It seems we’ve reached peak coworking.
The trend, in which startups, freelancers, and other employees work out of a shared office, is so established it’s driven the growth of a $17 billion company (WeWork), inspired the co-living movement (in which members work and live out of the same building), and redefined how many freelancers think about utilizing space.
It’s so hot that Shark Tank star Daymond John, who spends his days listening to hundreds of startup ideas, wants a piece of the action. To that end, he’s launching his own coworking venture. Called BluePrint + Co, the two-story space is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
When the company opens its doors this week, it joins a host of competitors, including WeWork, NeueHouse, Ensemble, and dozens of other venues scattered around the city that offer startups and professionals a place to set up their laptops and get work done.
So what does John think makes his company stand out from the pack?
In a word: himself. In an interview with Fortune, John makes the case that he is the company’s competitive advantage, namely his ability to select companies, individuals, and employees who will contribute to the collective experience. He wants a mix of ages, industries, and expertise. In general, companies should have raised at least $250,000 to be considered for a spot, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. John is open to making exceptions for “a great patent attorney,” maybe, or perhaps “someone who knows tax law.” The goal is to create a place where members can mutually benefit from one another’s network, experience, and skills.
Whether this model is scalable — and whether John will have the time to actually field applicants — remains to be seen. For now, John is relying on his “personal rolodex” to fill the 200-desk venue. (Basic membership starts at $250 a month, with dedicated desks starting at $1,000 a month).
For John, this is the direction all workplaces are headed. Millennials “don’t want to be stuck in a traditional office.” At the same time, people in positions of power, who often fall in the “50 to 70” demographic, “are stuck in their old ways.” Blueprint + Co, he says, is his attempt to “bridge the gap.”
Watch the above video to see John introduce the company.