A Brief History of Coworking Spaces- Part 1

By: Kyle Tomagan  |   6/27/2018 12:01:15 PM

Early History of Coworking

KMC Coworking space in Sheridan Tower, Mandaluyong City. Manila, Philippines

Today, there are more than 14,411 coworking areas worldwide; a 200% increase in units since 2013. Some even speculate that coworking space, and the flexible workspace industry itself, will completely take over the office space market. 

But this kind of global expansion and success didn't happen overnight. The development of coworking spaces spanned more than a decade, and during that time, the shared space has undergone numerous changes.

1995- "Hackerspace", The Foundation of Coworking Spaces

A group of computer experts founded C-Base in 1995, an open-environment where tech enthusiasts could gather and exchange information or collaborate on computer-based projects.

C-Base was called a "hackerspace", an idea that would indirectly become the prototype coworking space, and by affiliation, the foundation of the flexible workspace industry.

1999- The emergence of "Coworking" and 42West24


Bernard DeKoven invented the term "coworking" and brought it into public consciousness, although it differs in context from the coworking we know today.

While convention says that coworking is about working in the same space but for different companies, DeKoven originally intended the term as a method of facilitating cooperative work without high levels of competition.

In the same year, 42West24 opened in New York. The space offered a shared environment for startup teams and coworkers, but lacked emphasis on community events and networking, which would later go on to be premier features of many coworking areas.

2002- "Schraubenfabrik" is born

In 2002, Austrian entrepreneurs Stefan Leitner-Sidl and Michael Pöll converted a derelict factory in an "entrepreneurial center" known as Schraubenfabrik. Dubbed the "Mother of Coworking Spaces", Schraubenfabrik offered shared workspaces for small teams, startups, and solopreneurs

2005- The birth of the first official Coworking Space

Seeing how traditional offices and home-based work setups hampered productivity, Brad Neuberg opened the first official coworking space (even using the term coworking) on August 9, 2005. The facility was located at the Spiral Muse in San Francisco. 

Coworkers enjoyed free wifi, meditation breaks, bike tours, and even massage sessions. The blueprint for coworking was effectively established, as networking and community were vital in running the Spiral Muse. After closing a year later, Neuberg opened the Hat Factory, the world's first full-time coworking space.

PART 2 - A Brief History of Coworking Spaces >>>




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