How Subscription Coworking Supports Shared Workspaces And The New Workforce: A Q&A With Sam Rosen

Q&A With Sam Rosen
Deskpass is a subscription coworking platform that gives members affordable access to over 175 workspaces in six cities around the U.S.
  • The thing that drives most people to any given coworking space is its location
  • For many home-workers, coworking is not about replacing the home-office, it’s about finding an alternative
  • Shared subscriptions are a great way operators can attract new members and fresh eyes to their space

Sam Rosen has been in hundreds of coworking spaces around the world. He’s spoken with countless workspace operators about a core challenge many of them face: attracting potential members. A former operator himself, Rosen wanted to find a way to support these spaces, so he built Deskpass.

A coworking subscription that gives members access to over 175 different spaces in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco and Denver, Deskpass brings a new level of flexibility, affordability and convenience to freelancers, independent professionals, remote workers and teams. Allwork.Space spoke with Rosen about attracting work-from-home people to coworking, the appeal of a subscription coworking model, and how the work ecosystem is changing.

Allwork.Space: The Deskpass subscription model is a new way of approaching coworking. What was the inspiration for the company?

Sam Rosen: I built coworking software through Desktime for four of five years before starting Deskpass. I got the opportunity to see hundreds and hundreds of spaces all over the world, and meet and interview the operators. I found that the number one thing we can help people do is bring fresh faces in the front door.

We were inspired by other people’s businesses. We were really inspired by Classpass. We saw that we had a unique opportunity to pool all of these wonderful spaces all over and create a really accessible and friendly way to try them.

Allwork.Space: What’s the relationship between Deskpass and the member coworking spaces? How does a space benefit from having Deskpass members come in, in addition to getting fresh faces in the front door?

We partner with all the spaces and agree upon a rate for our members. Then we bring people in the front door. When somebody shows up, we pay the space.

Our business model is that each member can only go to each particular space up to five times per month. So, if I live in a city where there are just a couple of spaces to choose from that I really like, I can only go there five times in any month. It really incentivizes people to become a full-time member.

Over 70% of the people who use Deskpass are new to coworking—this is their first coworking membership. We have people who may have never heard of coworking,

or who have, but haven’t found a membership that’s accessible to them. We’re bringing a new, qualified lead in your front door. We’re giving you their information and letting you market to them directly.

Allwork.Space: What do you look for in member spaces? Are there qualities or amenities they need to have?

We definitely do quality control in ensuring that our members get a good experience. We promise our members that they’ll have a great place to work, quality internet and some coffee. If they want additional access or amenities, then they work directly with the space.

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Allwork.Space: Chicago was your pilot city for Deskpass. What were some of the lessons learned there?

We started at a $200 unlimited pass. We ended up with a $50 pass for four visits; this decision was really dictated by what people were looking for and how they used it. Changing the membership made it more accessible.

We’ve learned that, at the end of the day, the thing that drives people more than any other thing is really location. Our members are looking for a convenient place.

Allwork.Space: What the success of the $50 pass tells me is that people want a price-friendly, low commitment option, at least initially. They don’t know if they want unlimited. They may go twice and decide it’s not for them.

People want easy access. They want a tour. They want an easy way to try a space. They want to pay for it. This is just a way they can do it at their own speed. A lot of people have great homes they work out of. They don’t necessarily want to replace it, they just want an alternative every now and then.

Allwork.Space: The benefit that appeals to me, as a coworking space member, is the flexibility—that whatever part of the city I may be in for the day, I can find a space. I also like the idea of potential members trying a handful of spaces before choosing the one that suits them.

Absolutely. We have plenty of people who are a full-time member somewhere but still get the mini pass for when they’re traveling. There are a few coworking spaces that are convenient for them, and it’s $50. It’s pretty affordable for that use.

Allwork.Space: Who do you see using Deskpass? Is there a segment of professionals that find the service particularly valuable?

A huge group of our users are people who work from home. They work for companies, they’re freelancers, it’s a pretty wide array. The common thing is that they’re a home worker.

Then we have an increasingly large group of users that work for larger companies. We’re offering a really accessible group membership to all these coworking spaces. So, instead of a company signing up with one coworking provider, they partner with us and can give their workforce access to all our spaces.

Allwork.Space: What’s the big picture vision for Deskpass? What would you like to see?

We’re growing at a really nice rate. Our goal is to become synonymous with coworking space and short-term space. We’re growing our footprint in each city, we’re adding lots of new spaces on a weekly basis and we’re finding new ways to connect with people.

The space is a huge component of what we’re offering, but our members also get access to the wonderful events in all these spaces. We have an online community that people can become a part of, and we try to offer lots of other perks and benefits of being a Deskpass member. We’re definitely looking at a holistic way of approaching this and bringing people into coworking for the first time.

Allwork.Space: Thanks Sam. Anything you’d like to add?

Work is becoming an ecosystem of space. People aren’t necessarily working from an office, or from home, or from a coworking space, they’re working from all of them. That’s where I see real estate going, and that’s where I see a tool like Deskpass being such a valuable part of both the coworking side and for our wonderful members.