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Cubicle-Sharing Website Seeks to Match Telecommuters and an Office

May 31, 2011

A year-old New York-based company that has achieved some success with a website that helps its users share their underutilized cubicle space is tapping into Facebook to expand its network.

Loosecubes connects entrepreneurs, independent workers and business travelers in need of flexible, short-term workspace with people and firms who have empty desks and a willingness to turn them into cash.

As telecommuting becomes more popular, many office suites and other companies are offering temporary work space. But Campbell McKellar, the founder and chief executive of Loosecubes, said her startup is different.

For openers, she noted that Brooklyn-based Loosecubes’ spaces are more interesting than most.

“I was more interested in nontraditional, more inspiring and more creative work places,” said McKellar, noting that she became aware of the growing need for affordable workspace for mobile workers during her real estate career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. between 2005 and 2007, and later at a small real estate development company.

It was while working for the developer during the recession that she started to notice more empty cubicles around New York City. In 2009, she and her boss agreed she could move to Maine for three months and work remotely from there.

Although she was able to conduct a normal eight-hour workday from afar, she quickly realized that it was too quiet in Maine. She needed to have more people around to be productive. That’s where the idea for Loosecubes originated.

The startup, which launched in June 2010 and raised $1.3 million in seed funding from venture capital firms Accel Partners and Battery Ventures two months later, is now in more than 30 countries and 265 cities.

Loosecubes currently has four employees and plans to hire more developers as it focuses on expanding its website. On June 7, Loosecubes will also launch a new website that will provide additional features, like the possibility to search for available space through Facebook friends and mutual friends.

The site is free and isn’t profitable, but McKellar plans to start charging transaction fees this summer. She said she does not plan to use advertising to generate revenue.  

Filed by Marine Cole of Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

 

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