I may be biased because I live here but I don't know why more tech entrepreneurs don't view Oakland as a viable place to build their start-ups. It's centrally located, close to public transportation, and real estate (both commercial and residential) is less expensive than the usual start-up hotspots of San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Not to mention the fact that a lot of folks who work at tech start-ups live in the East Bay and have long commutes. I've done the East Bay to SF/SV commute before and it used to take me 45-90 minutes one way each day to get to work. Compare that to my current 10-15 minute ROUNDTRIP commute and it's a no brainer. What could you do with an extra 2-3 hours every day? Over the course of a work year (about 250 days), that's almost a full month you've wasted on the road.
Granted, Oakland has its fair share of issues. The one that usually comes up is that Oakland is perceived to be a crime-ridden city. Sure, there's crime here but like any large city there are areas where crime is high and others where it is not. I don't propose you bring your tech start-up and plop it down on Seminary and International
just like I wouldn't make the Tenderloin
or Hunters Point
my company HQ. My first company was in what's now known as the Uptown
area of Oakland, home to such little known start-ups like Pandora
. We currently reside in the Jack London Square
area which recently brought in Sungevity
, a solar start-up.
Getting to the point of this post, I'm trying to cobble together some tech start-ups who are looking for office space in the Jack London Square area. The building we're in is newly renovated and very well maintained. We occupy a small suite but are getting to the point where we are considering more space. Conveniently, there is a larger suite across the hall
that's been decked to the halls with all the latest goodies (professional cubes, CAT 6 cabling, etc). Only catch is that it's huge and much larger than we can take at this time. My grand idea is to have an informal tech cluster sharing this space. A few start-ups working in close proximity to each other, sharing ideas, mingling, etc. Plus we would offer the flexibility that a standard lease would not have - month to month, taking more space, taking less space. So if anyone out there is interested, drop me a line
. Even if you're not interested, drop me a line anyway. I'm always glad to meet new entrepreneurs and share ideas.