Los Angeles Business Journal
Co-Living Firm Squeezes ’Em In
HOSPITALITY: PodShare hopes tight space stacks up as business.
By Daina Beth Solomon
Thrifty travelers to Los Angeles now have more options than bunk beds in grim Hollywood hostels or spartan rooms rented through Airbnb. They can sleep in a pod.
At Elvina Beck’s PodShare in downtown Los Angeles, guests grab a bed for $40 a night – as long as they’re cool with sacrificing privacy in a unisex communal space with about 20 other people.
Just as Uber Technologies Inc. has proved that passengers will jump in cars with strangers and WeWork Companies Inc. has gotten companies to share desks, 4-year-old PodShare is setting out to establish “co-living” as an affordable way to travel or settle into a new city.
“It’s incredibly innovative,” said Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group in Irvine. “It’s probably the furthest thing away from a typical hotel room you can get.”
While some might cringe at sharing space with strangers in their pajamas, Beck believes plenty of travelers, especially 20- and 30-somethings, will love the chance to make new connections.
“If I ask what’s your favorite hostel in America, you don’t have an answer,” she said. “Hopefully, one day you’ll say, My favorite co-living space in America is PodShare.”
The company recently raised a seed round from investors and aims to open up to 10 spots in the L.A. area over the next year and a half. Beck declined to say the size of the round raised or who the investors are.
PodShare is hitting on a youth-driven concept that hotel companies such as Marriott International, Pacifica Hotels, and Sydell Group Ltd. are testing out as a way to attract millennial spending.
“Hotels are moving away from people spending a lot of time in their rooms to spending more time in the lobbies, communal spaces, and generally sharing more,” said Reay. “There’s definitely a market for this.”