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THE STORY OF THE 
WORKBAR NETWORK 
European Coworking Conference, 
Lisbon 2014 
Bill Jacobson 
bill@workbar.com 
@instantbill 
617.388.7136
Boston Attractions 
Sports!
Boston Attractions 
Sports! Schools!
Boston Attractions 
Sports! Schools! Coworking!
Boston is Crazy for Coworking! 
London Boston
ROUND 1: THE BEGINNING 
ROUND 2: REFINEMENT 
ROUND 3: NETWORK
A Start With a Personal Want
A Start With a Personal Want
What do we want? 
Improve work/life 
balance 
Foster community Be convenient and 
enjoyable 
redo the office around people choosing to be there
Embrace Work/Life Blur
Embrace Work/Life Blur
Embrace Work/Life Blur
Embrace Work/Life Blur
Foster Community 
through diverse interaction 
Prof. Robert Krim 
Theory of bump and connect
Convenient and Enjoyable 
through a flexible membership model 
access 
occasional 24/7 
backpack lots of stuff 
space 
Daily 
$30/day 
Part-Time 
$125/month 
Full-Time 
$350/month 
Dedicated 
$600/month 
Teamroom 
$600/month 
times # people 
All card carrying members 
Companies have members with different membership types
Lead to Hybrid Space Model 
80/20 rule
It Worked! 
800 sq m center A membership of: 
~ 100 monthly members 
~ 50 daily members 
Brings: 
50-80 people each weekday 
30-35% profit margin, 
but… 
nothing to write home about with 
only 800 sq m. 
(sort of)
A couple years on, the tech companies
ROUND 1: THE BEGINNING 
ROUND 2: REFINEMENT 
ROUND 3: NETWORK
Open Another Location 
Great Location Larger Space – 1,200 sq m 
Urban live/work neighborhood, 
steps from transit, 
young demographic 
Better to amortize costs and 
improve rev/profit potential
Evolve the 80/20 Space Model 
Café – Commons – Study – Switchboard 
Street access, setup like a café, only for members, no dedicated or 
office seats, doubles as event space
Evolve the 80/20 Space Model 
Commons 
Study Switchboard 
collaborative area a quiet zone phone friendly 
Each neighborhood with slightly different setup, 
All with a mix of open, dedicated seating and teamrooms
It Worked! 
(even better!) 
Cambridge membership of: 
~ 250 monthly members 
~ 70 daily members 
Brings: 
120-160 people each weekday 
Still 30-35% profit margin due to 
higher rent, but… 
Bigger is better.
but… Trouble in Paradise 
Rents keep going up Hard to scale a real community 
Problem 2: 150 people is upper limit for 
a cohesive community 
Problem 3: 4,000 sq m would mean 800+ 
paying members 
Problem 1: Model struggles 
with rising rents
and… Commute Matters 
Problem 4: 10-20 min ideal commute means locations beyond dense 
urban cores 
Redmond & Mokhtarian, 2001, Transportation
ROUND 1: THE BEGINNING 
ROUND 2: REFINEMENT 
ROUND 3: NETWORK
It’s about the people…
It’s about the people…
What’s Next?
What’s Next?
What’s Next?
Workbar Network Package 
Member Connection and Space 
Management Tools 
Financial, Operational and 
Community Procedures and Advisors
Workbar Network Package 
Member Connection and Space 
Management Tools 
Financial, Operational and 
Community Procedures and Advisors
Workbar Network – Outerspaces 
Stuart Levinson 
• Provides month-to-month 
• Receive license fee for space 
Jon Steiman 
Steffan Berelowitz 
Nina McIntryre 
Kit Sirota 
Rick O’Halloran 
Alec Sibilia 
Dave Silva 
Mary Monat 
Kim Courtney 
dedicated workspace at their 
office 
(~85% membership fee) 
• Card carrying Workbar 
members 
• Dedicated space at 
Network location 
• Part Time Access to 
Workbar Locations 
Network Host 
Members
Workbar Network – Powered-By 
• Vetted set of regional coworking 
space operators 
• Operates using Workbar provided 
management platform and 
operational guidelines 
• Reciprocal Part time access to 
Workbar and Workbar Network 
locations 
• One membership community 
• 10% recurring revenue fee to 
Workbar 
Area Coworking Spaces and Incubators
Workbar Network – Center of Excellence 
Industry Specific Locations 
• Members companies apply to be part 
of the center 
• Network partner provides 
• Dedicated workspace 
• Beta-client opportunities 
• Mentorship 
• Members are part of Workbar 
community with access to Workbar 
locations and events 
• Host pays Workbar program fees 
FinTech AdTech HealthTech
A People-Centric Workspace Network 
Urban Hubs 
25 Location or Industry 
partner locations 
Boston 
Cambridge 
Events Members Digital
That’s the 
Story! 
Bill Jacobson 
bill@workbar.com 
@instantbill 
617.388.7136

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Evolving Business Models Workbar Boston

  • 1. THE STORY OF THE WORKBAR NETWORK European Coworking Conference, Lisbon 2014 Bill Jacobson bill@workbar.com @instantbill 617.388.7136
  • 4. Boston Attractions Sports! Schools! Coworking!
  • 5. Boston is Crazy for Coworking! London Boston
  • 6. ROUND 1: THE BEGINNING ROUND 2: REFINEMENT ROUND 3: NETWORK
  • 7. A Start With a Personal Want
  • 8. A Start With a Personal Want
  • 9. What do we want? Improve work/life balance Foster community Be convenient and enjoyable redo the office around people choosing to be there
  • 14. Foster Community through diverse interaction Prof. Robert Krim Theory of bump and connect
  • 15. Convenient and Enjoyable through a flexible membership model access occasional 24/7 backpack lots of stuff space Daily $30/day Part-Time $125/month Full-Time $350/month Dedicated $600/month Teamroom $600/month times # people All card carrying members Companies have members with different membership types
  • 16. Lead to Hybrid Space Model 80/20 rule
  • 17. It Worked! 800 sq m center A membership of: ~ 100 monthly members ~ 50 daily members Brings: 50-80 people each weekday 30-35% profit margin, but… nothing to write home about with only 800 sq m. (sort of)
  • 18. A couple years on, the tech companies
  • 19. ROUND 1: THE BEGINNING ROUND 2: REFINEMENT ROUND 3: NETWORK
  • 20. Open Another Location Great Location Larger Space – 1,200 sq m Urban live/work neighborhood, steps from transit, young demographic Better to amortize costs and improve rev/profit potential
  • 21. Evolve the 80/20 Space Model Café – Commons – Study – Switchboard Street access, setup like a café, only for members, no dedicated or office seats, doubles as event space
  • 22. Evolve the 80/20 Space Model Commons Study Switchboard collaborative area a quiet zone phone friendly Each neighborhood with slightly different setup, All with a mix of open, dedicated seating and teamrooms
  • 23. It Worked! (even better!) Cambridge membership of: ~ 250 monthly members ~ 70 daily members Brings: 120-160 people each weekday Still 30-35% profit margin due to higher rent, but… Bigger is better.
  • 24. but… Trouble in Paradise Rents keep going up Hard to scale a real community Problem 2: 150 people is upper limit for a cohesive community Problem 3: 4,000 sq m would mean 800+ paying members Problem 1: Model struggles with rising rents
  • 25. and… Commute Matters Problem 4: 10-20 min ideal commute means locations beyond dense urban cores Redmond & Mokhtarian, 2001, Transportation
  • 26. ROUND 1: THE BEGINNING ROUND 2: REFINEMENT ROUND 3: NETWORK
  • 27. It’s about the people…
  • 28. It’s about the people…
  • 32. Workbar Network Package Member Connection and Space Management Tools Financial, Operational and Community Procedures and Advisors
  • 33. Workbar Network Package Member Connection and Space Management Tools Financial, Operational and Community Procedures and Advisors
  • 34. Workbar Network – Outerspaces Stuart Levinson • Provides month-to-month • Receive license fee for space Jon Steiman Steffan Berelowitz Nina McIntryre Kit Sirota Rick O’Halloran Alec Sibilia Dave Silva Mary Monat Kim Courtney dedicated workspace at their office (~85% membership fee) • Card carrying Workbar members • Dedicated space at Network location • Part Time Access to Workbar Locations Network Host Members
  • 35. Workbar Network – Powered-By • Vetted set of regional coworking space operators • Operates using Workbar provided management platform and operational guidelines • Reciprocal Part time access to Workbar and Workbar Network locations • One membership community • 10% recurring revenue fee to Workbar Area Coworking Spaces and Incubators
  • 36. Workbar Network – Center of Excellence Industry Specific Locations • Members companies apply to be part of the center • Network partner provides • Dedicated workspace • Beta-client opportunities • Mentorship • Members are part of Workbar community with access to Workbar locations and events • Host pays Workbar program fees FinTech AdTech HealthTech
  • 37. A People-Centric Workspace Network Urban Hubs 25 Location or Industry partner locations Boston Cambridge Events Members Digital
  • 38. That’s the Story! Bill Jacobson bill@workbar.com @instantbill 617.388.7136

Editor's Notes

  1. NEED TO FINISH
  2. NEED TO FINISH
  3. NEED TO FINISH
  4. NEED TO FINISH
  5. Average one way ideal: 16 min 14% want more than 25 min 12% want less than 10 min Remaining 74% want 10- 25 min
  6. We saw a need to support our members through all the stages of their business. Even if it meant leaving the nest, we could all still thrive in the same community tree. Outerspaces allowed us to do this. Here’s a great success story. We had two members, Jessica and Shannon who were running a legal practice out of Workbar Boston. They grew their team and needed more space. We worked with them to help support their space needs by placing other Workbar members in their new space, thus keeping them in the community. This symbiotic relationship allowed them to thrive. Keeping them in the Workbar community even resulted in a marriage between Shannon and another one of our members…
  7. We saw a need to support our members through all the stages of their business. Even if it meant leaving the nest, we could all still thrive in the same community tree. Outerspaces allowed us to do this. Here’s a great success story. We had two members, Jessica and Shannon who were running a legal practice out of Workbar Boston. They grew their team and needed more space. We worked with them to help support their space needs by placing other Workbar members in their new space, thus keeping them in the community. This symbiotic relationship allowed them to thrive. Keeping them in the Workbar community even resulted in a marriage between Shannon and another one of our members…