in coworking surges, attracting new players

coworking going mainstream

Coworking has long been popular in the tech community and as a topic on WebWorkerDaily, but it seems the idea if finally breaking out of its niche beginning and going mainstream. The proof? A lengthy article in the staid Wall Street Journal  this week.

Claiming that the coworking idea is starting to attract mainstream attention, the paper lists several facts in support of its claim:

  • Increased interest from investors in coworking spaces. New York’s General Assembly raised $4.25 million from Yuri Milner of DST Global, and online marketplace for office sharing, Loosecubes, raised $1.23 million last year.
  • “Creative” space beats traditional office space in some markets. “The total vacancy for a ‘creative’ space with open floor plans ideal for co-working was 2.54 percent in San Francisco in July, and the asking rent ranged from $32 to $53 per square foot per year. Meanwhile, more ‘historical’ spaces with closed-door offices that lack open space had a total vacancy of 10.55 percent, while the asking rent ranged from $21 to $36 per square foot per year, according to commercial listing broker The CAC Group,” says the WSJ.
  • Office space owners are remodeling to take advantage of the trend.  Again the WSJ uses San Francisco as an example: “A building at 115 Sansome St., in downtown San Francisco, started remodeling for a more flexible layout to appeal to high-tech start-ups.”
  • Money men are taking note. It’s not just techies and creatives at coworking spaces these days, according to the WSJ. Investors are cruising the spaces for their next big money spinner. “At Plug and Play, angel investors, including Sand Hill Angels, Band of Angels and The Angels’ Forum, typically visit every Monday afternoon to review the business plans of start-ups. More established venture capitalists including Sequoia, Menlo Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, typically drop by every other month.”

Do you agree with the WSJ that coworking is at a tipping point and about to go more mainstream? And is that good news or bad for the movement?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Charleston’s TheDigitel.

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