We know that long-term leases are no longer the fashion, but San Francisco-based Codi has a better version: don’t work together either. The company, co-founded by Christelle Rohaut and Dave Schumanstarted in 2018 creating more flexible office space for companies whose employees want private, flexible workspaces.
Today, the startup’s most disruptive belief is one that disagrees with WeWork’s popularized co-working model. Unlike WeWork, which sold office space on a shared floor to employees, Codi thinks people want a private space just a few days a week. The startup is a marketplace that links companies to properties that match their flexibility requirements. Then it helps to make the relocation process as smooth as possible, from design to IT, to even the office snacks and cleaning services.
And, like most startups, it aims to have the best of both worlds: privacy and community, flexibility and dedicated space, scale and specialization.
Codi announced today that it has raised a $16 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz. The investment came weeks before the company announced it was investing in Flow, WeWork founder Adam Neumann’s next bet; both investments show the company’s interest in a more flexible, yet turnkey real estate future.
Rohaut isn’t too concerned about sharing a venture backer with the WeWork founder. A16z investment partner Jeff Jordan took a seat on Codi’s board as part of the round; while Marc Andreessen joins the board of Flow, according to the New York Times. The company recently announced its plans to become a remote-first organization.
“A lot of our companies come from WeWork because they want to graduate,” Rohaut said in an interview with londonbusinessblog.com. She says the two top priorities for businesses today are having a space of their own so they can build and grow the corporate culture and adapt it to their needs, and second, find a space for employees to go to that isn’t concentrated. . center and does not require long travel times. Codi, the co-founder, offers the best of both worlds, where there is the flexibility to work from somewhere at times and the uniqueness of a private office space.
It may be true that techies for the most part don’t want to go to the office 5 days a week, but as employers try to figure out what the new personal cadence should be, flexible office space can also bring its own frustration. Codi needs to convince employers that it makes more sense to move to a flexible workplace managed through Codi than to open a smaller, independent office.
Codi claims it has reduced the time it takes to open an office from six months to four weeks. Codi is able to reduce lease terms from 36 months to six months, with options to extend the contract if necessary. It also provides a concierge team to run all of its various services, which could save tens of thousands of dollars a year, according to the startup.
On the real estate side, Codi owns no buildings. Instead, it works with building owners to create recurring revenue streams for properties that traditionally would only have made money from long-term tenants or an entire building scale. The co-founder declined to share details on how many customers it currently has, but said the startup has more than 100 office buildings in two regions: New York and the Bay Area.
It’s a smart pitch, with common scaling issues to consider. For example, Codi will have to solve shorter travel times with more and more hotspot offices for employees, regardless of where they are at home. If so, the office can become more fragmented over time as it tries to meet the needs of concentrations of employees. Kind of the opposite of personal work goals.
There is a common misconception between what people say they want and what people actually do. If there’s one thing hybrid work has taught us, it’s that the world is constantly changing its mind. Even with a flexible lease, what happens if a startup wants to go from 2 days a week to 5 days a week for a longer period of time? It’s not necessarily Codi’s challenge to address, but it can certainly complicate the broader vision of developing flexible, private workspaces.