At Workville, as you may know, we’re all about face-to-face experiences: helping each other in real time, in real life, right here in the heart of New York City. We love our community and we truly believe the startups working with us in our office space are the best startups in NYC.
Our office space and coworking space in Manhattan is pretty nice, if we may say so ourselves, but it’s the people and companies working here that make it such a great place to spend our time.
That said, it’s nice to have a digital community to engage across social media. And today, we’re proud to say we’ve reached over 1,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram! Thank you! Thanks to everyone, both IRL and online!
Yes, it’s true! As reported in The Real Deal, Workville has taken over the previous Grind office space on the 22nd floor of 1412 Broadway where it will expand to offer office space and coworking memberships tailored for larger teams and growing startups.
This new Midtown Manhattan office space will add 14,000 square feet across the full 22nd floor, bringing Workville’s total in the building to 28,000 square feet.
The Real Deal reports: “Notably, the startup is replacing a competing shared-office space company, Grind, which closed the location and gave the space back to the landlords earlier this year, with several years remaining on the lease. Sources had said at the time that Grind butted heads with Chetrit and Workville, in which Aini is an investor.”
Furthermore, WorkBetter is closing its 21,000-square-foot space at 1440 Broadway after 10 years.
Workville’s Co-Founder, DJ Dashti said the recent string of closures of co-working locations is a “natural correction.”
At Workville we are extremely excited about the future uses of virtual reality and augmented reality. There’s so much potential! And one company on the forefront of this new technology is Workville’s own Lampix. Lampix transforms any surface into a smart surface.
Recently, we chatted with Lampix CEO, George Popescu, about the future of this incredible technology and how companies like his are leading the VR/AR revolution.
Having just launched a year and a half ago, the whole concept was to make something that would allow someone to work with paper and surfaces the same way that we work with electronic documents. “My co-founder just imagined it,” George Popescu says. “He gave a talk at TEDx about User Interfaces of the future and built Lampix.”
Last March, Lampix won the 2017 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Competition for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
Of course, they quickly realized there was so much more to this product. “I engaged with Mihai Dumitrescu, our CTO and our other co-founder early, before he had a fully working Lampix,” Popescu says. “So we built it together. My role is the business side.”
Popescu, is Romanian, raised in France, and now living in NYC. Having such a worldview of business and entrepreneurship is extremely valuable. “Romania is very dynamic and entrepreneurs are very innovative and imaginative, also very technical which means they create real value,” he says. “But they are struggling with resources of all types. But it’s improving fast. France is also very dynamic. The problem there is the mentality, people see obstacles and people are risk-averse. The United States has no comparison in the entire world. People like taking risks and trying to win big. That is the main component in entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurs are also taken seriously.”
With three Master’s Degrees, Popescu isn’t exactly an example of a this often celebrated avatar of the self-taught, lean entrepreneur. He truly believes in formal education. “I think it’s more and more necessary,” he says. “It gives you a base of knowledge and a a core piece that is necessary no matter what you do. You hardly use what you learn in college but that’s not the point. You had to learn how to read, yes? Same thing, if you don’t know basics about anything it’s like not knowing how to read.”
And certainly VR/AR will disrupt and improve the educational experience, among other industries. “Entertainment, training, shopping, collaboration…” Popescu says. “I think VR is for isolated experiences in your basement. I think AR is for experiences in your living room, dining, room, kitchen , shops, factories, everywhere.”
As the CEO of a tech startup, working at NYC’s Workville coworking space in midtown Manhattan, what does it take to get off the ground and up and running?
“Find a customer first,” Popescu says. “Someone who is ready to pay for your product or service. If they are not willing to pay, they don’t need it. And while it’s nice to try to guess what they can pay for, that is not enough. You need to have in hand an email or paper that says ‘If you have that, I’ll buy it for X.’”
Lampix certainly has proven they have that product. And they continue to explore its versatility from their office space at Workville NYC. “I like the location and the relaxed attitude of the Workville team: can do, will do, easy, and no pressure,” Popescu says. “Other companies like WeWork have a pressure sales attitude that turned me off.”
If he’s not in the office fielding inquiries and developing partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, you may find him at Lan Sheng on 36th Street. It seems that many Workville coworking and startup members enjoy Lan Sheng!
According to Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Lodging Technology Study, titled “Frictionless Hotels: Enabling the Omni-Experience,” hotels are spending as much as 6 percent of total revenue on technology. The study also reported that 57% of hotels planned to spend more on technology this year than they did in 2016, while 42% planned to spend about the same and just 2% said they would decrease their IT spending.
This is great news for companies like Intelity Corporation, which creates technology products for hotels, including companies like the Four Seasons, Loews, Conrad and Pacific Hospitality Group.
Marriott was among the early technology adopters, having introduced an app in early 2012 that offered the ability to book a hotel room. Since then, the company has added features that allow guests to use the app to check in and check out; receive an alert when a room is ready; make requests of the hotel staff; and, in at least 500 locations, to unlock a room.
According to Bjorn Hanson, a professor of hospitality and tourism at the Tisch Center of New York University, Hotel occupancy rates in the United States are at 65.5 percent, the highest since 1984.
And this is all in competition with companies like Airbnb. It’s with tech that hotels can compete, and hospitality companies are focusing on tech in five key areas: Energy Efficiency, Smart Screens, Social Media Influence, Location-Based Services, and Mobile Function. It’s not all about the guest or customer. Smart thermostats can conserve energy and water recycling for laundry can save a business hundreds of thousands of dollars in utilities and energy bills.
Technologies and connectivity, eg. smart phones, have completely disrupted many industries over the last few years and it seems now hospitality is next.
If you’re working on a hospitality tech, please let us know! Here at Workville, we pride ourselves on our community of startups and are always looking to help companies find the coworking space in NYC they need to grow their business.
At Workville we pride ourselves on our community and love being able to host our members for events at our midtown coworking space when available. Tonight, Thursday, April 20th, we’re excited to present StrtupBoost’s Sports Tech Panel featuring three startup pitch presentations, a moderated discussion, and networking over drinks. Tickets here.
Jason is the Founder and CEO of StrtupBoost, which is a startup community that hosts startup mixers, panels, investor nights, and expos in NYC. He is also the Founder and CEO of SportsWonks which is a sports social network. Jason holds a B.A. from Montclair State University.
Nik has extensive experience in the startup industry, serving as the Creative Director for several funded and profitable companies, including Spongecell (Halo/IPG) and WorkMarket (USV/Spark Capital). Prior to the startup world, he was at Yahoo, where he was the lead designer for the OpenID/oAuth implementations, as well as the lead designer for all payment and checkout screens.
Vasu Kulkarni grew up in Bangalore, India, as the self proclaimed, biggest basketball fan in the world. Upon arriving in Philadelphia for college, Vasu joined the JV Basketball team at the University of Pennsylvania where he (barely) graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering and Entrepreneurship. Vasu is a basketball junkie, continuing to believe that he can be the first Indian to play in the NBA with his 7-days a week pick up routine. His moment of glory came when he sprained his ankle at Michael Jordan’s summer camp and got a bro-hug from the Legend himself. When he isn’t playing ball, he’s watching it – as CEO and Chief Intern of Krossover – a SaaS platform that saves coaches and athletes time by being an outsourced video coordination and analytics department. Krossover works with over 10,000 teams across the world to bring advanced analytics and video breakdown to every level of sports. Vasu is also the founding partner of Courtside Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm.
Stephen A. Murphy is the CEO of Boom Fantasy, one of the fastest growing new fantasy sports platforms. Boom has raised $3 million from top Silicon Valley investors, including Zynga founder Mark Pincus and the Stanford-StartX Fund. Prior to founding Boom, Steve served as the vice president of High 5 Games, the managing editor of Card Player Media, and the sports editor of two small-town newspapers. He has also advised MGM Resorts International on mobile gaming and fantasy sports.
Scott Nowers is the co-founder and CEO of Waypoint Media, an industry leading mar-tech platform for reporting and executing advertising content in eSports and live video. Our capabilities include chat, sponsorship and server-side video activations, all of which cannot be ad blocked. Scott is a lifelong entrepreneur, starting his first venture while attending Columbia University, a fashion company that was sold to Karmaloop for 1.5 MM USD. He moved into ad tech at AppNexus as a consultant for strategic accounts, helping Microsoft and Adobe build some of the world’s largest ad platforms. He founded Waypoint with three of AppNexus’ top data scientists, consultants and engineers, as well as his former pro-gaming partner and Schulich MBA graduate Auwal Odidi.
If you’re interested in learning more about hosting your event at Workville’s well-appointed, open-plan event space, please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Workville members are the best of the best! We’re so proud of all of the successful startups who have offices with us, and we just wanted to take a moment to celebrate a few specific companies here at Workville. Congrats, everyone!
COMPANIES THAT ACHIEVED Y COMBINATOR FUNDING!
Function of Beauty – FoB recently announced the close of a new $9.5 million Series A funding round led by GGV Capital. FoB creates personalized shampoo and conditioner based on #hairgoals. Worvkille members friends and family use the product and we can attest to its greatness. It also makes a very clever, personalized gift item as well!
KidPass – Just completed Y Combinator’s 2017 winter class, KidPass offers one pass for all kids activities and classes in NYC. Their monthly subscription gives you access to kids activities at members-only prices. Get access to exclusive classes, camps, museums, and more.
COMPANIES THAT ANNOUNCED NEW FUNDING!
TVSquared – TVSquared recently announced an additional $6.5 million in funding. Working with more than 400 brands, agencies and networks in 50+ countries, TVSquared is the gold-standard for TV measurement and optimization. On average, TVSquared clients improve TV campaign performance by 20-80%.
Show-Score – This theater review-aggregator recently raised $2 million in new financing, which was led by media investment advisory firm The Seelig Group. Show-Score functions like a Rotten Tomatoes for theater. Score just 6 shows you’ve seen, and get a chance to win some free tickets! Show-Score has over 125,000 registered members who have written more than 200,000 reviews of NYC theater.
MEMBERS TO WATCH!
Gebni – Gebni is Workville’s youngest company. It is a new app for restaurants; their dynamic pricing algorithm optimizes off-peak delivery times. Customers save money because pricing drops during non-peak hours, while restaurants increase sales rather than throwing away food. Added bonus: this also cuts down on waste, which makes Gebni an environmentally friendly resource. Launched only four months ago, Gebni already has +200 restaurants onboard!
Lampix – Winner of SXSW BEST 2017 AR/VR startups, Lampix transforms any surface into a smarter surface. It all starts with a lamp, which masquerades as an ordinary lamp, but the functionality is way beyond the norm – users can scan to cloud storage, copy text from hard copies of documents and paste into text editor, live-stream changes made in collaborative mode by another user, and even integrate with other devices. The future has arrived.
Workville currently has one private office suite available starting May 1st for a 6-person startup team. Inquire today.
In a recent NYT Op-Ed, the Editorial Board writes, “In reality, there is no utopia at companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Handy, whose workers are often manipulated into working long hours for low wages while continually chasing the next ride or task. These companies have discovered they can harness advances in software and behavioral sciences to old-fashioned worker exploitation, according to a growing body of evidence, because employees lack the basic protections of American law.”
Now 8, 9, 10 years into this new economy that includes self-employment companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft, are things truly improving for the working class?
“Since workers for most gig economy companies are considered independent contractors, not employees, they do not qualify for basic protections like overtime pay and minimum wages.”
It was this basic US law that allowed Uber to grow quickly to 700,000 active drivers in the United States, nearly three times the number of taxi drivers and chauffeurs in the country in 2014. That’s 700,000 “independent contractors” who are not guaranteed the same rights as employees, though they often work longer hours and absorb significant work-related expenses.
But legal battles now ensue across the country, including a recent class-action lawsuit against Lyft brought by drivers in California. Lyft recently agreed pay $27 million to settle the suit.
As this new gig economy continues to grow, how can we ensure our workers are treated fairly. Even now, it seems that companies are encouraging workers to overextend, overwork, and sacrifice basic human needs, like, for example, sleep.
Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Though the companies that employ “independent contractors” seem to suggest otherwise.
That said, now may be the best time in history for entrepreneurs. Starting your own business is aspirational and working for yourself, not for one of these gig economy companies, may be the best solution.
Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify, writes on Fortune:
“In today’s world, entrepreneurs can take risks with their business model without risking their life savings.
The result: Startup activity is back on the rise in the U.S. after being at its lowest point in 20 years, with the rate of new entrepreneurs increasing by 15% over the past two years, according to the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. That’s about 550,000 new business owners each month.”
And, of course, with supportive coworking spaces in NYC like Workville, where entrepreneurs can scale their workspace as they scale their business, and network with in-house VCs and other successful entrepreneurs, it seems our American entrepreneurial spirit will only continue to grow.
Launched in December 2015, Function of Beauty recently closed a new $9.5 million Series A funding round led by GGV Capital. Y Combinator followed on in the round, bringing Function of Beauty’s total funding amount to $12 million. But how did this personalized, customized haircare company come together?
Co-Founder and CEO Zahir Dossa, who runs Function of Beauty out of his private office suite at Workville earned his PhD at MIT with a concentration in sustainability. “I established [my first business] The Argan Tree to directly connect a cooperative of 60 women in Morocco producing and manufacturing argan oil with customers who wanted argan oil based products,” says Dossa on the sunny terrace at Workville NYC.
“While it was a successful brand and we were growing rapidly, every time I asked for feedback from customers they all gave different and often conflicting feedback. Based on this, I had the idea starting a shampoo/conditioner line that truly gave everyone the option to completely customize their own beauty products and give each person exactly what he or she wanted out of the products they use.”
Using a unique algorithm based on results from each customer’s survey results, Function of Beauty generates over 12 billion shampoo/conditioner combinations and each bottle is individually filled per each individual order.
“It took years of working with cosmetic chemists and utilizing my engineering and development background to get it to where it is today,” Dossa says. “We’re always continuing to make tweaks and improve our formula on a daily basis. We take customer feedback very seriously and adjust when necessary to continue to offer the best product for every single person.”
Working with his team at their Workville NYC office space,Dossa really values the natural light of his office and the common areas. “Natural light is something that’s extremely important to me and my productivity,” he says. “I love all the natural sunlight in our office. And I have long hours, often working late at night or on the weekends, so it’s always great to have a familiar face working alongside me. The Workville team is incredibly supportive, especially with our popup this past November. It is clear they care about us, Function of Beauty, and our success.”
And, of course, Dossa and his team like the centrally located, midtown Manhattan office location. “Izakaya Mews is my new favorite discovery for Japanese food,” he says. “Frame is a glorified bodega with any food imaginable, and Parker and Quinn is perfect for after work drinks!”
This summer Function of Beauty will be launching a retail store in SoHo featuring an interactive experience where customers can order their shampoos and conditioners and watch the products be made and filled live in real time.
Function of Beauty is customizing and revolutionizing the haircare industry, and continues to grow in their Workville HQ. 2017 is already shown to be a big year for Dossa and his team.
Congrats, Zahir Dossa! We’re proud of your success and happy to champion you here at Workville!
Sumeet Shah is Workville’s in-house Venture Capitalist and startup advisor.
As the principal of Brand Foundry Ventures, Shah has over six years of experience across the startup and private equity industries, formerly running new business strategies at Gist Digital and handling business development and project work at Gotham Consulting Partners. He also assisted in the creation of XRC Labs, a consumer and retail accelerator run by Kurt Salmon and Parsons, as the Program Manager for their inaugural class and was Head of Strategic Partnerships for their second class.
Together, with Andrew Mitchell, Shah launched BFV in March, 2014. I met Andrew back in 2011,” says Shah, “when I was in the private equity consulting world via a mutual friend. He was working on the early stage world at his angel shop while I was handling later stage work. We hit it off (at a steakhouse, I may add) and kept in touch.”
Shah had originally planned to send him promising startups but Mitchell quickly poached him and brought him on to Brand Foundry Ventures. “We are now moving with our second fund that is doing $500k-$1MM checks to lead/co-lead on seed deals on consumer product startups,” Shah says. “We’re excited for this year!”
For Shah, vetting and valuing companies boils down to three main categories. “It’s all about people, product, and pipeline,” he says. “The cyclical atmosphere of strong teams building key cohesive products and how they’re looking to take their business and brand to the next level.”
For someone starting a new business, Shah has one piece of advice: “Passion is key,” he says. “However, set yourself an internal clock of 12 months to pull together savings and you can survive. It’s easy to get driven into the entrepreneurship ecosystem but you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”
Sumeet Shah is available by appointment for Workville members. “Coworking is so fantastic because you’re always tapped into the ecosystem and can see people working on some amazing stuff,” he says. “By being curious, you learn more and have the opportunity to help!” With Workville specifically, he loves the central location. “It feels above the clouds,” he says. “Away from the crazy hustle of NYC.”
Workville members, please let your community managers know if you’d like to meet and chat with Sumeet Shah. If he’s not in the office, you may catch him at Nios in The Muse hotel. “It’s an old favorite,” he says.
Workville is falling ahead of schedule (pun intended); thanks to our partner and talented member, AlleyBoost, Silicon Alley’s community of +25,000 disruptors and innovators.
We’ve curated a superb lineup for your Fall. Here’s what to expect:
Tuesday Sept 13th 6:30 – 8:30pm Sharing Economy
The 3 B’s of the Sharing Economy: Benefits, Best Practices, & Building Principlesfor your Startup. Plus, learn about what has or has not succeeded in the Sharing Economy, and expected growth for the coming years.
Tuesday Night Sept 27th 6:30 – 8:30pm Persuasive Communication & Pitch
Soft skills crash course – learn from industry leaders the compelling communication tactics that are key to accelerating your career climb and you apart from the crowd.
Thursday Oct 13th 6:30 – 8:30pm Health Tech Panel
Future of health and technology is discussed by major disruptors.
(more events coming soon…)
Why are we partnering with AlleyBoost?
Because it’s an incredible community and resource, respected as being the best of Silicon Alley. Disruptors come together for startup presentations, investor nights, business development, networking, and learning.
We have experienced first-hand the power of AlleyBoost’s connections. By vetting the best across all industries, AlleyBoost matches entrepreneurs to solutions, from financial development, legal, real estate, to graphic design and so on.
Workville Office Hours!
Ready. Set. Pitch! Workville office hours officially launched. By leveraging the power of Workville + AlleyBoost, our office hours are hosted by the most accomplished investors’ and VC’s. The lineup includes Serval Ventures, SeedInvest, Rubicon Ventures, Brand Foundry, and BWM I Ventures, to name a few.
VC Office Hours are almost exclusively for members – almost. We promise to keep you posted about Open-House Office Hours, when non-members can sign-up. Contact us directly to learn more: email@example.com
We’re in the news! Workville is expanding; we’re taking more space in 1412 Broadway and creating large team rooms. We’ve just begun construction, and already the press is talking!
Until next time, visit www.workvillenyc.com or email us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org to place a bid on our sun-drenched office space! is talking!