(This article was originally published on the GreenIvory blog).

Drop boxes (not really mail boxes) at the CIC co-working spot
Drop boxes (not really mail boxes) at the CIC co-working spot

It’s not a big secret, GreenIvory would like to extend its operations in the US and extend what we already have in Durham, NC. This is why I am in Boston, MA. this week. I am pretty sure that there are a few Bostonians who want to double the efficiency of their web sites, nope?

Nevertheless, after my meeting, I went to visit two co-working places.

At GreenIvory, we do a lot of telecommuting and we think that co-working spots are a huge benefit in the way we work. We already have some experience with such spaces, thanks the vision of a good friend in Strasbourg.

Sergio Ferreira at the WorkBar
Sergio Ferreira at the WorkBar

It made sense to see whether this model could be adapted to GreenIvory on its US operations.

I started by visiting CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) and the WorkBar.

CIC started 10 years ago and it is ideally located on the 14th floor, dominating MIT, the Charles River… Very inspiring. They have different model, starting by co-working spaces, which can turn into nice and flexible offices when the start-up matures. Lovely. A very nice lady showed us the place and drove us around. Prices start at $250/month.

The MIT (Massachussets Institute of Technology) Police - yep, you are really covered there
The MIT (Massachussets Institute of Technology) Police – yep, you are really covered there

WorkBar is a little more fun. It’s almost downtown Boston, within walking distance from the Federal Building and in front of the bus station. It’s kind of a mix between Regus and a start-up. Evona showed us the place and it was very pleasant, I just wanted to sit, pull-out my Mac and start working. WorkBar has several places where you can isolate yourself if you want. Prices start at $20/day.

A few conclusions from this Bostonian tour…

 

For us, the consumer, GreenIvory… If I had to start GreenIvory again in Boston, I’ll go to CIC. Wow… this place is incredible in terms of location. Now, as I need some space from time to time, WorkBar is more flexible for people like us… Of course, both are not incompatible as I hope our business to grow here. Definitively such places will help us.

For the other project of doing such an open-co-working space in Strasbourg, I am really surprised by the lack of benchmark from the projects I have seen on my “native” side of the pound. Co-working spaces are small, CIC is about 50 to 60 sq meter (but CIC has a lot more room for non co-working space), can hold 40 people max, WorkBar is bigger, roughly 120 sq meter…

Both CIC and WorkBar are private companies. I don’t see how / why they would be subsidized by the local gov’t. Hey, we are in the US, baby!

I urge my friends in Strasbourg to rethink their model. Boston and the metro area combine 4.5m people, this is about 2.5 times the size of Alsace…

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