The business of office sharing is booming. This market is expected to grow to 26,000 locations globally in the next three years, according to Spacing, an Israeli price comparison platform.
While Israeli-founded WeWork recently raised a whopping $760 million (which put the company’s valuation at $20 billion), hundreds of budding co-working spaces are jumping on the same bandwagon, emerging around the globe to serve mostly the startup ecosystem.
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One of the up-and-coming players in this arena is Israeli startup Urban Place (UP), which recently raised $12 million, in order to expand domestically and globally. The investors in this round include businessmen Claude Bismuth, Bernard Kalfon, and the company’s CEO Romain Levy.
With three locations in Tel Aviv, UP plans to expand to Herzliya, Haifa, and Jerusalem, as well as to Berlin, Madrid, and London.
Founded in 2016 by James Gross, UP provides boutique, collaborative workspaces for anyone from entrepreneurs to lawyers.
Each of UP’s current locations is within walking distance of the “hub of the hub” of Israeli innovation: Rothschild Boulevard. Its Psagot Building includes a homey, yet open working space, numerous small offices of varied sizes, and executive suites, thus catering to a spectrum of professionals ranging from tenderfoot startups to established executives.
UP’s pop-up branch is located on Ahad Ha’am Street. According to Levy, this location is ideal for new companies or individuals seeking a quiet but comfortable workspace with fixed-price workstations that cost $14 per day.
The company’s newest branch in Shalom Meir Tower has two floors. The first has their trademark open space with offices of varying sizes, while the second is under construction.
A desk at an UP open space starts at $386 per month, while private offices, which range from one to eight seats, start at $560 a month. Meeting rooms start at $50 per hour, whereas executive offices are available for one to four people starting at $1,063.
For comparison, Regus, a global provider of flexible workspaces, offers its users co-working desk space options in a shared office or open space. At its Rothschild Center location, it costs $17 per person per day on a 24-month agreement; that comes to roughly $518 per person per month with an agreement to stay for a minimum of two years.
WeWork, which was co-founded by Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann, seems to be more affordable. It rents a desk at an open space for $280 per month with all of the usual amenities. However, WeWork has an extensive waiting list, which would hinder immediate needs.
In addition to catering to practical day-to-day office needs like printers and fast internet, UP offers a community feel, with brunches and happy hours. Startups at UP can easily collaborate with their peers in the open space. UP’s founders also “have connections to venture capital firms, both in Israel and in Europe,” Levy tells NoCamels. “We help startups that need funding. We help them make that connection.”
Levy is confident that Urban Place will continue to thrive despite fierce competition from WeWork, Mindspace and other co-working spaces. Just like people are gradually switching from car ownership to ride-sharing services like Uber, he says: “Co-working is the future.”
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