I’m looking for feedback on my second business that I’m started. My first company provides primary care/mental healthcare services to rural areas here in Oregon. We have two clinics, 25 staff, and did about $2m in revenue last year. I’ve raised over $750k for that business through institutional financing, angel, debt, and grant financing so far.
While running my first company for the last four years, I became increasingly frustrated with how hard it was to find the perfect place to work from. Home is too isolating and there are too many distractions. Coffee shops work ok, but I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone to one and haven’t been able to find a seat/outlet/good wifi/parking/noise level etc. Libraries are insecure and not a professional workplace. Coworking offices are almost always downtown (traffic and parking is a nightmare in most large cities), are expensive, and the smaller coworking offices that aren’t downtown are too small and offer poor value/design.
What I found myself needing time and time again was the perfect place to work remotely that was better than a coffee shop, but without the commitment of a coworking office. I’ve spent the last five months researching/refining the concept and have arrived at SweetSeats – a new type of workspace for remote workers.
SweetSeats will have ~20 private offices, and sell monthly memberships for $299 (similar to existing coworking offices) but the model is different in 3 main ways from the best current coworking models:
1) We locate 1-5 miles from downtown in cities of 500k+. This enables a low traffic commute, allows us to offer free parking, and means our real estate is cheaper to rent. The suburban/semi-suburban market is very under-served in terms of coworking offices in most large cities I’ve researched.
2) We focus on design that’s mid-century modern but with over 1,000 plants in our 15,000+ sq ft facilities. Our buildings are open concept so that our customers can enjoy working in what feels like a huge, modern coffee shop but with all the shortfalls of coffee shops removed.
3) We offer low prices and high value. Customers get unlimited free drinks from our in-house barista (coffee, lattes, craft tea, etc), guaranteed seating/outlets, a choice to sit in one of our 125 desks w/second monitors ready to use or 125 ergonomic couches/accent chairs. Plus, 10 pages of free wireless printing is included, some free snacks are included, fiber optic wifi blankets the space, and customers can order their drinks online to avoid lines. We’ll have a huge break room kitchen so several people can prepare food at once. We’ll also sell breakfast/lunch and other pre-packaged, healthy food items for ~$.20 above wholesale – think $2.75 breakfast sandwiches and $3 lunch burritos. Meeting and conference rooms can be booked at an additional charge. Day pass price: $20 for general public, $15 for students. We’ll be open for 16 hrs/day, stay for a bit or for the whole day.
The idea has been well received so far but I’m trying to poke holes in the concept as I prepare for more investor meetings. I’d love to hear feedback on the idea (good and bad). I’m raising $600k for the business via angels; I’ve signed $175k to-date. Any feedback will help me be prepared to get the rest of the funding. I’m not interested in non-constructive feedback (ex: “great idea!” or “This is terrible”) and I won’t respond to those types of comments fyi.
Also feel free to ask general questions about my past healthcare business etc. I love entrepreneurship and helping others. Thanks! The website is sweetseatspdx.com and we’ll be opening location #1 here in Portland, OR.
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