7 Fundraising Tips from the Startup360 Panel at NextSpace Berkeley

March 11th, 2014 by Gretchen

Bhavin-220x250

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.
Cheers,
Jeremy

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.

 

5 Basics for Getting Started with Interns

July 23rd, 2013 by nextspace

Internship Basics for Your Business: How To Get Started

You’ve probably heard the word “intern” buzzing in the news lately. Whether you plan to see the movie The Internship or have read about the new Federal Guidelines for unpaid internships, here are five basics steps to help you get started.

1. Where do you find interns?

Interns must be paid through an organization or receive college credit.  Contact an international organization like Intrax or find out if your local University or Community College has an internship program.

2. What type of internship can I offer?

Determine the type of internship you want to offer. Whether you provide an internship in the area of Social Media or Community Outreach, it should clearly describe the positions as educational or training-based.

3. Where do I advertise?

Advertisements or postings are generally submitted to specific organizations or universities.

4. Do I need to interview potential interns?

Once you have received and reviewed resumes, interview potential interns. This might be the student’s first interview so explain the process to them before they come in for the interview.

5. Should I contact the organization or school directly?

Communicate with the organization to confirm required hours worked to receive credit and find out if there is any initial paperwork to fill out. Interns generally work a minimum of 10 hours per week to receive college credit.

For more information about the new Federal Guidelines to internships visit: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf

Community Builder Job Opening (Full Time)

July 2nd, 2013 by iris

NextSpace Community Builder

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 s**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 Community Builder 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 (your boss) 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.

Qualifications:

  • 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 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 doesn’t stop until the problem is solved.
  • 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’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.
  • 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.

This is a full time (40 hours/week) entry level job. The salary starts at $35,000 annually. We offer full health benefits 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 (at) nextspace (dot) us.  And be sure to take a spin through www.NextSpace.us as well.  Have fun!

NextSpace is an equal opportunity employer.

 

NextSpace Members: Get the most out of your membership!

June 27th, 2013 by sara

NextSpace is working hard to bring you all the coworking goodness you could desire, and then some! To add a cherry on top of your membership, we’re rolling out some sweet new discounts and free stuff that we think you will love! (Hey, who doesn’t want an ongoing cell phone discount?) These perks will be available throughout the summer, and we’ll be highlighting a few of them every couple of weeks so stay tuned. Starting it off we have some perk-tastic offerings from: AnyPerk, Represent Running and SPUD.
 

AnyPerk

Anyperk is a platform that provides real employee perks and discounts to companies of all sizes. We partner with hundreds of vendors that provide employee discounts in fitness, entertainment, travel, and many more. And these are seriously good, we’re talkin AT&T, Verizon, Burke Williams, 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, Moo.com, Lowe’s…you get the picture. NextSpace members get 6 months FREE! And it’s $5 per month after that if you want to keep receiving your sweet cell phone discount, movie tix and health club deals!
Ask Your Community Curator for Redemption Code!
 

Represent Running

This one goes out to our SF / Berkeley members. The crazy ones, the ones that like to run. Knock yourself out. Grab a fellow NextSpacer, sign up , and get to training. We’re a proud sponsor of the Represent Running series and our members get 15% off when signing up for any of their races. Coming up next is July 21: 5 Mile / 1 Mile road race in San Rafael. Grab your friends & join us July 21. Get registered today! http://www.run415mile.com
Ask Your Community Curator for Redemption Code!
 

SPUD (Sustainable Urban Produce Delivery)

Founded on the idea that there should be a more sustainable way to buy your groceries, SPUD.com has been connecting local farmers and food producers to the community by using a just-in-time home delivery system. NextSpace members get $25 off their first delivery!
Ask Your Community Curator for Redemption Code!
 

NextKids Caregiver (Potrero Hill, San Francisco)

May 13th, 2013 by rebecca

Us

We are NextKids and we believe that we’re better together. We’re all about what’s next with family care. We’ve extended NextSpace’s great collaborative workspace model with an innovative offering that gives parents a collaborative space to get their work done and meet other cool people, all while their children (3months – 3yrs) engage in play-based activities that help them thrive. We celebrate a young family’s development by paying special attention to the attachment between child, parent, and staff and promoting healthy exploration with a consistent, stable base to return to. We encourage parents to utilize our staff as resourceful, mindful, and active participants in their child’s life. We believe all children deserve thoughtful, respectful care and see this solution as a way to bring multiple parts of life into balance.

We are pretty jazzed about what this idea can mean for families, society, and the world – and we’re seeking excellent infant and toddler caregivers to launch this concept in San Francisco. We are hiring for full-time as well as part-time caregivers.

You

Every NextSpace employee helps to foster the NextSpace community so our members can work and be at their creative, innovative, and productive best. Visit www.NextSpace.us to learn about what our parents will be up to. As a NextKids team member, you are pioneering the r(e)volution of how we work & live. Your work supports the entire NextSpacer family.

  • You have a passion for children and their development
  • Your education and life experiences complement your passion – you have a B.A. or Master’s in psychology, education, or child development and 4+ years experience caring for infants or toddlers. If you don’t meet these criteria, share with us a relevant and compelling reason from your experience about why you’re the perfect caregiver
  • You have great communication and interpersonal skills, as your job supports both child and parent and you are a key point of contact with the parent as they bounce back and forth between work & play throughout the day
  • You have some knowledge of attachment and the importance of play—but if you don’t, you’re open to learning these key concepts and receiving feedback on implementation
  • You are a constant learner and are curious, fun, patient, innovative, mindful, dedicated, and respectful of other’s ideas, thoughts, and feelings
  • You take your job seriously, but not yourself!

Together

If you feel us + you = better, we invite you to send Sarah@nextspace.us your resume, 3 references (2 professional +1 personal), and a cover letter telling us what excites you most about this concept, a key element of your caregiving philosophy, and some fun facts about you. If it feels like a match, you’ll be invited for an interview.

NextKids. We’re better together.

NextSpace offers great benefits and has an exceptional work culture. We’re an equal opportunity employer.

NextSpace Community Builder (Potrero Hill, San Francisco)

May 13th, 2013 by rebecca

NextSpace Community Builder at NextSpace Potrero location.

NextSpace Coworking + Innovation, Inc. is an amazing company to work for. It’s fun, vibrant, has room for advancement, and we train and develop you to be your best self. We need help managing our coworking community of freelancers, independent consultants, start-ups, and small businesses.  We’re hiring a Community Builder 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.

And at our NextSpace Potrero location, we’re shakin’ things up a bit. We’re launching NextKids (http://www.nextkids.us) – a great on-site coplay carespace for the children of our members. So in addition to being an awesome Ns CeeBee, you’ll get to experience why we think that family/work integration is key to success. We believe that “We’re better together” – and as the Ns CeeBee, you’ll get to know the infant and toddler NextKids of our NextSpacers and foster care and community for the whole family.

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 Ns CeeBee should be done with this idea in mind.

The NS CeeBee handles all the tasks required to enroll 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 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 at events. Occasional evenings and weekends are required, but they are occasional.

You are also in charge of assisting the Community Curator (your boss) 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.

Another part of your job is finding, hiring, and training interns. You are in charge of the internship program, which will teach you management skills, communication skills, and be a big help to you in your day-to-day tasks.

You will also occasionally be responsible for giving a caregiver a well-deserved break.

Hey, every job has some not-so-sexy responsibilities. And in this job, you are in charge of ensuring the space feels welcoming, supportive, and professional. 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 dives into this stuff with gusto and good humor.

Qualifications:

  • You gotta like people. That’s a big one. Huge, even. And you gotta like kids. Equally huge.
  • You’ll do really well in this role if you’re self-motivated, detail-oriented, and like to work as part of a team.
  • You are a creative troubleshooter who doesn’t stop until the problem is solved.
  • You have excellent customer service skills and the patience to handle all situations with grace.
  • 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 Window’s device that’s a plus.
  • We 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.
  • 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’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.
  • Understand the needs of entrepreneurs and freelancers while understanding the unique needs of families.
  • 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.

This is a full time (40 hours/week) entry level job. The salary starts at $35,000 annually. We offer full health benefits, an employee stock option package, and other great team 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 (at) nextspace (dot) us.  And be sure to spin through www.NextSpace.us as well.

NextSpace is an equal opportunity employer.

 

 

America: A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps

April 1st, 2013 by jeremy

America: A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps.
 

 
The debate over telecommuting that Yahoo has spurred raises an important issue, but it’s not simply about workplace flexibility. It begs questions about the fundamental nature of work itself. By 2020, more than 40 percent of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers, according to a study conducted by software company Intuit in 2010. That’s more than 60 million people.

We are quickly becoming a nation of permanent freelancers and temps. In 2006, the last time the federal government counted, the number of independent and contingent workers—contractors, temps, and the self-employed—stood at 42.6 million, or about 30 percent of the workforce. How many are there today? We have no idea since 2006 was the last year that the government bothered to count this huge and growing sector of the American workforce.

Following the recent economic downturn, the employment rate has recovered at a frustratingly slowly pace, except in one area: temporary, contingent, and independent workers. Between 2009 and 2012, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of temporary employees rose by 29 percent. A survey of the 200 largest companies found that temporary workers represented, on average, 22 percent of their workforce, and that percentage is growing. Workers from all different industries (not just tech) are discovering that they’re able to be productive outside of the corporate office and without a long-term employer. At my company, NextSpace, we provide membership to contingent and independent workers from industries as varied as marketing, law, media, accounting, entertainment, construction, art, architecture, and healthcare, along with hundreds of programmers and developers.

The forces behind this sea-change are many: the rapid adoption of mobile technology, ubiquitous internet access, and a general sense of malaise powered by the vague yet nagging notion that we’re just not meant to work all day sitting in a cubicle. Add to that the waste of time, energy and brainpower that commuting engenders, and it becomes apparent that our definition of “workplace” will never be the same. It may seem like a tug of war between companies and workers, but in fact they share common goals: using technology and mobility to maximize productivity, innovation, and well-being.

Given these trends, companies need to proactively create what I call “approved workplace ecosystems” that will likely include the corporate campus, home office, co-working spaces, the corner coffee shop, client/vendor sites, or any place with a decent WiFi or 4G signal. But a real ecosystem is about more than just a collection of places. It’s about the norms, the culture, and the vibe that knit these places together.

At NextSpace, we foster a culture and community among these independent disaggregated workers by creating common ground. Brown bag lunches and informal lectures bring people together over ideas. Member happy hours bring people together over food and drink. And when all else fails, our community curators often literally drag people together based on common personal or professional bonds (the community March Madness pool works, too!)

Traditionally, being self-employed used to come with a social stigma; you were self-employed if you couldn’t get a “real job.” Work was inconsistent and so was the pay. Today, the opportunities for contingent, project-based work are exploding, as is the development of tools that allow people to work independently across industries like software, design, marketing, legal services, architecture, healthcare, and engineering.

As this trend accelerates, problems will arise since the current system is heavily geared toward people working in conventional ways. Those who have full- or part-time work with established companies receive a regular paycheck, employer-sponsored benefits (if they’re lucky), and get a tidy IRS W-2 form at the end of the year for taxes. What people find when they leave the system is a confusing, byzantine, and slightly scary world of health insurance, taxes, pensions, and regulations.

Like it or not, companies and the systems that serve them are going to have to change because the workforce evolution is already underway.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

Jeremy Neuner is the CEO and cofounder of NextSpace, a company that builds co-working communities. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book The Rise of the Naked Economy due out in July. All posts »

America: A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps.

Coworking – Not Just for the Early Adopters Anymore

March 28th, 2013 by rebecca

Last week 5 NextSpace teamsters, 1 baby, and one daddy of the baby, attended GCUC, the Global Coworking Unconference Conference. There were close to 300 people, and over 100 spaces represented. The conversation moved from Steve King (not THAT Steve King), sharing that coworking has crossed the chasm and is now a mainstream workplace option around the globe, to Benjamin Dyett from the Grind sharing that coworking is not just for the startup crowd, but for established professionals and can, in fact, be extremely profitable, to Chris Mach from AT&T, discussing how the tools, policies, and physical environment for corporations is changing rapidly, and coworking is an option that is on the table for the first time.

At one point early on, the conference felt deflating – the venue was cold, the lighting was bad, and some of the content was repetitive from last year. Fortunately, things turned around after that, and ultimately the conference left me feeling really excited and inspired, and particularly proud of what we have created here at NextSpace. We are the largest coworking company in the country, but have managed to retain a high level of authenticity at each of our spaces, despite our size. For this, I credit Jeremy Neuner, our CEO, for instilling and continually reiterating a really strong and awesome culture. “Take your job seriously, but not yourself,” and “You’re doing a helluva job, don’t f**k it up” (with a wink and a smile), feature prominently in our daily lives.

One thing that stood out at the conference, was the amount of give and take, and the caliber of attendees. Even the newbies had a lot to contribute! I had a wonderful conversation with Mark from Plugin, a 10-day old space in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He asked if he could pick my brain, and we spent an hour reviewing his space, business model, financial model, and target audience. It was an extraordinary conversation, and I learned just as much about how a financial model can work at a small space in the ‘burbs, as Mark learned from me about best practices, things to look out for, and things to consider as he ramps up.

All in all, the messages I took away were this: Coworking is here to stay, and will only increase in quality and quantity in the coming years. The early adopters and startups are using coworking spaces, but so is everyone else, now! Corporations are also starting to really consider coworking as a viable place for their workforce. You don’t need to work at a corporate campus to be uber-productive. There is money to be made in coworking, but it needs to be planned and executed extremely carefully and should not be something you do “on the side”. Last but not least, I learned that NextSpace plays a genuinely catalytic role in the industry, helping guide best practices,  showing how one can make money and scale, and pushing the bar ever higher for the quality of the experience for our members, and the underlying importance of a strong and cohesive community. Oh, and coworking is always a good reason to wear an orange wig (photo is, from left to right, myself, Benjamin from Grind, and Liz from Link Coworking).