4 Startups that began in Coworking Spaces

Jul 27, 2020 | Coworking

Something you might find surprising is that some of the most genius business concepts were born in a Coworking office. Here are four examples of businesses just like that.

1. Uber

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It’s hard to think of the last night out that didn’t end with clumsily typing your address into a slightly-blurry screen. The story of Uber is one for the books, for few companies have seen the type of growth that Uber has achieved.

So how did this ride-sharing app go from humble startup to bringing down the entire taxi industry worldwide? Well, as you can probably guess by now, it all began in a San-Fransisco coworking office just over 10 years ago.

When co-founders Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick struggled to get a cab after an event one night, this spurred the motivation to create a more efficient way of finding a ride.

These days, Uber is so universally well-known (boasting no less than 75 million users) that it’s used more as a verb than a brand name, and asking a group of people about what condition their uber rating is in can usually be a guaranteed conversation starter no matter who you’re with.

2. Spotify

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The audio streaming app we all know and love actually began as a teeny tiny startup working in a coworking office in Stockholm, Sweden back in 2006. The founders, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon wanted to be able to figure out a way to solve the issue of people not being able to stream music easily.

The younger generations will never understand what it was like was back in the day to stream or download your favourite songs. If you wanted to listen to Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day it wasn’t as easy as typing it into a search bar. It took many failed attempts at illegally downloading off Limewire while simultaneously sacrificing your computer to many virus attacks that would make it almost unusable. 

However by 2008, Spotify was launched into the world and music was made available to millions of people for free, changing the industry and the health of people’s computers forever. By February 2018, Spotify was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

It now boasts offices in 17 countries across the globe, over 3000 employees, and a humble annual revenue of about 6 billion dollars. Not to mention the 50 million tracks available to listen to.

3. Instagram

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Another San-Fran coworking creation, this image-sharing (and now video-sharing) platform started with founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger raising $500,000 through venture capitalists. One of the most surprising things you might learn about the app is that it only took 8 weeks to build (even though there was more time and work put into preparing for it beforehand).

Once the app was launched in October 2010 it was a hit right off the bat, taking under 3 months to reach a million users. In 2012 Instagram was brought by Facebook for a measly billion dollars, and in 2016 they introduced short-term posts or ‘stories’ which was detrimental to arch-rival Snapchat.

Today the app is still going strong with over a billion users broadcasting their creative genius through photos of their nights out and their soggy toast and avocado the next day when they realise the photos from the night before don’t look half as good as they remembered them to be.

4. Indiegogo

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Indiegogo is the site that invented the word ‘crowdfunding’ and helps 10 million active users make dreams become reality every month.

Once again originating from San Fransico the Land of Startups, it was created as a result of founders Danae Ringelmann, Eric Schell and Slava Rubin struggling to find the funds to achieve their goals. Ringelmann, in particular, had a passion for helping the little guy out after watching her parents struggle to finance their small business.

The site launched in 2008 and since then, the Indiegogo community has seen more than 800,000 projects come to fruition over 235 different countries and territories. The creation of this site has also spurred on somewhat of a movement towards alternative funding that has seen the success of other similar sites such as Go-Fund-Me.

Not only has this concept helped people wanting to start businesses, but arguably even bigger things such as helping people get life-saving surgery or couples who can’t afford IVF treatments to have a baby. And it all began, you guessed it, in a coworking office.