London gets a Breather!
Breather, a short-term office space and meeting room startup operates in a similar manner to Airbnb but focuses on the professional market as opposed to residential.
The startup was founded in the US and is backed by Valar Ventures’ Peter Thiel. Offering work space that is easy to book and rent, the company targets startup businesses, which are often trying to keep their costs down, as well as providing people with a professional office space to meet in, as opposed to a local coffee shop.
Julien Smith, co-founder and Chief Executive came up with the idea of Breather having gone through his own challenges whilst working as a business writer and having to use various busy coffee shops to work in. He stated: “We know that rents, rates and overheads in global cities are constricting factors that hamper growth and the establishment of a startup”. As such, Breather lends a helping hand to these companies who might be struggling with overheads.
Breather has been operating in North America for the past four years, across Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Montreal, offering office space for short-term rental periods for as little as 30 minutes! The company has gone from strength to strength, attracting a lot of investment as well as high profile customers, including Facebook, Uber and Buzzfeed.
With such a diverse customer base already, including these larger corporations, it is little wonder the company is setting its sights on London. Smith commented that the company’s customers: “might work in design, creative industries, or consultancy and when they need to meet a client, talk confidentially, deliver a sense of professionalism that doesn’t allow you to meet in a coffee shop or pub, this is where Breather comes in.”
June this year saw Breather kick off its efforts in the UK capital, having seen great success across the US. Starting off with three spaces in Soho and Shoreditch, Smith has reported that things are going well and the business is growing rapidly.
He doesn’t appear too worried about the effects of Brexit either, stating: “We don’t think about it. We take a long view on cities that are economic powerhouses. There’s nothing that isn’t going to make New York City not New York City for example,” said Smith. “It [Brexit] doesn’t really affect us. We’re bullish in terms of the city and we don’t see that changing.”
He also pointed out that the company could benefit from an upward or downward trend in the property market since people: “will need temporary space more in a downturn as they’re more reluctant to take on something in the long-term.”
Whilst the move to London is the company’s first step into Europe, other major cities are no doubt in Breather’s sights. It will be interesting to see which is next!