Like many entrepreneurs, Andres Blank, the COO and co-founder of Pixable, a business that lets Facebook users print photo books of their Facebook pictures, started running his company out of his apartment. During the day the space was adequate, but the workday came to an awkward halt when his girlfriend came home from work.
“When she wasn’t there it was an office,” Blank said. “But when she was there it was more like a home, which made it harder for us to have all-nighters.”
Startups often begin in a bedroom, basement or garage, but those lucky enough to expand often need office space to accommodate that growth. Fortunately for Blank and his co-founders, Pixable managed to secure a spot at NYU Poly Varick Street, a city-funded incubator for tech startups. Along with affordable rent, the Varick Street incubator gave Pixable a rich environment in which to develop ideas.
As New York City’s tech scene continues to blossom, a host of locations like Varick Street have sprung up to support fledgling companies. Typically these spaces are open to any entrepreneur willing to pay, but some are more selective. Varick Street, for example, only accepted 27 of more than 300 companies that applied last year. What the spaces do share, other than Wi-Fi access, is a spirit of cooperation. Most are based around a co-working or shared office environment that encourages entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off each other.
“If you are launching a start-up or have one that is just one or two people, you should really try to get into a co-working space,” Fred Wilson, the Principal for Union Square Ventures, recently wrote on his blog. “It can be more cost effective, but that is not the best reason to do it. You’ll get knowledge sharing, energy, and a lot of camaraderie. And you can’t put a price on those things when you are doing a startup.”
Below is a list (in no particular order) of other locations tech entrepreneurs should consider if they’re hunting for office space in New York City.