If your conference venue needs fall somewhere in between meeting at Starbucks for a coffee and renting a hotel ballroom, sharing economy company Breather can probably find you the perfect space. The company currently has more than 300 meeting venues in ten cities including Toronto and Montreal (the founding city) in Canada; New York, Los Angeles, and Palo Alto in the U.S.; and they’ve recently opened a portfolio of meeting rooms in London, U.K. Leases for venues in Paris and Berlin are currently being negotiated.
While it doesn’t have the reach yet of some other online markets for non-traditional meeting space (think Spacebase, EventUp or Bizly), Breather’s model is a bit different. Started as a marketplace for landlords to advertise meeting rooms, the company quickly found that small corporate groups wanted consistent, upscale design and technology. The only way to guarantee this was to take out long-term leases on properties and then upgrade them to meet clients’ expectations. The company now has a lease on every meeting space it rents.
To rent a property, clients select the location, date, time and duration needed, and number of people to accommodate, using an online tool. After the venue is booked, Breather sends an access code to open the door using a digital keypad. There are no attendants, although an online concierge tool can help with catering and other amenities near the location.
The rooms include chargers, whiteboards, and A/V, and the obligatory boardroom tables and chairs. All the spaces include more casual seating arrangements, including comfortable sofas, so clients can collapse for a celebratory nap after a successful pitch. The initial target for the business model was the Millennial demographic, but the high-end aesthetic and convenient locations will appeal to meeting planners from all industries and demographics who need an off-site location for anything from job interviews to private conferences.
There are no minimum durations and no add-ons, Wi-Fi and equipment is part of the fee. Depending on the size, time of day, and location of the space, fees start around $40 an hour.
Breather’s design and facility choices are entirely data driven using customer feedback with sometimes surprising revelations. Although many of Breather’s clients do yoga, there was an overwhelmingly negative response to providing yoga mats in venues. It seems communal yoga mats are over sharing even in the sharing economy.