Perched in offices on the top floor of the famous Prince Building in the heart of Soho, it’s no wonder that Fueled founder Rameet Chawla feels like he’s on top of the world. As their website points out, the neighborhood is home to some of Manhattan’s poshest restaurants, hippest nightlife and coolest companies. Fueled is at the center of the universe and far from being your typical co-working space.
“It’s a collective,” Chawla corrected us.
The space is eclectic and feels more like a living room than an office space, with its distressed leather sofas, chandelier lighting, old library-style conference rooms, dogs roaming freely, and light streaming in all day long through the oversized windows. Since it occupies the top floor of 568 Broadway, members enjoy amazing views of downtown Manhattan, and the breathtaking sunsets are complimentary. As if that isn’t enough, there’s also year-round ice cream, a killer coffee bar, free snack bar, ping pong tournaments, 4 pm popcorn, and companies such as ZocDoc, Thrillist and Foursquare (their landlord) as neighbors. Collective or not, you call this a work space???
Let’s just say that it’s a very nice place to work and no one works harder than Chawla himself. His workday starts at noon, which sounds unusual for an entrepreneur, until you learn that Chawla breaks up his day into 3 segments. He has two 7-hour work shifts, a 7-hour sleep shift, and 3 hours to eat/socialize/shower/feed the fish. He typically goes to bed at 4 am and is up at 11; showers; breakfasts; and hits the office at noon for his first work-day shift. At 7, he’ll head out for dinner and hit a club/event for an hour or two. Then it’s back to the office for his second shift, which ends at 3:30. He finally heads home, showers and passes out at 4 am. The exact hours aren’t hard and fast: sometimes he’ll head out at midnight to meet friends for an hour or two, then head back to the office again until 3:30 am. “This second shift may be what has made me successful,” he claimed. “There’s no one in the office and I can just reply to emails, come up with strategies. The earlier shift, I have to answer other people’s questions. The second shift is when I do all of my work.”
To answer your question, yes, Fueled Collective is open 24/7.
There are 100 people in the space presently: 30 are Fueled employees (the app development company as opposed to the Collective) and 70 are Collective members. But the Collective is about to move into a larger space, which will give them room for an additional 35 members.
The Collective hosts startups that range from 2 to 16-person teams. Current occupants include the gaming and well-being startup Happify, reputation management company BrandYourself, and video startup Cameo. Alums include Fondu, acquired by Airbnb and Klout, which seems to have been hosted by almost every co-working space in town.
All of the perks and amenities do add up: Fueled is one of the most expensive spaces in which to rent a desk, if not the most expensive at $650 per month. “We’re the luxury brand,” Chawla boasts. “We’re more like a members-only club: the Soho House of co-working spaces.” Clubby it is: Fueled has regular happy hours and parties for its members. “We also do catered lunches every couple of weeks. Next year we plan on having a chef on the premises,” Chawla added.
Despite the steep price tag, the Collective is far from being a profit center for Fueled. “We didn’t set it up to be profitable,” said Chawla. “It’s a loss leader that generates other kinds of business.” In fact, there have been instances where clients have become Collective members.
Unlike some of the other spaces, Fueled Collective is less focused on networking and educational events for the greater tech community. In fact, their policy is to not host outside events. “The idea is to make this the best place for our members and employees to come to work,” Chawla offered.
It seems to be working. As we wandered through the offices, we noticed various members who were not hard at work, taking breaks/impromptu meetings in the common areas: the kitchen, the sofas, at a large table far and away from the work areas, there, no doubt, for meals/collaborating/socializing, collectively.
With the Collective expanding, and Fueled, the app development company, doing quite well, any advice he’d like to impart to fellow entrepreneurs.
“Don’t change something that works just to get the big client,” he began. “It ends up hurting you more than it helps you. I made mistakes whenever I changed the rules for larger clients. The biggest mistake I ever made was hiring junior people to save money. And when I focused on designers and developers rather than the back office. You need a strong back office: I learned that the hard way.”
“It just feels good to work here,” claims their website. It might be among the most expensive work spaces in Manhattan, but you’re in the heart of Soho with the world at your feet and we can imagine that that must feel very good.