The life of a pioneer, we were taught, is hard. But for 300+ residents in and around Hoboken, New Jersey who have been pioneering the future of work this past month at Daybase, hybrid life is now easier. As exhilarating as it has been for Daybase’s team to bring nearly two years of planning to reality in the form of our first location, it’s also…intensely unsatisfying? That’s because seeing our members seize their workdays by using Daybase to integrate work into the rest of their lives has only stoked our desire to help solve the mass challenges and opportunities of hybrid work for more people everywhere.
Taking on a problem as big, sudden and widespread as hybrid work requires a lot of different areas of expertise and resources. That’s why today, all of us at Daybase are so excited to share the news that we’ve been joined in our mission to deliver a better workday by a team of investing partners who have provided Daybase with nearly $10 million in seed round funding.
This capital will finance investments in the key building blocks of our business -- people, technology, product development, sales and marketing, brand -- that will support our ability to scale efficiently, effectively and sustainably.
By contrast, the way Daybase will expand from one location today and three by year-end, to a network of thousands of Daybases located in residential neighborhoods across the country, is through franchising and other capital-efficient partnership models. (Tip to others considering franchising or not: completing the required franchising documents and achieving state and federal approvals as a franchisor, as Daybase has done, is a very powerful way to force operational and programmatic focus around your product.)
Daybase’s COO and co-founder Doug Chambers and I feel very fortunate that the careful thought and effort we put into assembling the right combination of like-minded investors resulted in a team of partners who bring expertise in exactly the three areas Daybase is focused on navigating:
- Scaling from the startup stage (stellar VCs, including our lead investor True Ventures, as well as Company Ventures)
- Partnering with developers of mixed-use and multi-family real estate (a Pantheon of New York City real estate families, including the Milsteins, LeFraks and Rudins), and
- Building an amazing consumer brand (Good Friends, the VC firm from the founders of Allbirds, Harry's and Warby Parker)
From our investors’ respective vantage points -- whether as backers of tools for remote work, or providers of apartments and retail who see their residents spending most of their time in the vicinity of where they live, or entrepreneurial disruptors who recognize that the workday has shifted from a uniform concept served for more than a century in a wholesale manner through office buildings to a retail need best solved on an individualized basis by a brand dedicated to hybrid workers -- they recognize the same problem and opportunity we do, and share the same vision we have:
- For hundreds of millions of people worldwide who used to convene in centrally-located office buildings five days a week to do their jobs, that way of life is over for good. Just three percent of people want to go back to an office building full time, according to a recent survey conducted by consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates.
- For most of those people, the sudden stopgap solution these last two years of working from home doesn’t work. And a lot of times it stinks just barely less, or barely more, than an office commute.
- The future of work is hybrid -- spending some amount of time in a ‘hub’ office location with colleagues, and some amount of time in a ‘spoke’ location very close to home, but not necessarily at home.
Today, unless you’re one of the 300+ pioneers using Daybase’s Hoboken workspot, there is no ‘spoke’ or network of ‘spokes’.
But in launching Daybase, we did not set out simply to fill that void. We set out to settle the wide open frontier of hybrid work by developing a great product, built around the needs of hybrid workers, so they can seize their workdays wherever they are. That means:
- On-demand use, for an hour, a day, and anywhere in between, at the touch of an app;
- A quick and frictionless experience going from the sidewalk outside and getting right to work;
- A variety of purpose-built spaces for different kinds of work and different ways of working, both for individuals and for teams, and from reading/writing to using our large monitors (great for spreadsheets or design work) to making calls from soundproof booths and rooms to whiteboard brainstorming sessions;
- A hospitality experience, with a concierge dedicated to making sure Daybase members can be as productive as possible — from lending a charger to printing; and
- Workspots close to and integrated within the communities where people have reoriented the rest of their lives — where they live, eat, do errands, pick up and drop off kids, exercise.
In addition to developing a national network of local workspots, the other components of Daybase’s three-part strategy to deliver solutions for the new paradigm are offering knowledge and resources for navigating hybrid work, and curating team-based experiences for hybrid companies.
With our seed funding round closed, and with an incredible team of partners behind us, the Daybase team is focused each day on learning as much as we can from our Hoboken pioneers and the way they use our offerings, refining and perfecting the locations we will open this year in Harrison, New York and Westfield, New Jersey, and investing in the building blocks that will enable us to scale.
On behalf of the exhilarated yet intensely unsatisfied Daybase team, I hope you’ll drop in on the future of work the next time you’re in Hoboken, and I look forward to sharing our continued progress.