The entrepreneurial spirit has never been stronger, so it’s no surprise that co-working spaces are so hot right now.
The Yard, for example, has recently secured a $15 million credit line to expand its coworking offering to startups in New York City.
Founded by Morris Levy and Richard Beyda, The Yard wants to be the more ‘grown-up’ co-working space, with opaque walls instead of glass between offices and better sound-proofing so members can get down to work without distraction.
“People don’t want to look at the mess in the office next door or worry about others looking at their computer screen,” said CEO Morris Levy.
He told TechCrunch that The Yard focuses on smaller spaces, which fosters a more tight-knit community, while keeping the space fresh with art that’s swapped out monthly. Of course, going for the more mature companies means no foosball, ping-pong or beer on draught, but Levy wants to be hyper-focused on deliverables.
“We’re not the biggest, but we focus on making the experience special,” said Levy. “It’s like when you go to a restaurant with a single-page menu instead of a six-page menu. You know you can close your eyes and point to something and it’s going to be delicious.”
Metaphors aside, The Yard has taken a slower approach to growth than competitors like WeWork.
The company was founded in 2011, with $30 million in funding from the co-founders and two other silent partners, according to Levy. Since launch, The Yard has expanded to nine locations in New York and Philadelphia, with five currently under construction.
The Yard has around 2,500 members right now, and expects to hit 5,000 by the new year.
WeWork, meanwhile, boasts more than 100,000 members and nearly 50 locations after raising $3.69 billion in equity funding.
That said, Levy thinks the measured approach is a smart way to deliver quality service, and a credit line instead of equity funding allows he and his partners to continue growing The Yard without selling off chunks of the company.
The Yard, which is priced based on location and space, also puts focus on back-end technology — the company calls their platform The Back Yard. It allows companies to access the building 24/7, book conference rooms, communicate with other members in their building and other members at other locations, among other things.
Levy comes from a real estate background, but the CEO insists that The Yard is a services business, not a real estate play. When asked about the greatest challenge:
“Temperature,” he said. “One office might be hot and the other cold, and you want people to be comfortable. The other is printers. Printers are always tough.”