75 N.Y.C. startups provide a glimpse of what they want from office space

By: Anthony Noto

A startup office has a certain feel and culture. Ping pong tables and beer on tap are just some of the amenities entrepreneurs in Silicon Alley deem essential when setting up their office space. However, fun distractions are not as important as say, sharing under utilized space.

That was one of the several discoveries made by SquareFoot, a web and mobile search tool for commercial office space packaged with broker services. Dubbed “the Urban Compass for commercial space,” the New York firm conducted a survey of 75 N.Y.C. startups to better understand what they look for in office space, and which features they find important.

While strides have been made thanks to the success of co-working space providers such as WeWork, Barclays and NeueHouse, startups still have a lot of concerns — considering how daunting it is to find space. Here are some of the survey findings:

  • 68 percent say cost or location are determining factors, more so than building amenities, design and lease length.
  • 52 percent will be looking for a new office within the next six months.
  • 41 percent would be open to sharing underutilized space with other startups and entrepreneurs to offset costs.
  • 12 percent considered office amenities to be an important requirement.

Jason Gelman, the VP of finance at Body Labs, was in charge of the startup’s new office space which it is moving into on May 1. The company is going to be situated on 18th between Broadway and Park Avenue, a decision it made after looking at about five different spaces since January, Gelman told New York Business Journal.

“It was a very quick turnaround. No one around here has slept,” he said. “We were looking for a space that would allow us to recruit and retain talent, a space that has an amazing location, natural light and was big enough for our team.”

Body Labs, which recently secured licenses to several new technologies, considered moving to the garment district for optimal rent, but decided to stick with the proximity between Union Square and the Flatiron District to accommodate travel times for its employees. Right now it has just under 30 employees.

The company is also subletting its underutilized space to another group, Gelman added. Of the other startups that participated in the survey:

  • 46 percent currently have their own office space.
  • 29 percent work from a coworking space like WeWork.
  • 14 percent sublease partial space/desks within another company’s office.
  • 11 percent are operating out of a home, coffee shop or other public space.

Most of the startups surveyed were either bootstrapped or in a seed stage, at 36 percent each, followed by Series A (17 percent), Series B (8 percent) and Series C (4 percent). TheSquareFoot is backed by Manhattan-based Primary Venture Partners (formerly High Peaks Venture Partners), as well as RRE Ventures, Triangle Peak Partners and several angel investors.

View source version on New York Business Journal.