If you’re a lonely freelancer, Co:Collective may be the landlord for you.
The branding consultancy founded a year ago by ex-JWT brass Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan, opened the doors of its first spinoff venture Tuesday: a shiny new Union Square office called Grind, where small businesses and the self-employed can rent desks and mingle with like-minded professionals. Co: is using the term “free radicals” to describe the desired clientele.
Co: is currently looking over an initial influx of applications, hoping to approve a group of people who can play nice—and help each other out with services. “We want to make sure there’s a good mix of people in the space: designers, developers. We want people like lawyers and accountants because running a small business and being a free radical you need all of those skill sets,” Richard Schatzberger, chief technology officer at Co:, tells Adweek. While funded by Co:, the members-only club was launched, in the spirit of collaboration, in partnership with creative network Behance, physical-digital marketing shop Breakfast, and tech and design blog Cool Hunting, among others.
In addition to camaraderie, Grind includes such perks as free coffee, conference rooms, and the assistance of an “Experience Director” named Susan, who, according to the website, “can find you an awesome place to eat lunch or help you put together a big presentation.” Breakfast tricked out the location with RFID gear that automatically recognizes members and their laptops, and a gallery of LCD screens that can pull projects straight from Behance’s portfolio functionality, so that members, should they desire, can show off their work to their neighbors. Geeky bonuses: A wall-mounted “Like” button under each screen, so viewers can express their approval of a particular piece, as well as a printer gadget, adapted from Breakfast’s Instagram-powered device, that produces a paper version of the display’s contents on demand, Schatzberger says.
Cost of entry? Cough up $500 a month for a guaranteed spot. Or, $35 dollars for a day—if any of the 140 spots, which include 120 desks, aren’t occupied. For a limited time only, get a free sample by promoting Grind on Twitter, using the Cannes Grand Prix-winning “Pay With a Tweet” service conceived by a pair of R/GA creative directors.
Don’t expect to catch Grind co-founders working there on the daily, though. Apart from the occasional meeting or brainstorm—they plan to stick to their own offices.