If you’re the kind of person who spends more time working at Starbucks than in your office (i.e., me), then you may be able to upgrade your work life with a new iPhone application called LiquidSpace.
The idea of finding an empty desk to work at isn’t new. We’ve seen the launch of a number of co-working offices in San Francisco and elsewhere recently, as well as ShareYourOffice, a marketplace for renting out empty workspaces. But LiquidSpace is less focused on creating long-term work arrangements and more focused on finding someplace to work right now — the company has compared itself to Airbnb, the service that helps travelers find empty couches and bedrooms.
One of the coolest things about the app is that it supports a variety of arrangements. They include private spaces, where a company only makes offices available to traveling employees or other approved guests; paid spaces, like a co-working office where you rent a desk for the day or the afternoon; and public spaces, like a Starbucks with WiFi. If you’re looking for a space, you can also specify exactly what you need: You might be happy as long as there’s a desk with free WiFi, or you might need a private conference room for three people.
The listings will come mostly from the facilities themselves (particularly in the case of private or paid spaces), but users can also add venue information and photos.
To help kick things off, LiquidSpace is also announcing a promotion next week where users who travel to the South by Southwest conference will be able to visit a number of “pop-up workspaces” in Austin locations like art galleries and coffee houses.
The LiquidSpace app is free, because the company plans to make money by taking a share of all the paid transactions. It has raised $1.3 million in funding from Greylock Partners and Floodgate.
Oh, and if you think the audience for the app is a bit limited, LiquidSpace has data showing the growing number of mobile workers, including an IDC study projecting that there will more than 110 million mobile workers in the United States alone this year (it uses a pretty broad definition of mobile worker).