Happy Flex Day!

October 21st, 2014 by Meaghen

What is Flex Day you ask? Flex Day is apart of National Work and Family month and is an opportunity for everyone to highlight the importance of flexible working schedules, whether you work for a company or for yourself. This is an issue near and dear to my heart as I finish up my 3rd week back at work from maternity leave. With the support and guidance of NextSpace I was able to take 4 months leave to birth and care for my daughter and now I’m returning to work on a flexible hourly schedule that allows me to slowly transition from full-time mommy back to a full-time NextSpace employee. Am I exhausted but learning to multi-task like never before (aka nursing while talking on the phone and writing emails)? You bet I am! And even though I’m feeling frazzled as I write this (does this baby ever sleep!?!), I’m still incredibly grateful because I know the average working American is not afforded the same kinds of options that I am.

According to Think Progress, out of 185 countries the U.S. is one of three that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave (the other two are Papua New Guinea and Oman.) Meanwhile, over half of the countries that do guarantee paid leave provide at least 14 weeks. What’s up with that America? Some companies (Change.org, for example) are taking matters in to their own hands, creating generous family leave policies and encouraging others to do the same. Lucky for me NextSpace is one of those and has both a paid maternity leave policy AND a flexible work schedule policy. Obviously work life balance is a concept that NextSpace takes seriously, and as a result I take my job seriously (but not myself of course!).

But hey, kids (and maternity leave) shouldn’t be the only reason you adjust your work schedule to fit your life. Everyone needs a healthy ratio of screen time to actual face time, which is why coworking is so awesome.  NextSpace, and many other coworking spaces, allow 24/7 access, meaning you can work when you want and still have time for that dinner party (or tea party if you’re a working parent.) Or perhaps you’re a puppy parent and you need a flexible working environment that allows you to cowork with your dog. Yep, many coworking spaces also allow for coworking pets, which has been proven to reduce stress and create a happier workplace. And speaking of happier workplace, do you work alone and find yourself asking the refrigerator for feedback? As we at NextSpace like to put it, working alone sucks! Join a coworking space and see an increase in productivity and a decrease in one-sided conversations. But don’t take my word for it, there’s a whole study to back me up. Seriously, the benefits are too numerous to name which is why I’m thrilled to work for a company that is at the forefront of it all. (Did i mention we do coworking and childcare too? Yep, its called NextKids and it’s revolutionizing the way parents get work done.)

So thank you NextSpace. Thanks for being a leader, not only in coworking and the revolution of work, but also in fostering a healthy work life balance for your employees. Way to walk your talk. I’m certainly glad you chose this route over offering to freeze my eggs.

-Meaghen Liebe, Marketing Manager, NextSpace Coworking & Innovation


Reflections on 6 years gone by…

October 17th, 2014 by Meaghen

On a crisp fall day back in 2008, Andreas Mueller knocked on the front door of NextSpace in Santa Cruz.  He had to knock because the call box wasn’t activated yet.  We didn’t have much furniture and the only Internet connectivity came from an old DSL line leftover from the building’s previous tenant.  But Andreas had ridden his bicycle fifteen miles from his house—where he’d been running his company Bloofusion—to downtown Santa Cruz because he wanted to get to work. And he wanted to work at NextSpace.

At first, I didn’t let Andreas in.  “We’re not ready!” I told him, slightly panicked.  But you’re never really ready to start a business, are you?  You just have to start.  So I opened the door and we got to work.

Over the past six years, we’ve had the privilege of serving thousands of NextSpace members like Andreas.  The most humbling and amazing thing about you, our members, is that you constantly demonstrate the courage to get started and get to work.  Making a living and making a life in this new economy isn’t always easy.  But the courage, passion, creativity, and connections that you bring to the NextSpace community make it just a bit easier for all of us. Thanks for six great years.  What will the next six years bring?  Let’s find out together….

Jeremy Neuner, CEO, NextSpace Coworking & Innovation


Who’s that guy? 

Q&A with Andreas Mueller.


Andreas Mueller is the Chief Strategist at his digital marketing company Bloofusion, with offices in California and Germany. He’s also a dad, a cyclist and the very first member of the NextSpace coworking community in Santa Cruz where, as Jeremy puts it, he came knocking down the door eager to get started. In commemoration of 6 years, I thought what better way to celebrate then to talk to Andreas about his experience at NextSpace.

Q: How did you come to be a NextSpace member?

A: When I started my company back in 2001 I was working out of my house and it was kind of tough, I missed being around people and I found myself driving over Hwy 17 to San Jose or San Francisco 2-3 times per week to network or attend events or meet with clients. I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that I was always going to have to go over the hill for that sort of thing because you know, nobody works here, they live here and commute over to San Jose or San Francisco for work. And then in August 2008 I read an article about NextSpace and I knew I had to check it out. So I got on my bike and rode from Rio Del Mar to downtown Santa Cruz and I knocked on the door.

I moved in that same month, August 2008 two months before NextSpace officially opened its doors, and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve even been in the same office, never moved. I chose this office after spending an entire afternoon with my wife sitting in each one (since they were all empty when I joined). I chose one that had a funky vibe, none of the walls are straight up and down, they’re all angled.

Q: Over the past 6 years how has NextSpace impacted you and your business?

A: NextSpace has kept me sane. Being able to go into a workspace and have somebody smile at you as you walk up the stairs, it completely changes your perspective. And the downtown location is really important to me, I’m a social person and its so great to be able to ask someone “hey, you want to grab lunch and talk about xyz?” Or if I need someone’s expertise or a different skill set I can just step outside my office and say “I’m looking for a programmer to help me with this project” and I can find people right there to help me. You can’t do that from a home office.

Q: How would you like to see NextSpace grow in the next 6 years?

A: I love having access to offices in San Francisco and San Jose but I’d love to see even more. I understand why it hasn’t happened yet but Palo Alto would be perfect. And if I could choose the first international location it would definitely be somewhere in Germany. Either Cologne or Berlin only because I travel to both places a lot for work.

Meaghen Liebe, Marketing Manager, NextSpace Coworking & Innovation


Thanks for celebrating 6 years with us!

6th birthday collage

GCUC 2015 is coming to Berkeley!!!

October 7th, 2014 by Erin

 Click image to view video

NextSpace GCUC Video

That’s right folks! GCUC, short for Global Coworking Unconference Conference and pronounced “juicy”, is the biggest coworking event of the year and it’s coming to the place where coworking was born: the Bay Area. The event attracts coworkers from all over the planet to come together in one place for three full days of panel discussions, high-energy breakout sessions, high-fiving team building activities and hella shenanigans. As a result, attendees always leave with a whole slew of new concepts and strategies that they can bring back home to their local coworking communities.

NextSpace has been attending GCUC since it first launched in 2012. When our team was heading back to the airport after GCUC 2014 in Kansas City, we had the meat sweats (so much BBQ!!!), big brains full of new ideas, and an overall consensus that we are ready to bring GCUC to the Bay. As for our team, our members, and our Bay Area community of coworkers: we are all leaders at the epicenter of coworking, and we feel it’s definitely time to share the Bay Area’s powers of coworking with all the inspirational and amazing folks that are spreading this mission across the world…and what better place to do it than in Berkeley, California?

We know, we know, you’re probably saying, “Why not San Francisco?” Well yes, that crossed our minds too, especially since we have three spaces there, but Berkeley is more centralized for what GCUC has planned this year. We’re lining up 25 spaces for you all to tour. You want to go to San Francisco, the East or South Bay? Done and done. Berkeley is an easy public transportation ride to any of these areas and their local coworking spaces are ready to open their doors for you. Berkeley will also be easier on your wallet, and it is about 5 – 8 degrees warmer than San Francisco on any given day, so break out your flip flops and sun tan lotion, and get ready to take in the sunnier side of the Bay.

If you can care less about warm weather, how about this: Berkeley is the home of the #1 public university in the United States: University of California at Berkeley, aka CAL. CAL is the leading generator of so much of the talent that is responsible for all the startup/techy-tech success that is happening here right now, and their alumni are a huge majority of the coworking population across the Bay. Berkeley itself is an up and coming Bay Area Startup Cluster. Its awesomeness can sometimes be overshadowed by that big city 12 miles away, so it sometimes loses its talent to the tech pods in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, yet it remains a well balanced, thriving, and creatively inspiring community with a progressive spirit that outshines any other Bay Area city.  Sound like a familiar place to any of you?

GCUC in Berkeley is going to show you how coworking is happening everywhere and can start anywhere. You don’t have to open your space in a big metropolitan city; the ideologies behind coworking are driven by the future of work and that means anyone can cowork anywhere! Berkeley will demonstrate how a coworking space can open and thrive, even when it’s a short commute away from a major city with an overwhelming number of coworking spaces. Additionally, Berkeley will show you that with the right community and local support you’ll have coworkers knocking on your door just like we do here. And if that’s not enough, we’re going to throw in a whole bunch of neighboring Oakland spaces to illustrate how the East Bay as a collective is its own coworking beast. But hey, if you really want to hit up the other side of the Bay, we got you covered there too so don’t worry your pretty little heads!

So GCUC is coming to Berkeley! Get excited, because we’ve got so much planned for our fellow coworkers. You all have been major influencers and contributors in our world over the years, and we at NextSpace want to say “thank you” by helping to throw the biggest and most engaging GCUC thus far.

More details to come as we and the GCUC team get to planning, so stay tuned! Follow NextSpace Berkeley on Facebook and Twitter for regular GCUC updates.


Community Builder Job Opening – San Francisco Area

August 1st, 2014 by iris

August 1, 2014

NextSpace Coworking + Innovation, Inc. is an amazing company to work for. It’s fun, vibrant, has room for advancement, and we train and develop the sh*t out of you. We need some help managing our coworking community of freelancers, independent consultants, start-ups, and small businesses.  So we’re hiring a full time Community Builder in our Union Square location and we’d be honored if you would consider applying.

The NextSpace Community Builder (Ns Ceebee) is part of the NextSpace leadership team and reports directly to the Community Curator. Think of it as the Robin to the Curator’s Batman. S/he coordinates the daily activities required to keep our members happy and productive, and the space running smoothly.

Duties, Responsibilities, and other Stuff You Do at This Job:

Every NextSpace employee helps to foster, facilitate, and manage the NextSpace community. We do this so that our members can create products, services, and solutions for the global marketplace. We work for our members. Everything you do as the NsCB should be done with this idea in mind.

The NS CeeBee handles all the tasks required to sign up new NextSpace members:  giving tours to prospective members, assisting new members with filling out membership applications, adding new members to our database, adding new members to our social and professional networks, and ensuring new members understand how to use and enjoy all the amenities at NextSpace.

The Ns CeeBee acts as the administrative arm of the dynamic NextSpace leadership duo. Tasks include date entry, calendaring, ordering supplies, interfacing with vendors and setting up and cleaning up for our various events. Occasional evenings and weekends are required with this job, but they really are occasional.

You are also in charge of assisting the Community Curator with helping the ship run smoothly. This includes helping with marketing and sales, billing and financials, and any other big picture projects your Curator thinks you are up for the challenge of.

Hey, every job has some not-so-sexy responsibilities. So there’s always organizing to be done, coffee to be made, messes to be cleaned up, phones to be answered, and 1,001 little details to be attended to.  The Ns CeeBee, along with the entire NextSpace leadership team, will dive into this stuff with gusto and good humor.


  • You gotta like people. That’s a big one. Huge, even.
  • You’ll do really well at this job if you’re self-motivated, detail-oriented, and like to work as part of a team.
  • You’ve had at least two years in an administrative management position (reception, front office manager) or data administration (database management) position.
  • You’ve got lots of hospitality experience under your belt (Yes! Experience in bar tending, barista work and waiting tables is a requirement).
  • You are a whiz with technology, even if you aren’t aware of that yet. This job is about people, and our people are technologists so you are too! We are a Mac shop, so it’s best if you know how to use OS X, though not required. Some of our members have PCs so if you can trouble shoot a few IT issues on a Windows device that’s a plus. We do expect though that you can write properly and professionally with a dose of sarcasm, browse the interwebs and do online research using The Google.
  • You are very comfortable and interested in social media tools. This includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and WordPress.
  • You like events, can help plan them and don’t mind attending or throwing a few in the evenings each month.
  • You are a creative troubleshooter who enjoys solving problems and readily find solutions to whatever traffic jams come your way.
  • Multi-tasking is the name of the coworking game, so you should be able to juggle the phone, your regular tasks and the constant little things that come up by the minute with grace, thoroughness and good humor.
  • You understand innately that two heads are better than one and that getting the job done goes more easily when you collaborate with others.
  • You’re a great communicator. Our members are talkative and they wanna talk to you. This is the fun part of the job. Sometimes you gotta talk around a sticky situation and you need to do so with confidence and transparency. This is the challenging part of the job.
  • You’re a social butterfly, not afraid to make first impressions and enjoy being the matchmaker in your circles.
  • You’re a non-stop doing machine, you constantly find things to improve and get sh*t done.
  • We think we’re pretty interesting people (the CEO can juggle flaming torches). And we like to work with other interesting people.  So we’ll want to know what you do in life besides work.
  • A sizeable personality that adds to the mix is a plus. Confidence is sexy.

This is a full time entry level job. Compensation starts at $37,500 annually. We offer full health benefits, an employee stock option package and have some great perks! You’ve got an exciting future here! Interested? Please send us a resume, a short statement about why you think you can totally rock this job, and a couple of fun facts about you. You can reach us at work @ nextspace (dot) us.  And be sure to take a spin through www.NextSpace.us as well.  Have fun!

The application deadline for this position is Wednesday, 8/13/2014 at 5pm PST.

NextSpace is an equal opportunity employer.


5 Inspirational Takeaways from the White House Summit on Working Families

June 27th, 2014 by Diana

I’m really excited to share my thoughts with you. This is my first blog ever – thank you Iris for pushing me to do this! I plan to blog regularly about my work at NextSpace and I hope you enjoy what I have to share and that it provides space for thought, reflection, & growth.

Quote of the Day: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds…”

Diana Rothschild @ White House Summit on Working Families

Diana Rothschild @ White House Summit on Working Families

As many of you may know, I was invited to attend last Monday’s White House Summit on Working Families. My 5mos old baby, Emily came along (working family in action…) and she is a great traveler.

photo 1

Emily Risk & Diana Rothschild outside the White House

The event was energizing, and left me feeling:

  1. Confident: The event was well designed and run by the Center for American Progress (CAP), the White House, and a few other sponsors. Its focus broadly covered raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hr., providing universal paid family leave, offering better workplace flexibility practices, paid time off and sick leave, childcare subsidies and job training. And the event approached solving these areas by telling individual stories, offering policy solutions, building the business case, and exploring how to negotiate as a woman.
  2. Energetically Powerful: The energy in the room was high, upbeat, hopeful, and empowering. It felt pretty momentous to be with 1,500 Americans seeing our country’s leadership all in one room sharing their thoughts. As a participant, I could feel the pulse of Americans across the country wanting these policies asap –from the Walmart cashier who wanted to be put on light duty while being pregnant, to policy makers who had spent decades working on legislation around family leave, to CEOs already making great HR changes and wishing others would take the leap and join them. The policy makers felt it was a watershed moment to hear President Obama and other leaders validate their decades of work. And all us mamas could relate to Valerie Jarrett’s comical (yet somewhat sad) portrayal of what it felt like to be pregnant and make unnecessary excuses for needing to use the restroom.  And to see them have such smooth hand-offs and speak about their children and ailing parents, their siblings and the people they’ve met that make our country great was even more inspiring. They showed the humanity side of this issue in a way that felt quite energizing.
  3. Shocked & Lucky: I was shocked to learn that today only 3 states offer paid family leave (California being one of them), and that the US is the ONLY developed country in the world to NOT offer paid family leave. Thanks for our NextSpace Potrero Hill community lunch discussion, I felt armed with an array of great ideas from our amazing members that are all on the national agenda now! And I realized that I’m pretty lucky to work for Uncle NextSpace – a company that gives our employees paid family leave, flex time, paid sick leave, values our team AND their families, and does its best to support our members and their families through NextKids and various community events!
  4. Hopeful: Out of necessity, employees are making choices to leave the workforce to work for themselves to have the flexibility that allows them to meet their family’s needs – in essence to create a career that matches their lifestyle, and not the other way around. And thank goodness for companies like NextSpace that help to create the environment for this to be possible. Our members (we fondly call them Spacers) are revolutionizing the way America works and creating solutions that demand policy changes in our country. The Summit hosted several large companies. Their CEOs, while lovely, seemed a bit out of touch with the reality of today’s knowledge worker. And while having come from corporate America, this saddened me, I now see more clearly how strongly our future depends on the companies like NextSpace, and its members to revolutionize the way we work. It gave me even more hope for the power possible in the creative, independent, and startup class – and the catalytic role NextSpace plays in this revolution!
  5. Grateful: There was A LOT of talk about childcare needing to not just be care, but high-quality care. I’m so proud of our truly remarkable NextKids team (yes that’s you Sarah, Rochelle, Vicky, Lauren, Maria, Ashley, Jillian, and our new lead toddler teacher Anna)! It was an honor to share our NextKids story with attendees impressed with our focus on quality. And we now have additional requests for NextKids in DC, Chicago, Queens, and Brooklyn!

Check out my favorite quotes from the day on Twitter @dianarothschild and the speeches, social media, blog posts here http://goo.gl/0Gd2Nv! I particularly enjoyed Joe Biden, President Obama, the panel that included Nancy Pelosi and Gloria Steinem, and Michelle Obama.

photo 4

If you want to know more about the revolution of work, check out www.nextspace.us and know that we’re growing and coming to a city near you! I encourage CEOs to give us a call and see how together we can make this revolution even stronger. And I am curious to know – what YOU think our country most needs for families to thrive economically and socially, without compromise?

Thank you,  @dianarothschild

At NextSpace, we take our jobs seriously, but not ourselves

May 21st, 2014 by Gretchen

Creating community is serious work. We hire our own Batman and Robin teams, Community Curators and Community Builders, after an extensive search.  After all, we’re looking for the Golden Ticket. The whole package. We expect that we are hiring people-savvy folks who can connect members; facilities gurus that understand that a great community needs a great workspace as it’s foundation; and guerrilla marketing savants. They need to have a certain je ne sais quoi.  And they’d better be fun to be around to boot.

On top of all of that, we need to make sure that our team takes their jobs seriously…but not themselves. We celebrate our collective loopiness within NextSpace by keeping the orange fires burning, by encouraging our teamies to engage themselves in learning new stuff, and by leading by example.

Our mission,  given to all employees by NextSpace’s CEO: to create a video to share with the team espousing the value of humility and fun. Or something like that. We couldn’t resist sharing our Venice team’s amazing creation with the world. You’re welcome.

Coworking: NextSpace Style

May 8th, 2014 by Kyle

Working at NextSpace means spending a lot of time interacting with people interested to know what this coworking thing is all about. These folks come in with varying levels of knowledge, mostly based on hearsay information, and typically laced with a healthy dose of misconception. Part of this is because coworking, as a concept and especially as an industry, is still figuring itself out. There are a ton of different styles and models all looking to provide infrastructure for the independent professional. The other piece is the commonly held misbelief that these spaces are full of nothing but computer nerds. As you can imagine, there is some confusion, and a lot of noteworthy questions about what exactly NextSpace is.

As an easy reference guide I thought I would list some of the most common questions that we deal with on a daily basis at NextSpace, to help debunk some of the myths, and give everyone a better idea of what these oases of productivity are all about.

“What the hell is this place?”

NextSpace is first and foremost a community—a collective of hardworking individuals, all hammering away on their own separate projects, but aligned in the mission that they’re here to kick ass and take names (in the business sense, of course). Everyone comes here to take their project or idea to the next level, and we do everything we can to facilitate that growth.

“So you guys are, like, an incubator?”

Actually, no, but we understand the confusion. Though our office spaces often look and function in similar ways (large communal areas, completely devoid of anything resembling a cubical), incubators and coworking spaces are not the same thing. An incubator takes either money or equity in the companies they house, in exchange for helping them with leadership, connecting them with VC, and things of that nature. At NextSpace your company is your company, and you’re free to do with it what you please. We’ll help connect you in any way we can, but we’re not trying to tell you how to steer your ship. That’s what you’re here for after all.

“You rent real estate, right?”

Wrong again, friend! Renting real estate involves calculating exact cost per square foot, putting down healthy sums of money for security deposits, and signing your life away in paperwork. Basically, a whole bunch of crap nobody really has the time to do while running a company. At NextSpace we don’t rent you anything. Our product is membership in this amazing community. Your membership gets you access to our workspaces, sure, but we deal with human beings, not cold, dead square footage. (And just a head’s up, we absolutely detest the r-word, and you may be banished from the realm for using it).

“I’ve been to nine different coworking spaces today, what makes Nextspace different?”

Well, we’re awesome. What makes us awesome? You do. NextSpace is great because you and all the hardworking members sitting around you make it that way. Our focus here is the community—that nebulous, almost impossible to quantify bit that really makes a place like NextSpace special. There are plenty of options out there if you’re just looking for office space, even far more lavish, and far less orange places to hang your shingle. What we’re great at is creating an environment that fosters collaboration, new friendships, new business partnerships, and the interpersonal networks that help your business be all that it can be.

“I don’t code. Is that a problem?”

I don’t code either, compadre. In fact, most of the members at NextSpace don’t. We’re not a huddled mass of computer engineers plunking away on our laptops (though we do have some great engineers in our spaces). People here work on all kinds of things in all kinds of industries. We have lawyers, recruiters, production companies, education technology teams, everything! We don’t care what you do, if you’re passionate, and interesting, and want to meet a bunch of folks like yourself, we want you here.

“I’m in my 40’s, is it all young people that work here?”

Nope. Not even close. We’ve got folks from their 20’s to their 70’s running around our locations. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number at NextSpace. Hang out with us for a day and you’ll see Spacers of all ages and backgrounds that call us their productive headquarters. In fact, it’s exactly because we have so many different people, from so many different backgrounds that our workspaces are so interesting. Where else do you have graphic designers working alongside wine distributors and monocle makers? We’re confident in saying that nowhere else can you find the breadth and depth of folks that you’ll find any given day at NextSpace.

“Why is everything orange?”

Why not? Orange is radical and exciting and uplifting and optimistic and makes no apologies for all its fiery glory. It’s basically the color embodiment of everything we want each NextSpace location to be for our members. Plus, when is the last time you got to work while lying on a bright orange couch? Our guess is never.

Hopefully this helps give an idea about NextSpace’s particular brand of coworking. NextSpace is a great place for anyone who wants to accelerate their productivity and be surrounded by people doing the same. It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, what matters is that you come here to do the best work you possibly can.

7 Fundraising Tips from the Startup360 Panel at NextSpace Berkeley

March 11th, 2014 by Gretchen


Guest post by Bhavin Parikh

I had the pleasure of being on a panel at NextSpace Berkeley with Aaron Schwartz, CEO of Modify Watches, Michael Berolzheimer, managing partner at Bee Partners, and Doug Bend, lead attorney at Bend Law Group. By the way, I’m Bhavin, co-founder and CEO of Magoosh. The four of us know each other well. Aaron and I went to business school together at Berkeley. Michael, also a Berkeley MBA alum, invested in both Magoosh and Modify. And Doug serves as Modify’s lawyer. As a panelist, I enjoyed actually knowing the other panelists for once; we had some playful banter and built on each other’s stories – hopefully, the audience found us as entertaining as we found ourselves.

As two startup founders (with teams of 8 and 15) a VC, and a lawyer, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes…well, maybe not the lawyer. Throughout the evening, we shared a variety of tips and learnings. Here’s my top seven:

  1. Be a line, not a dot
    Finding an investor is like dating. You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on your first date, and you shouldn’t ask an investor for money in your first meeting. Take time to build a relationship with an investor. Start the relationship before you even plan on starting to fundraise. Just let the investor know that you’re still at a very early stage, you’re looking for feedback and advice, and you may be back in 3 to 6 months when you start fundraising.
    Lines have a slope and trajectory; dots are static. You want to demonstrate to an investor that your startup is moving up and to the right over time, like a line. Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures writes about lines not dots more eloquently than I ever could. Sidenote: Aaron and I both had relationships with Michael for nearly 2 years before he invested in each of our startups!

  1. Find a founder mentor
    Founding a startup is hard. And asking others for money to fund your startup is often harder. That being said, it’s also one of the most important things you can do to help you startup grow and succeed. Find someone in your network who has done it before, ideally no more than a few years before you, and tell them everything about your startup. That person likely has learned many lessons, and you should use their experience to your advantage. I’m currently helping several startups understand how to approach fundraising, sharing the mistakes that I made. And the more open they are with me, the more helpful I can be to them.

  2. Just say no to NDA’s
    Speaking of being open, I and the other panelists all feel strongly that asking for NDA’s are a bad idea when you’re fundraising. Most investors won’t consider signing one, and even asking them to sign an NDA sends a negative signal. Early stage investors are often investing in you and your ability to execute, they are not investing in your idea (which will likely change several times over the years anyway.) By presenting an investor with an NDA, you look somewhat naive, thinking it’s your idea, not you, that’s valuable.

  1. Raise enough money
    One of the biggest mistakes that founders make is not raising enough money. Fundraising takes a lot of time and energy, often 3 to 6 months from when you decide to raise. So when you are raising, you should try to raise a little extra, even if that means giving a little more of your company away. Otherwise, you might find yourself raising again, which will take another 3+ months. We didn’t raise enough money for Magoosh, and a year later we were 3-4 months away from going out of business. I had to reach out to investors again asking for a bridge round, which took my time away from focusing on the business. Luckily, it all worked out and we’re now a profitable and growing company, but not every startup is that fortunate. Raise enough money to last you 18 to 24 months, you’ll need it.

  1. Understand the difference between “no” and “not now”.
    When an investor passes on your company, ask why. If it’s because you are a consumer web company, and they typically invest in healthcare, then “no” likely means “no.” You are out of scope for them. However, if you are in-scope, and they have concerns about the team or progress, then keep them updated via a monthly newsletter, because the “no” is actually a “not now.” Michael had told Aaron that he would never invest in Modify. Aaron kept Michael updated via a newsletter on the company’s progress and six months later, Michael invested. Pro-tip: if you haven’t started a newsletter, start one and keep investors, advisers, and friends updated.

  1. Find a good lawyer
    I mentioned this on the panel, and I’ll say it again here. Legal mistakes can be painful and costly. We initially did our incorporation and equity grants using LegalZoom, and we made some mistakes that were very difficult to undo. Doug mentioned that many law firms have a flat rate for early-stage company documents, usually costing $2-3K. Another alternative is to pitch a larger law firm that might offer you deferred fees, such as $25K deferred, payable when you raise an equity round of financing, at which point you’ll be able to afford it. Also, read this book before you start fundraising: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. But you’ll still want a good lawyer.

  1. Be the prize
    When you start fundraising and meeting with investors, it’s easy to try to over sell yourself, which actually might make your company look less appealing. Playing hard to get can sometimes be effective. But remember that you and your company are something special, so get the investor to sell themselves to you, don’t just sell to them. It’s a fun little dance. Ask questions such as, “How do you typically help startups in your portfolio?” or “Could you introduce me to a few founders you’ve invested in?” And read the book Pitch Anything. But remember, there’s a difference between some fun back and forth and coming across like a jerk, so tread carefully.

  1. Bonus tip: Modify watches is running a Kickstarter campaign to do one-off custom watches. I’ve funded it and so should you! You could put your company’s logo (or your face!) on a watch.

Author Bio:

Bhavin is CEO and co-founder of Magoosh, a company that creates web and mobile apps to help students prepare for standardized tests such as the GRE and GMAT.  He loves advising startups on growing their ideas and building great cultures. Years ago, Bhavin played on several Nationals-level ultimate frisbee teams. Now, he eats gelato.

The Year of the NextSpace Effect

January 7th, 2014 by Gretchen

Dear NextSpace Members, Shareholders, Friends & Supporters,


Welcome to 2014!  By the power vested in me, I hereby declare 2014 to be “The Year of the NextSpace Effect.”  Allow me to explain….

I’ll begin by saying that 2013 was the most important year in the short history of this company and this community.  Our four original locations (NextSpace Santa Cruz, NextSpace San Francisco, NextSpace Los Angeles & NextSpace San Jose) continued to thrive.  NextSpace Union Square and NextSpace Venice Beach (both opened in late 2012) grew into bustling collaborative communities.  Towards the end of 2013, we opened three new locations: NextSpace Berkeley, NextSpace River North (hello Chicago!), and NextSpace Potrero Hill, including our groundbreaking NextKids concept.  We now have nine locations and over 1,500 active members, making NextSpace the largest coworking community in the country.

During 2013, I spent a lot of my time talking about NextSpace to potential members, investors, and partners.  And while most everyone understands our business, they all eventually ask the same question:  What makes NextSpace special?  There are hundreds of other coworking spaces around the world and thousands of other shared workspaces.  Why should I join, invest in, or partner with NextSpace?

My answer is always the same:  because of our team’s and our members’ ability to create and to benefit from the NextSpace Effect.  The NextSpace Effect is the result of the amazing alchemical process that happens when you intentionally mix workspace + community.  It occurs when our smart, creative, professional, resilient NextSpace members meet, mix, collide, and collaborate in large and small ways. The outcomes range from the simple (like when members share ideas, information, and expertise) to the headline grabbing (like when members found successful companies together).  In whatever dose, the NextSpace Effect makes our members happier and more successful.

Over the past few years, we’ve casually collected plenty of NextSpace Effect stories with and from our members.  Collectively, these stories are funny, inspirational, heart breaking, and instructive.  But as a team, we’ve never systematically and intentionally gathered and celebrated the NextSpace Effect stories of our members. That changes now.

So, welcome to 2014 and the Year of the NextSpace Effect.  Over the next twelve months, I’ve set a goal of working with the NextSpace Team and the NextSpace Community to gather and celebrate 100 NextSpace Effect stories.  I’ll have more details soon about how we’ll accomplish this goal together.  Meanwhile, to get us started, I’ve included the NextSpace Effect story of Rupen Patel and Taylor Stanley, two members at NextSpace Venice Beach (please see below). I think you’ll find Rupen and Taylor’s story emblematic of the creativity and resilience that are the hallmarks of the typical NextSpace member.  What other stories will we create and tell together in 2014?  What forms will those stories take?  And what will we do with these 100 stories once we have them?  I’m eager to work with all of you this year to find out!

I wish each of you a happy, creative, and productive 2014.  As always, thanks for believing in NextSpace.  Thanks for being pioneers in the (r)evolution of Work. And thanks for believing in each other.

The NextSpace Effect Story of Ruben Patel & Taylor Stanley, the founders of Appy, a simple tool for creating your own iPhone apps:

When I started working with Taylor, I was working on contract during the day and working on Appy in evening and weekends.  Progress was slow.  There were too many distractions working from home.  When my contracted ended and we began working on Appy full-time, we were still working out of my apartment.  Staying focused and on track was a constant challenge.  We switched from coffee shop to coffee shop and back to my apartment trying to find somewhere we could work.

Taylor lives in Venice and she was familiar with NextSpace.  She suggested we try it.  We started with a Cafe membership and we saw the difference immediately.  We got so much done the first day we were here.

We were getting lots done, but working on Appy full-time was a financial strain and we really needed another paying project.  A few days later, we saw three or four emails on the NextSpace Biz List from fellow NextSpacers who were looking iPhone developers.  We got two great leads and one paying client.  We continue to work with that client as we finish their current iPhone app. And we’ve started building their new app for Android.  As a small two-person shop, winning business has a lot to do with relationships and trust.  The fact that all of us are NextSpace members meant that we had a built-in relationship established on being part of the same collaborative community.

This kind of trust works both ways:  when we needed a great script writer for the Appy project, we found a fellow NextSpacer through the NextSpace Biz List.  Again, because we’re all part of the NextSpace Community, we had a built-in sense of trust and collaboration.I work a lot and I make full use of the 24-hour access at NextSpace.  I’ve done all night sessions here.  Sometimes, I would sit in front of the “Get S#!t Done” poster or in front of a hypnotic art piece that said “Focus!”  These little touches make a lot of difference.  Working in a professional, supportive environment is important for us.  We eventually upgraded from a Café Membership to an Office Membership and our productivity has shot through the roof.

Beyond that, and maybe most important, we feel like we’ve had a lot of moral support from the NextSpace community.  That support has made it so much easier to startup a project like Appy with limited resources.  We’ve already generated our first revenue with Appy.  We’re ready to build a following and we’re expecting great results!

The Year of the Moose

December 18th, 2013 by Gretchen

The Year of the Moose

Charlie Shaw is the NextSpace Berkeley Community Builder.


Directly following my abrupt western expansion to San Francisco in September of 2012, I found my head in a tizzy. There I was in a city with a state of mind far removed from my previous life on the East Coast. I knew I needed to find my footing one way or another, so I took to the streets in search of an answer. That’s when I stumbled upon the wonderful world of coworking. It was all by happenstance really… I was spending my days trying to meet as many new people as possible in a desperate attempt to gain insight into this new and confusing world, when a friend of mine invited me to a party celebrating the opening of a “coworking” office in Union Square (whatever that was). Now, being of the mind to never, EVER refuse free food and beer, in addition to my newfound fondness of networking, I was in! And to cut a long story short, I fell in love that night. I had found exactly how I wanted to spend my newfound time in California.

After a good deal of strategic pestering I had managed to find my way into the inner sanctum of NextSpace, the awesome community I had become so smitten with weeks before. You see, I didn’t just want to work in NextSpace; I wanted to work for NextSpace. I wanted to help spread the good word of coworking; An idea far from “household name” status in my home state of Rhode Island, but well on its way in this neck of the woods. It seemed far removed from my claustrophobic, anti-social work experiences, which prompted my drastic relocation the first place. Put simply, I wanted to be a part of what I saw as a work revolution, and by the following December, my wish had come true.

I was so excited and proud I could barely contain myself. I was in, part of the team, one of the crew, a go-to guy. Now the only question remaining was… What the hell do I do now that I’m here? Luckily, I was blessed with an awesome group of new colleagues and members who made getting up to speed a total breeze. It was around this time that I began to realize just how much this new environment was going to help a podunk Rhode Island boy like myself adjust to the fast lane. Think of it as a crash course in the modern working economy. Sure, I make a lot of coffee and buy ream after ream of printer paper, but I also get the opportunity to connect with individuals whom I would have never been able to otherwise. I get to inform countless professionals of an alternative to working from their garages and basements. I get to offer up my own advice to individuals who genuinely care about my two cents, even when our backgrounds are so different. I get to sit down to lunch and chat with an app developer, a head chef and an insurance agent all at the same time.  I can’t think of another environment where this kind of a random gathering is even possible let alone encouraged.

I quickly found that this was the element of coworking that really drew me in. It’s about space, about having an office, and about free coffee, sure. But it’s more importantly about making connections, broadening ones horizons and finding those important similarities between worlds that would otherwise go unfostered. Now, I’m writing about this experience one year later, and looking back it’s easy to say that I’ve grown immeasurably both socially and professionally since that first day when I humbly wandered into the world of coworking.  It’s proven to be a unique experience that has already paid off in folds, but never ceases to offer up new and exciting challenges and opportunities. Every face that walks through the door has a story to tell, trials and tribulations to share, and for the most part, an eagerness to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that “working alone sucks” and that an alternative is out there.