We interrupt our normal programming to remind everyone that as well as tech startups, VC and big tech news, TechCrunch loves to cover tech culture. If communities and having a roof over your head fall into that camp, then, goddamnit, so should a project like PodShare, which has tapped into the tech zeitgeist of the sharing economy for the last couple of years, and is now raising money with possibly the funniest Indiegogo video you have ever seen. Just watch it.
What is PodShare? Billed as a “co-living space”, it features 10 pods in a communal loft. It rents beds overnight for travelers, but a semi-permanent group of Podsharers, literally share everything else. Each pod is 60 in x 90 in and 5 feet high, and has all the amenities you’d want in a hotel room.
At its core, PodShare is more than just beds rented by the night. The savvy thing that PodShare, created by entrepreneur Elvina Beck, tapped into is “social travel”: shared resources and experiences. PodShare is ranked #1 on Tripadvisor, and LA Weekly thinks it’s the “Best Place to Crash” in Los Angeles. It’s been a real success with 92% occupancy, 14% return rate and seeing over 4,000 “podestrians”.
What does this have to do with tech? Well, you are probably as aware as I that these days workers can be incredibly mobile. When all you really need is a place to lay your head, stash your suitcase, and grab coffee and wi-fi, then hotel rooms seem like an enormous over-kill. Plus, what kind of atmosphere do hotels have? There’s too much anonymity, when often what you really want to do is tap into people in the city. This is what PodShare has been doing in Los Angeles, and now it deserves your support.
Why are they raising money? Their existing building has a new owner who won’t renew the lease as a co-living space. So they will have to tear down the pods and relocate in 2015.
After 3 years in operation Beck is now seeking funds for materials, labor, and startup costs for the next location. The ultimate vision is a network of co-living/co-working spaces across the US.
Personally, I’d like to see a global network of Podshares. I’m pretty sure the tech community, which is these days global and mobile would embrace it.