Coworking Helps Big Ideas Grow in Small Spaces

Brooklyn has quickly become the spot to start a company these days.

A few pioneers like HUGE and Big Spaceship set up shop in DUMBO ten years ago, and now we’ve got a thriving community of more than 100 digital firms and hundreds of creative companies. In the very same warehouse buildings where Richard Gair invented and patented the cardboard box more than a century ago, a new generation of innovation is now taking hold. Designers, developers, big data slayers, illustrators and more are all choosing to build their businesses together in Brooklyn.

I run the DUMBO Improvement District, the neighborhood business improvement district, and I get to watch from the front row as companies start here with two or three people and grow to a dozen six months later.  One reason for the success of companies in this neighborhood is the collaboration and sense of community that happens here. DUMBO is like its own incubator: a half a dozen office buildings; thousands of techies and creatives; meet-ups almost every night of the week; and, perhaps most importantly, a ton of coworking opportunities for those just getting started.

If you’re not familiar with coworking, let me explain. Every day, hundreds of people spend their day working alongside people working on their own projects. Some do this at coworking spaces, such as DUMBO’s Studiomates, the Green Desk or the recently launched DUMBO Startup Lab. Others rent space in offices that have some spare room. It is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and freelancers to get out of their apartments while keeping costs low and flexibility high. It’s also a great opportunity to expand your horizons. You could be sitting next to that developer you’ve been looking to hire, or you could be across from someone who might point you to a great accountant. Coworking can be like an accelerant for the startup fire.

In DUMBO we’ve even got a startup determined to change the traditional office to better reflect the needs of today’s workforce. Loosecubes is a peer-to-peer workspace-sharing community focused on connecting business owners who have extra space with those who need it on a daily basis. The Loosecubes Beta launched last year, and they now have listings in 74 countries. Their most popular coworking destination? Brooklyn, of course.

Loosecubes was founded by Campbell McKellar, a former real estate industry pro, on a mission to liberate the workforce. Campbell got her start coworking and so have dozens of DUMBO’s best and brightest entrepreneurs.

The Loosecubes manifesto states: “We want to grow our businesses and the economy.  We want to be more creative. We want to work with great people. We want to be more locally connected.” Well, that’s what the DUMBO startup scene is all about.

If you’re not quite ready to sign that yearlong lease, coworking is a good way of getting here. There are many options. Check out for current listings, the Green Desk, the DUMBO Startup Lab or get in touch with the NYU Poly Incubator who also has coworking spaces.  A decade from now, you could be the next HUGE – with more than 400 employees – or the next Big Spaceship – named one of the top 50 most innovative companies in America by Fast Company.

It’s very exciting. It’s very possible. And it’s very Brooklyn.


20 Jay Street, Suite #904

Brooklyn, NY 11201

(347) 850-CUBE (2823)

Twitter: @loosecubes

Loosecubes is a global office sharing community. By connecting members who have an empty desk, studio or sofa with other members who need a productive and inspiring place to work, Loosecubes makes it easy to find the right people to share your workday with.

Key Stats

• Founder: Campbell McKellar

• HQ: Brooklyn, NY

• Founded: June 7, 2010

• Employees: 15

• Cities: 673, including San Francisco, Chicago, London, Berlin and Los Angeles

• Cost: free for members and hosts; 10% transaction fee per reservation booked and paid for through

• Seed funding provided by Accel and Battery Ventures.

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