Daniel Beck is the CEO and Founder of Coliving.com, a website dedicated to supporting young professionals find and book community-spaces and retreats around the world.
As millennials continue to migrate to high-priced desirable areas, the demand for coliving and coworking spaces is swiftly on the rise. The Coliving.com site provides users with listings for over 40 countries and countless cities, from Bogota to Tokyo, all with easy to understand searches and map guidance. The aim of the site is to help people find a living space suitable to work, live and play.
1. You’re a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, can you tell us a bit about your background and where you got the idea for Coliving.com?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in computers and fixing problems. Automatically, I start finding solutions when someone has a problem. Yes, I have encountered problems with this, when people mostly just want to vent and there I am providing them with a way to fix the issue – but thankfully, most of the time they welcome my assistance.
I started doing website programming when I was 16 and combined that with business school when I became 21. This led me to start my own business at 25 and I haven´t been an employee since. I started a company with a guy and was the company´s Tech Guy for 10 years, until I said I wanted to sell my shares and start my own thing.
I planned a one-year trip around the world in 2014, and quickly and quite accidentally stumbled upon a coliving-space in Silicon Valley (my first stop on the trip) – the feeling of community and belonging in that house is something I will never forget. An amazing moment of realisation and understanding. Immediately, I reached out to the owner of the coliving.com domain and bought it for $3.000. Looking back, it´s probably the best investment I’ve ever made.
2. What can people get from coliving spaces that they couldn’t get from renting?
Community, immediate friends, convenience to just stay for a short period (no long leases), and sometimes a new business partner, mentor, lifelong friend – or all three!
3. What’s the most common misconception about coliving?
Well, I have heard it all, and can be easily summarised in the question “Why would people live with other people that late on in life?”. Easy answer is: If you don’t get it, then you are not the target market. And that´s fine. If it doesn’t intrigue you, then you may never fully understand the allure.
Everyone I’ve talked to that HAS EXPERIENCED COLIVING gets hooked on the feeling of being around innovative, like-minded smart people – and they have people who “get” them.
4. When you first launched Coliving.com, what were the biggest challenges that you faced?
I´ve run a marketplace for 10 years already, and having sold my previous company and I’m more relaxed and confident about making this company a success.
But, what surprised me the most, is how hard it is to find good payment solutions worldwide. We have now covered 25 countries, but I’m already in over 40, so it makes the payment solution much more complicated. I’m currently working on sourcing a company that can handle payments from each country under one umbrella.
5. America is said to have some really unique coliving spaces, but what’s the most exciting or interesting coliving space that you have come across?
The one it all started in, HackerHome. The location in Silicon Valley, and the people it attracts, is of very high caliber. I miss being there a lot. I guess your first love is hard to forget…
There are many great coliving-spaces in creative locations – some that I have already visited, others that I cannot wait to experience. If you don´t know which one to pick from our extensive list, just find one in a location that intrigues you, and book it – they all have so much to offer.
And just for fun…
6. If you could share a coliving space for a month with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My answer would be the Obamas. Do I need a why? Such an amazing couple. Just sad that presidents cannot have three terms.
7. How would you make money from an ice-cream stand in Central Park?
I’ve heard a funny quote: If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice-cream instead. If the sun is out in Central Park, I wouldn’t have to do too much to bring the money in on days like that – maybe adding some multi-coloured sprinkles to every XL serving – and have Motown music playing for those queuing. Can’t go wrong with a bit of Motown magic.
8. How would your best friend describe you?
I think, and hope, something like this: loyal, smart, creative, kind, spontaneous.
9. What was the last photo you took?
A photo of red and orange bamboo growing on a beach in Penang, Malaysia – I didn’t know it could be anything but green. I love discovering new things like this.
10. What’s the most interesting building you’ve ever seen or been in and why?
I would say, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Amazing architecture and people.
You can learn more about coliving spaces, or find one for yourself, by visiting coliving.com.