BetterWorks

Developer of an online rewards system for employees

Location: Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica

Lease: 4,200 square feet with no tenant improvement allowance

Startup BetterWorks is a perfect example of the kind of company causing such flux in the Santa Monica office market.

The company, which has created an online system through which businesses can reward their employees, set up shop in January in an office overlooking the Third Street Promenade. But co-founder Paige Craig already is looking for a new space.

In the next two months, he plans on hiring up to 50 more employees and expects the 4,200-square-foot office won’t be big enough.

“We have a lot more to get done. We need new offices and a much bigger space now,” said Craig, the company’s chief executive.

BetterWorks, which launched in March, already has prominent customers, including online video site Hulu, which spend anywhere from $50 to $400 per employee each month to give them access to benefits such as discount gym memberships, spa sessions or restaurant deals.

It’s a concept that has taken off since Craig co-founded BetterWorks in the offices of another Santa Monica tech company, Burstly, just one block down the Promenade.

Craig and his two co-founders shared three small rooms in Burstly’s office, about 450 square feet total. Instead of pitching in on the rent, the trio contributed to the company’s beer budget. But when BetterWorks grew to nine employees in January, Craig decided to lease an office of his own.

“It’s really good for startups to have the flexibility to start without having a big lease over their heads,” he said. “Once you hit that point that you’re a real company, it’s time that you find your own space.”

BetterWorks’ space comfortably holds the company’s 31 employees. But the company recently expanded into San Francisco and expects to start offering its employee rewards packages in New York by the end of the summer. That means Craig is looking to more than double his staff.

It took Craig about six weeks to find his current office, and the company had no tenant improvement allowance to alter the space. This time, Craig is looking for an office with up to 15,000 square feet that he can renovate to fit his needs.

Those renovations could include creating a separate area for his sales team and more conference rooms. He also wants to create a nap room for employees who work long hours and install a shower for people who exercise during their breaks.

Craig, who has been a vocal supporter of creating the “Silicon Beach” identity for L.A.’s Westside tech community, plans on staying in downtown Santa Monica. Having tech neighbors nearby is important to him.

“If you go to San Francisco or New York, there’s a very dense concentration of tech companies. The biggest problem we have is that if tech people set up in Glendale or downtown, we don’t have a community,” he said. “We want to have a community so we can go to dinner, meet up for drinks and help each other out.”

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