Last month you got a peek inside 15 of New York’s coolest startup office spaces. But that doesn’t mean that we’re finished. So, for another bite in the Big Apple, here’s part deux, with 12 more.
In collaboration with WOVOX.com.
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
Knewton’s founders believe education’s undergoing a monumental shift; from a one-size-fits-all factory model to a personalized model. Taking part in this change, Knewton’s technology analyzes data about the performance of individual students, similar students on its platform, and the relevance of the educational content – all to serve up the best activity for each student at a particular moment in time.
The company has an office close to Union Square, filled with sofas, bean bags and other comfortable work seats. The kitchen has a stocked pantry and two fridges, one of which is strictly for beer. The Knerds (as Knewton employees are known to the outside world) spend a lot of time together outside of working hours. They’ve formed several sports teams (basketball, volleyball, etc.), organize video and board game nights, hold craft nights and go at each other in nerf gun battles. Friday’s tea time marks the end of the work week, during which everyone gathers for beer-fridge drinks.
2. YellowHammer Media Group
Taking its name from the state of Alabama’s mascot bird, YellowHammer Media Group is a full-service online advertising and technology company. But instead of just creating ads, YellowHammer’s developed a range of digital tools to upscale, optimize and analyze its clients’ marketing campaigns.
Based in the Chelsea area of New York, this office practically fits in between Madison Square Park and Korea Town. Play here isn’t restricted to your old fußball, ping pong and Wii bowling; coworkers here proudly own their very own ‘beer-pong-table’, fully equipped with company colours, running water and mascot. Very useful for team bonding, but also to entertain clients after work.
Noom built a range of mobile lifestyle and fitness apps for Android to encourage healthy living. Examples are a Wellness Coach, CardioTrainer, and a food logging app. Working at Noom’s New York HQ means working healthily of course. You may find a bouncy ball instead of a regular chair. There’s a ‘chill space’ to refuel, mingle or get work done in a relaxed environment. You’ve even got your very own in-house chef who cooks lunches every day – healthy ones of course.
Great food also encourages the team to spend more time together (which we’ve seen happening inside eBay’s Berlin office). Add to that a kitchen that doubles as a late-night hangout, and you’ve got certified fresh ingredients for making people feel at home.
Play-time at this office is actually work-time. littleBits is an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping and play. Put simply: it’s an electronic version of Lego. Much of the team’s office space is designed and sourced from craft stores, hardware stores and schools, with items like school lockers, peg-boards and picnic tables.
Furniture comes from local artisans, one of whom is Tony Garcia, who designed the desks and conference room table. The desks are made from reclaimed wood from a farm in Pennsylvania, specifically from the room where hams and sausages were cured. The conference room’s tabletop is made of old wooden rulers and the base designed with a steampunk theme.
Probably the pinkest office we’ve ever encountered, The Next Web dubbed Lover.ly as “a visual search engine for weddings.” And as you might expect from wedding planners, Lover.ly’s office design is a team effort. Each part caters to the wants and needs of the department working in it.
It’s still a work in progress, but they’ve definitely got their arrows pointed to a very pink experience. As chief marketing officer Cathleya Schroeckenstein puts it: “We want visitors to feel like they’ve stepped into our website when they step into our office – soft pinks, loverly imagery and decor all around!”
Founded in 2009, MyCityWay created an app to act as a fully featured city guide. It shows users WiFi hotspots, parking spaces, coffee shops, transit times and even traffic camera locations. The company’s based on the quiet side of the West Village, with the Hudson River serving as a backdrop for meetings, lunches, coffee breaks and celebrations.
Special events are very dear to the company, the team always makes time to celebrate them. One of these events is Happy Hour, which is on Fridays. Another important happening at MyCityWay is ping-pong, the team often organizes their own ‘Ping-Pong Championship of the World’ tournaments.
Atavist enables anyone to tell their story through digital apps, ebooks, and magazines. Its software lets you create, produce and publish your work to iPad, iPhone and web browsers. Their award winning publishing arm, The Atavist, features original pieces of longform, nonfiction journalism. The company has its office in a historic factory building, complete with freight elevators and brick walls. All of which used to serve as the Grand Union Tea Company.
Based in DUMBO (‘Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass’), Brooklyn, the team has an amazing view of the Manhattan Bridge, with coworkers sometimes crowding around the windows to spy on those outside. There’s no fixed end to the work day, and sometimes the workday simply relocates downstairs to the 68 Jay Street Bar. For a change of work scenery and for a few drinks of course.
“(Limited editions x low prices) + the internet = art for everyone.” This is the formula that online art startup 20×200 lives by. This team envisions a world in which everybody collects art, and for an economy to emerge that allows more artists to make a living doing the thing they love. 20×200 also works with many artists from outside of New York. The presence of these sort of companies does solidify the city’s reputation as the creative capital of the world (check Artsicle and Art.sy, two companies we featured in the previous post).
The 20×200 team works on 568 Broadway, a building they share with other startups, including Thrillist and Foursquare. A sewing factory from 1895, the building’s outside is a New York City landmark. For some, the copious amounts of candy at the office are second best reason to come to work every day. After, of course, a shared love of art, dozens of prints line the 20×200 HQ walls.
Digital agency Canvas describes itself as a company that helps clients sleep at night. It’s based just a block off Union Square, in an open-plan office that allows for maximum collaboration and general good times for a team that’s 25 people strong. Workplace centre-piece is a kitchen that moonlights as a working area and hangout spot.
There’s 424 square feet of whiteboard space and two floor-to-ceiling chalkboard walls, used as a playful and creative forum for company messaging and group brainstorming. NYC’s staple food is also a Canvas favourite, and the team keeps count on its website: so far, ‘Bagel Wednesdays’ have accounted for 7,165 bagels consumed. Stacked, they’d create a tower higher than the Chrysler Building.
For most, predicting the future may be magical or mythical. Not so for Custora, builder of predictive analytics software to help Ecommerce sites turn shoppers into loyal customers. The team works from St James Building at 1133 Broadway, it’s a couple of blocks up from the flatiron building.
Even though they don’t have a Google budgets to pimp their office (yet), the Custorians have managed to create a similar spirit. Parts of the floor are coloured, there’s designer furniture and the office even has an indoor basketball net.
Perhaps not so much a tech company, Holstee is an online store that offers practical and accessible sustainable alternatives to everyday projects. All their products carry a unique story about how they were made and what they were made from. Besides designing products itself, Holstee also curates products from like-minded designers. To stay true to its ideals, Holstee has its own manifesto, which is proudly displayed on the wall.
Based at 28th and Broadway, an area known as ‘Silicon Alley’ or ‘NoMad’. The team originally started out with three people: brothers Mike and Dave Radparvar with Fabian Pfortmüller. They’ve grown to a team of ten like-minded folk, convinced that together they can leave this planet a better place.
Many websites would like to fill up their pages with nice-looking content, but they can’t hire journalists or bloggers to do it for them. This is where NewsCred steps in to put content at the heart of every business through its content marketing solution, which includes licensing and syndicating news stories from well known publishers such as the Guardian, the Economist and Forbes.
The company designs, builds, and hosts B2B and B2C content-powered sites that drive measurable business growth with innovative technology. NewsCred now works out of a loft space in the Flatiron district with more than 40 people who work alongside the team from Daylife, a company that NewsCred acquired a couple months back. Before the new offices, the NewsCred team worked from a single table at General Assembly (remember that space?).
Now it has its own office and offices in London and Dhaka as well. Happy hour here is on Thursday, and once a month NewsCred takes it up a notch with ‘Content + Cocktails’, sessions with inspiring speakers that usually attract over 100 people.
To be continued… WOVOX is going stealth mode for a while
We’ve spotted an opportunity that makes us super-enthusiastic. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our clients and we generally see a market for it. So we’re going to narrow our focus for a while: more development-geeking and less storytelling.
For a sneak peak and to sign up, check WOVOX.com/2013. In the meantime, feel free to keep telling us which companies you’d love to see featured: we’ll be back! And have a great 2013!
Sources of photography Noom by Noom; YellowHammer Media Group by Yellow Hammer Media Group; Knewton by Knewton; littleBits by littleBits; Lover.ly by Lover.ly; MyCityWay by MyCityWay; Atavist by Atavist; 20×200 by 20×200; Canvas by Canvas; Custora by Custora; Holstee by Holstee; NewsCred by NewsCred.