Bay Area Coworking Spaces: The Xconomy Guide

2/10/11Follow @wroush

Building a company is hard enough—there’s no need to do it in lonely isolation.

That’s the realization hitting a growing number of tech entrepreneurs seeking desks at the coworking spaces scattered around San Francisco Bay. The appeal of these spaces goes well beyond the free coffee and the Internet access: proximity to other creative people is almost guaranteed to generate serendipitous collaborations, sales leads, or even employment offers.

“If you are launching a startup or have one that is just one or two people, you should really try to get into a coworking space,” New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote in a blog post surveying the coworking phenomenon last fall. “It can be more cost effective, but that is not the best reason to do it. You’ll get knowledge sharing, energy, and a lot of camaraderie. And you can’t put a price on those things when you are doing a startup.”

Yet despite all that goodness, there is, as far as I can tell, no complete list of coworking options in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Berkeley, Oakland, and environs. That’s why I’ve set out to compile the list below.

Part of the problem with cataloging coworking spaces is that they tend to come and go. Some lose their leases; some suffer management turmoil. One of the oldest and most famous coworking spots, San Francisco’s Hat Factory, disbanded last year after a management changeover. On top of that, technology is making it easier to work from home, and rents aren’t at a historic high right now, meaning it’s relatively easy for startups to find their own affordable spaces. So the economics for coworking spaces are unstable at best. One space in San Rafael, CA, Bzhive, opened in February 2010 and had shut its doors by April.

But at the same time, there seems to be a growing thirst for camaraderie among startup types and other creative professionals. There’s an effort underway to start a new coworking space in Palo Alto, there’s a whole wiki devoted to the worldwide coworking craze, and there’s even going to be a Coworking Unconference during the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX, next month.

The list below is as complete as I could make it after one day of research. I’m focusing here on spaces that seem friendly to tech startups, that have a strong community element, and that aren’t simply rental-office operations. I’m including venture incubators with competitive admissions, but only the ones that offer desk or office space.

FYI, we’ve also got lists of coworking spaces in Boston, Detroit, and San Diego. And if you just need to rent a desk, but aren’t necessarily interested in joining a formal coworking space, there’s a new online directory called ShareYourOffice; it’s been described by BusinessInsider as ChatRoulette or AirBnB for office space. In a recent search I found about 30 listings for the San Francisco Bay area.

Please help me correct, update, and add to this list by writing to wroush@xconomy.com.

[Updated 2/11/11 with an added listing for Studio G.]

[Updated 3/21/11 with an added listing for CO-Spot.]

[Updated 9/11/11 with a new listing for Hatchery.]

[Updated 11/20/11 with a new listing for Regus.]

[Updated 3/30/12 with a new listing for Studio Nine.]

[Updated 4/3/12 with a new listing for Comfy Chair.]

[Updated 8/2/12 with a new listing for Hanhei Investment Inc.]

[Updated 12/11/12 to correct the listing for Citizen Space.]

Berkeley Coworking

2930 Shattuck St., Suite 305, Berkeley

$400 per month for a permanent desk

Located near the Ashby BART station, Berkeley Coworking allows free drop-ins. The catch: it’s a little unpredictable whether the space will be open on any given day. To find out, follow them on Twitter.

Catalyst Collective Oakland

1901B Poplar St., Oakland

8:00 am – 6:00 pm weekdays

Probably the largest coworking space in the Bay Area—heck, make that the whole world—Catalyst Collective has nearly six acres under one roof on Oakland’s Mandela Parkway. “Sure you can shell out up to $450-$650″ for a desk at at San Francisco coworking space, the organization’s website says, but “here you get some real Oakland smack down value.” Catalyst Collective offers shared workspaces, private “pods,” and private offices. The groups says it plans to open additional locations in Berkeley, downtown Oakland, SoMa, and the Mission district.

Citizen Space

425 Second St., San Francisco

24/7 access for residents; 10:00 am – 6:00 pm for dropins

$25 to $425 per month

[Updated 12/11/12] A Co-founded by marketing guru Tara Hunt, BarCamp creator Chris Messina, and software engineer Brad Neuberg and recently rescued from shutdown by social media evangelist Toby Morning, Citizen Space was one of the birthplaces of the Bay Area coworking movement. It specializes in serving startups, software engineers, web developers, social media strategists, designers, writers, and consultants, and offers an open work space with communal tables and dedicated desks. There’s also a kitchen, a living room area, a phone booth, and a conference room. Costs range from $25/month for virtual mailbox service to $8/hour ($20/day) for drop-ins, all the way up to $425/month for a dedicated desk. Citizen Space also has a location on South 1st Street in San Jose, and a third location in Las Vegas is in the works.

Comfy Chair

735 Montgomery Street, Suite 120

9:00 am – 5:00 pm weekdays, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturdays

$60 to $600 per month

Comfy Chair says its target customers are “start-up companies that specialize in digital arts, animation, and game design.” Services include: “Open work space with over 16 work areas, flexible hours to fit your needs, mailing address, story area with white boards and bulletin boards, conference/meeting room; screen and projector to view projects, computers with fully licensed software for final production, spare monitors, printer/scanner, high speed internet/wi-fi, kitchenette with hot beverages, a fridge, sink, and microwave, fantastic location close to lots of food, shops, and drinks, events to enable networking.”

CO-Spot

350 Townsend Street, Suite 210, San Francisco

8:00 am – 6:00 pm weekdays

$275-$375 per month

CO-Spot is a brand new coworking space just steps from the Caltrain terminal. It’s go co-working desk space for itinerant workers and dedicated desks for folks who want something more permanent. All spaces come with Internet, printing and copying, mail services, an on-site receptionist, and access to conference, lounge, and kitchen areas. Plus free coffee, tea, and baked goods!

Dogpatch Labs

Pier 38, The Embarcadero, San Francisco

Waltham, MA-based Polaris Ventures opened the first Dogpatch Labs location at Pier 38 on the Embarcadero in 2008 (and Xconomy’s Bob Buderi visited in 2009). Described as “frat houses for geeks,” the spaces offer “desk space, bandwidth, coffee and … Next Page »

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • Bob Crimmins

    Thanks, Wade; great resource. Is there a similar effort in the works for Seattle, Boston, New York, SoCal, Houston, Michigan, etc.? Here’s a theory for you: incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, etc. are both a leading indicator of regional startup growth trends and a meaningful predictor of the longer-term growth potential.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/wroush/ Wade Roush

    @Bob Crimmins: Thanks for your comment, and I agree with your theory.

    In fact, we do have similar lists for Boston, Southeast Michigan, and San Diego. They’re part of the resource guides we call “X Lists.” Unfortunately, we haven’t had time to compile full X List guides for San Francisco or Seattle, but today’s piece is a start for the Bay Area.

    Boston: http://www.xconomy.com/boston/resources/technology-co-working-spaces/

    Detroit: http://www.xconomy.com/detroit/resources/technology-co-working-spaces/

    San Diego: http://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/resources/technology-co-working-spaces/

  • https://www.SharedBusinessSpace.com Julie Clark

    A few other great coworking space options are:

    Sandbox Suites – in SF and Berkeley

    NextSpace – in SF and Santa Cruz

    Rocket-Space is a newly opened space in SF

    I think Citizen Space is closing – check with them.

    These are all listed on https://www.SharedBusinessSpace.com which is a national listing directory of business-to-business shared offices and coworking spaces for rent. Businesses with unused offices, workstations or desk space list their extra space on this site. Others seeking a shared space with a complementary business can search the database for free.

  • http://AltamontCowork.com AltamontCowork

    Just a bit further east (where most of your commuters come from) is AltamontCowork in Tracy, CA. :-)

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  • http://www.parisoma.com Stephanie Ng

    Great list – though I noticed pariSoma is missing ;) pariSoma is a great space located in the SOMA district of the city and they’re offering a sale on March: sign up for 3 months and March is free! (www.parisoma.com)

    Another great resource is http://www.shareyouroffice.com where you can browse/list available office space or desks completely free!

  • http://www.co-spot.com Joanna Portllo

    I have another addition to this amazing list: CO-Spot http://co-spot.com/index.html. We’re a new space in SOMA, right across the street from both Caltrain and Muni Train stations.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/wroush/ Wade Roush

    @Stephanie – No, I think pariSoma was on the list from the beginning.

    @Joanna – Thanks, I’m adding CO-Spot to the list now.

    @AltamontCowork – That’s pretty far east! Do people think of Altamont as part of the Bay Area?

  • http://bluedoorlab.com Gina Lujan

    Hi!
    We just opened a small co-working space in Berkeley. Check us out at http://bluedoorlab.com We are located at 2946 Martin Luther King Way Berkeley.. We are on the corner of Ashby and MLK.. Across from Bart and right in front of a bus stop.

    Check us out.. We are new and small!

    Thanks!
    Gina
    Blue Door Lab

  • http://www.parisoma.com Stephanie

    @ Wade – hmm listed on this blog post/list? Can’t seem to find it!

    @ Gina – be sure to list your new space on http://www.shareyouroffice.com to let others know about your space! And congrats on the new space!

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/wroush/ Wade Roush

    As a supplement to this article, here is a new list of Bay Area co-working spaces that belong to a network administered by Liquid Space (http://liquidspace.com/), which allows workers to make real-time workspace reservations at a variety of co-working locations.

    Pacific Business Centers – Oakland
    1300 Clay St. Ste. 600, Oakland, CA 94612, US

    Turf
    720 Market Street Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94102, US

    RocketSpace San Francisco
    181 Fremont St , San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    Hedge Fund Services
    1 Bush Street, Suite 1200 , San Francisco, CA 94104, US

    One Workplace – Oakland
    7220 Edgewater Drive , Oakland, CA 94621, US

    Carr Workplaces Embarcadero Center
    4 Embarcadero Center Suite 1400, San Francisco, CA 94111, US

    NextSpace Coworking – San Francisco
    28 2nd St 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    Sandbox Suites Berkeley
    1900 Addison St. #200 , Berkeley, CA 94704

    CO-Spot
    350 Townsend Street Suite 210, San Francisco, CA 94107, US

    Pacific Business Centers – San Francisco
    201 Spear Street Suite 1100, San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    A Great Space to Work
    San Francisco Seaplane Tours , San Francisco, CA 94133-1006

    PariSoma
    169 11th Street , San Francisco, CA 94103, US

    City Square at Oakland City Center
    555 12th St , Oakland, CA 94607

    Blue Door Lab
    2946 Martin Luther King Jr Way , Berkeley, CA 94703, US

    Tech Liminal
    268 14th St , Oakland, CA 94612, US

    101 2nd Street
    101 2nd St , San Francisco, CA 94105

    KPMG Building
    KPMG Building 55 2nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

    Regent Business Centers – 315 Montgom…
    315 Montgomery Street 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104, US

    Kensington Park
    450 Post Street , San Francisco, CA 94102, US

    343 Sansome
    343 Sansome , San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    58 2nd Street
    58 2nd St 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    CBS Interactive Building
    235 2nd Street , San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    Executive Hotel Vintage Court
    650 Bush Street , San Francisco, CA 94108

    Sandbox Suites SOMA
    123 10th St , San Francisco, CA 94103

    Sandbox Suites Union Square
    567 Sutter St , San Francisco, CA 94102, US

    Rocketspace-Mobile Work Week!
    181 Fremont St , San Francisco, CA 94105, US

    Sir Francis Drake Hotel
    450 Powell St , San Francisco, CA 94102

    Hatchery SF
    625 2nd St, Suite 200 , San Francisco, CA 94107, US

    Millwood Inn & Suites
    1375 El Camino Real , Millbrae, CA 94030, US

    SFO Business Centers
    900 Cherry Ave. Suite 300, San Bruno, CA 94066, US

    Larkspur Hotel Mill Valley
    160 Shoreline Highway , Mill Valley, CA 94941, US

    Pacific Business Centers – Cupertino
    19925 Stevens Creek Blvd, Suite 100 , Cupertino, CA 95014, US

    Rockefeller Group Business Centers – SJ
    560 S Winchester Blvd Suite 500, San Jose, CA 95128, US

    NextSpace Coworking – San Jose
    97 South 2nd St #100 , San Jose, CA 95113, US

    Pacific Business Centers – Sunnyvale
    1250 Oakmead Parkway Suite 210, Sunnyvale, CA 94085, US

    Pacific Business Centers – San Jose
    111 No. Market Street, Suite 300 , San Jose, CA 95113, US

    McCarthy Business Center
    1525 McCarthy Blvd Suite 1000, Milpitas, CA 95035

    One Workplace – Milpitas
    1057 Montague Expy , Milpitas, CA 95035, US

    Holiday Inn Express & Suites Town Center
    93 W El Camino Real , Mountain View, CA 94040, US

    Hotel Zico
    200 E El Camino Real , Mountain View, CA 94040, US

    Irish Innovation Center
    189 W Santa Clara St , San Jose, CA 95113, US

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  • Milan@Critosphere

    http://www.critosphere.com/ Is a new co-working space in Fremont. Any way this can be included?

    Thanks!

  • Michelle Knoop

    Thanks for this list. Does anyone know of any shared work spaces around Novato or San Rafael in Marin County, California?
    Thanks for any tips!