Avesta Rasouli and his wife, Cameron Kashani Rasouli, opened a 6,000-square-foot office space in 2010 for entrepreneurial tenants working in the technology industry. They named it Coloft, reflecting its intention to bring workers together where they could not only share space but also ideas. The space is unusual in that tenants do not sign leases but pay a membership fee for as long as needed. There are about 100 members of Coloft, with 20 to 30 inhabiting space at any given time.
How did you get your start in the business?
We had another company, called Appshows, where we produced video demos for mobile apps. I had also started a tech company that didn’t work out before. We started Coloft because we wanted to surround ourselves with like-minded entrepreneurs. We wanted to build an environment where entrepreneurs could bounce ideas off and help each other, and ultimately learn from one another. Our goal was for the community to be the main value proposition and not the workspace.
What makes tech tenants attractive?
Technology companies are run by innovators looking to impact and change the world in some shape or form. We find this mentality to be extremely contagious. At Coloft, it’s not crazy to pitch an idea to peers and build it over a weekend, then three days later raise over $1 million in venture capital from angel investors that were hanging around during the weekend.
How are they challenging tenants?
They really aren’t that challenging. Internet bandwidth is just one of those things you definitely can’t have enough of.
How do you make your building attractive?
We make the space inviting, warm, yet funky and industrial. I guess “creative” is the right word. Tech companies aren’t really interested in Class A buildings with doormen. They like environments were they can feel inspired. Natural light is key.
What’s the most unusual request from a tech tenant?
They’ve asked for beds to take naps on. We got some couches that serve that purpose at times.
What is your biggest success?
We still have a few members that have been here since day one, which is over two and a half years ago.
Any notable success stories?
Look.io started here and was acquired by LivePerson recently. Hipster started here and was acquired by AOL.
What other industries do you court?
No other really. We’re not in the business of renting desks. We’re in the business of building and supporting L.A.’s tech startup and entrepreneurial community.
What other industries do you see growing?
We’re only in the tech space, but given the anticipated growth in tech over the next few years, I believe rental properties in Santa Monica, Venice and Culver City will experience a 25 percent rent increase.
– Bailey Brewer
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