PivotDesk Expands to Help NYC, SF Startups Solve Real Estate Needs
When building a company, entrepreneurs have enough challenges, like perfecting their product and finding customers. Playing the guessing game about how much office space they need shouldn’t have to be one of them.
That’s what David Mandell, co-founder and CEO of PivotDesk, thinks. The Boulder, CO.-based company and TechStars Boulder 2012 alum has created an online marketplace that helps early stage startups find the right location while helping larger startups fill their extra space.
Startups that have hit their growth stage often have to find offices larger than they need, Mandell said. That means paying for space that could sit empty for months or years, especially if they’ve signed the long-term lease most landlords require.
Meanwhile, startups just getting off the ground outgrow coffee shops but aren’t ready for a big rent bill or long-term commitment. PivotDesk connects the companies through its website and helps them put together monthly deals based on the number of employees the smaller company is locating at their new space.
PivotDesk lets the “hosts” set the fees and takes a 10 percent cut for its services.
PivotDesk has gained traction in Boulder and Denver since launching in 2012, with well over 200 companies using its services, Mandell said. It has raised more than $3 million from investors, including the Foundry Group, and angel investors, including David Cohen. Last week, PivotDesk launched in New York and San Francisco.
The new cities are huge markets with a lot of companies that are ideal candidates for PivotDesk, and if the company is going to make good on its potential, it has to succeed there, Mandell said.
“It was pretty important we get out there as quickly as we could,” he said.
Mandell is happy with the very early results in the two cities, but he declined to say how many users he had there.
PivotDesk now has 12 full-time employees and is working hard to build up its presence in all its markets, Mandell said. It has been at work for a while, quietly finding companies that have space available in both new markets.
“We’re only valuable if we have inventory for people to choose from,” Mandell said.
Mandell believes one of PivotDesk’s strengths is it does more than provide listings. It also plays matchmaker, giving hosts and guests the information they need to see if they’ll be a good fit, because no one wants an incompatible roommate.
“That’s one of the biggest barriers for using PivotDesk, because it’s not a common thing to share an office with another company,” Mandell said.
PivotDesk also helps the companies establish the ground rules up front and handles billing, potentially sparing some awkward conversations. Ideally, the companies add something to each other’s cultures.
“This is not really about real estate, it’s about … Next Page »