A Q&A with Loosecubes Chief Happiness Officer Anna Thomas. The Brooklyn, New York–based company was founded in June, 2010, and recently raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. Investors include New Enterprise Associates, Revolution Ventures, Accel Partners and Battery Ventures.
SUB: Please describe what Loosecubes is, and the value proposition you bring to coworking.
Thomas: Loosecubes is a peer-to-peer office sharing community. Our platform allows companies that have an extra desk, or ‘loose cube,’ or two to open their office to coworking on a daily basis. By doing so, they’re able to invite potential collaborators, new hires, referrals and friends into their space, and build their business as a result. Individuals in need of a happy and productive place to work can book a desk at one of hundreds of inspirational offices around the world.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Thomas: Members of the Loosecubes community are part of a growing workforce that is more mobile and flexible than ever. They are independent professionals, entrepreneurs, and business travelers who have the freedom to work remotely, but lack a productive place to work. They are people who are tackling hard work alone, who wish they had coworkers, and who enjoy mixing up their work routine and environment.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Thomas: Starbucks and the home office are the closest free, or nearly free, substitutions for a Loosecube.
SUB: What differentiates Loosecubes from the competition?
Thomas: Loosecubes offers the productivity, connections and refreshment that a coffee shop or home office lacks.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Thomas: Loosecubes was founded in June of 2010. In an effort to immerse ourselves in the premise of our business, we started working out of New Work City, a community coworking space in New York City. We shared the Loosecubes concept with just about anyone that would listen to gain feedback and leverage his or her expertise. The experience proved to be invaluable.
We also formed an advisory board of individuals whose depth of knowledge and expertise allowed us to confidently navigate the challenges we faced as non-technical founders.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Loosecubes? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Thomas: Campbell (McKellar) conceived of the idea for Loosecubes when working remotely in Maine for a New York City real estate development firm one summer. She realized that although it was surprisingly easy to take her bricks-and-mortar job on the road, that some days she needed a more productive place to work. She dreamed of a wifi-equipped artist’s studio that would allow her to plug in when she needed to. So she decided to build a website that would help her find that studio, no matter where she was in the world.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Thomas: Building the team posed a significant challenge to us—especially early on. In particular, finding and recruiting technical talent—especially in New York City—was incredibly tough, and without significant funding, consulting engineers were reticent to sign-on full-time.
SUB: You recently raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Thomas: Over the next several months, we’ll be further transitioning Loosecubes from what was once a considered to be a coworking directory site to a workspace sharing community. We’ll be building out our social features to facilitate connections between members, and hiring for some key positions within our team.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
SUB: What are your goals for Loosecubes over the next year or so?
Thomas: Our members are already using Loosecubes to find a productive place to work and meet people around them. Over the next 6-to-12 months, we want to build out our product in a way that amplifies the friendly and professional context of Loosecubes and makes those connections even more visible and valuable. We’re going invite-only in July in order to test those features.
Loosecubes – www.loosecubes.com