Source: Entrepreneur.com Written by: Carly Okyle
FEBRUARY 10, 2016
Flexible work spaces are super hot right now. And, for one big name in the space, things are about to get hotter.
Breather, an app that allows entrepreneurs, freelancers and other flexible workers to rent classy, curated office spaces by the hour, announced today that is expanding to new cities. The move is the result of a deal with commercial real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, which has signed on as Breather’s exclusive broker.
The company plans to break into Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Toronto and London this year. Right now, it’s in New York City, Boston, the San Francisco Bay area and Ottawa, Canada.
Traditionally, entrepreneurs have either had to sign long-term leases for office space or work out of coffee shops. In the last few years, alternatives such as Breather have created on-demand solutions, offering workers rooms for meetings and other events with the swipe of a finger.
“We’ll never eliminate the office, but the office needs to adapt to the person,” says Breather’s co-founder and CEO Julien Smith.
Things have been moving quickly for Breather, which has raised more than $25 million in venture capital since launching in 2012. Two years ago, the Montreal-based company offered just three spaces for rent in New York City. Today it offers 50, says Smith.
In total, Breather says it currently has 100 spaces available for rent across North America and hundreds of thousands of users. Rates vary by city and space; in New York, a room can be rented for anywhere from $25 to $100 an hour. The average customer books a room for between two and five hours, according to Smith. Rooms can also be rented for up to a few weeks.
Breather is not alone in taking advantage of the demand for flexible work environments. LiquidSpace, available in 46 states as well as Australia and Canada, has raised $26 million since Mark Gilbreath and Doug Marinaro founded it in 2010. The company offers a variety of short-term options, as well as options that can last for a year or more. Co-working space WeWork has raised $1 billion from investors. WeWork, which offers month-to-month rentals, is in 14 cities in the U.S., plus Israel, the U.K., Canada, Netherlands and Germany.
For Breather’s CEO, the next up and coming area is Asia, although the company hasn’t announced any formal plans to expand there yet.
As the company grows, Smith hopes to make Breather the go-to spot for the flexible workforce. “Freelancers are a big portion of the population now. I really think that we can be a big part of the everyday worker’s existence,” he says.