As an increasing amount of large corporations move in to coworking spaces in cities across the country, some remote workers are looking for a freelancer-only space where they can thrive.
To address the pain of these ever-more-remote workers, Tevano Green and Paul Mojica co-founded Unbound, a company that aims to provide coworking space in local bars, restaurants and other establishments throughout the Triangle when the businesses are otherwise closed during the day.
As remote workers themselves, Green and Mojica know the struggles of not just finding space to work in but also finding an environment that fosters innovation. Mojica said corporations moving in to coworking spaces is bringing more rigid corporate culture to once free-spirited environments.
“The thing is (remote workers) wanted to do coworking to get away from that so that way ingenuity can happen—the thought process, the state of mind can happen,” Mojica said. “When you have major brands come in, they have their policies in place where there’s an invisible fence between coworkers and the people who work for the bigger companies.”
From 2017 to 2018, the number of companies with 1,000 employees or more working out of one of the largest coworking spaces, WeWork, doubled, with companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Starbucks making up around 25% of the company’s memberships.
This means less room in coworking spaces is being occupied by freelancers or small companies.
“You see ‘hot’ desks coming down to a small amount,” Mojica said, referring to first-come, first-serve unassigned seats. “This means that community is now being shrunk and pushed out of those locations and now we’re all displaced.”
For those displaced employees or freelancers looking for a tighter-knit community of remote workers in the Triangle, Unbound offers access to its coworking space starting at $125 per month.
Right now, the company has no revenue and only one fully functioning venue at Durty Bull Brewing Company in Durham, but Green said the company has 50 prospective clients and five locations vetted and ready to launch in other Triangle locations depending on member demand.
“We’ve been on the gas pedal for customer acquisition, but we kind of backed off a little bit and said if we’re really going to be community-focused, let’s find communities that are in need and help out those organizers in those communities first,” Green said. “Right now it’s really difficult to find space in the Triangle.”
Benefits For Host Locations
Matt Pennisi, owner of Durty Bull Brewing, Unbound’s first operating venue, said he is thankful that Unbound brings people in the doors of the brewery.
“We do get a small percentage of money from the people coming in,” Pennisi said. “But more-so it is that more people who wouldn’t otherwise hear about our brand or wouldn’t otherwise come to our brewery hear about it.”
Most Unbound members are only in Durty Bull from 8 a.m. until around when the brewery opens at 4 p.m. During that time Unbound takes care of administering the space by providing internet, extra outlets and an office manager to track when members come and go.
“We’re not working extra, we’re honestly not doing anything extra,” Pennisi said. “Their infrastructure takes care of everything.”
Besides providing office space to remote workers, Unbound has also partnered up with organizations like the Young Black Professionals Network of Durham and Gamers Who Code to put on events at Durty Bull.
Overall, Green and Mojica emphasized the importance of building a community of remote workers in the Triangle. In addition to coworking space, included in an Unbound membership is access to a community forum where members can connect with each other no matter what area of the Triangle they work in.
As of now, Green and Mojica are bootstrapping the company and are both testing out their product by working out of Durty Bull Brewing.
When asked how they have enjoyed the experience at their coworking space so far, Green jokingly said he has been impressed with their work.
“I love it,” Green said with a smile. “Tell those guys that they’re geniuses.”
Unbound is kindly offering a 15% discount to GrepBeat readers using the code GB15.