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Loosecubes, a website that lets companies sublet empty office spaces by the day or week, launched new ranking features today aimed at gathering detailed review information from renters. That data will be used by the office-sharing startup to make its workplace listings more effective.
Renters can now review a space’s potential for productivity with categories such as noise and Wi-Fi strength. There are rankings for “coolness,” which include the overall vibe of the space and the neighborhood. A community category wants to know what your co-workers were like, and if there was a potential for networking. Loosecubes has also added Facebook comments to the profiles of particular spaces, and a feature that will show who the regulars are at a particular location.
“Through shared workspace we’ve seen a lot of really great relationships formed both personally and professionally, co-founder Anthony Marinos told VentureBeat. “Because the vibe is more open, sparks fly.” Marinos says creating community is just as important as helping businesses rent out excess space.
Services such as Getaround (rent out your car) and Airbnb (rent out your home) have helped popularize the idea of collaborative consumption, another term for sharing for profit. There are lots of things in our garages or closets we own but never use, and there’s a good chance someone nearby could use them. With smartphones and social networks it’s easier than ever to connect to a pool of people who can harness the idling capacity of all that stuff. And now office space is no different.
Loosecubes has more than 1,300 listings spread across 534 cities worldwide, and its inventory has increased by 150 percent in the last six months, according to Marinos. Loosecubes’ website now lists an inventory worth more than $50 million, co-founder and chief executive officer Campbell McKellar told VentureBeat. And in New York City, where the company is located, there are more Looscubes locations than Starbucks. Loosecubes recently surpassed rival Regus in the number of office locations it offers. Marinos says that the average number of weekly reservation requests has increased by 600 percent since April.
Loosecubes is ideal for businesses that have extra space and want to make money renting it out. It’s common for new startups to rent desk spaces from a larger company until they get funding, or until they hire more people and outgrow the situation. Generally these arrangements are formal and somewhat longterm. Loosecubes makes it possible for entrepreneurs to rent space only when they need it.
Perhaps best of all, Loosecubes has a sweet portfolio of well-known companies renting out spare office space. As hard as it may be to get your resume in front of the decision makers at today’s hot startups, with Loosecubes you can work alongside Silicon Valley stars such as HotelTonight, Task Rabbit and Rickshaw Bags in San Francisco. In New York, the roster of Loosecubes office spaces includes Weldbilt Studio and the DUMBO Spot, both of which are in Brooklyn.
To date, Loosecubes has raised $1.2 million from Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, and friends and family.