There are many types of employees out there in the real world, and most of them are often on the road, on some meeting with clients. Even those who are usually confined within the four walls of an office space occasionally take the day to either work remotely as a welcome change of scenery and pace. This is precisely the type of clientele Julien Smith – CEO of a brand-new start-up named Breather – had in mind for his one-of-a-kind service.
Smith announced the launch of his startup Breather today during the LeWeb London conference. The easiest way to explain Breather is that it’s a network of rooms inside participating cities that are accessible by phone. Members can access them at any time of the day for a small fee. Breather hopes to provide professionals with temporary work spaces in the same way car rental companies cater to short-time leasing.
“A Breather is like a little studio apartment or office,” Smith tells us. “We make sure it’s always nicely furnished, with good wifi you don’t have to ask the password for. They’re always quiet, private, and clean, so you can take a phone call, have a meeting, take a nap, or whatever else. It’s basically like you own the space for the short time period you’re there.” Smith estimates rental fees to be around $20 per hour, but ultimately, it will depend on the Breather city location. Right now, Breather’s headquarters are located in both New York and Montreal.
All Breather spaces will go through a curation process – only property owners who have been extended invites are included. “(Our property partners) have extra space in decent buildings, and we have the tools to make them available to on-demand tenants safely and efficiently. The rooms are like little offices with all the stuff you would expect, plus some nice extras to make you feel comfortable,” Smith adds. He also said that although accepting spaces from individuals who volunteer their own is not how Breather intends to expand its availability (for now), it’s an option he is willing to explore in the future.
“Right now, not just anyone can involve their own space, but we could try that out later on. The spaces need to meet the expectations of our users and fit our brand. You can become a member, right now, by being one of the first people in a city to register. After that, you’ll need to ask an existing member for now.”
The start-up also announced during the conference the conclusion of their seed round of $1.5 million dollars, led by Real Ventures with Gary Vaynerchuk, Loic Le Meur, Mike Walsh, as well as other investors who participated and expressed interest in the company.
“I’m excited about the huge market to leverage dormant real estate assets and love how the Breather team will capitalize on this market,” says Walsh, who invested in Breather on behalf of Structure Capital, a company that provides micro-venture capital to up-and-coming startups. “As a frequent traveler, I’m always looking for private space for confidential calls and meetings. Coffee shops, hotel lobbies and shared spaces often just don’t cut it. For the person who needs a quick shower or a cat nap, [Breather] is a dream come true.”
Now that the seed round has concluded, major progress is underway. Over the next few months, a Breather app will go into development, as well as Breather spaces within the New York city area. According to Smith, spaces will be designed by an award-winning small space designer and people will get to see them soon. For now, you can imagine what the service will be like through the video below:
In the same meticulous way Breather plans to curate its spaces for short-term rent, the membership process will also be just as inquisitive – Breather is still a tenant of sorts, after all. More details on how to become a member will become available on the company’s official website as Breather finalizes its operation over the next couple of months.