In lieu of a steady job and buying a home in one city, the digital workforce is becoming increasingly location-independent — mostly by way of technology.
Home-sharing services such as Airbnb have redefined traveling, allowing globetrotters to experience cities beyond the traditional confines of hotels. Coworking has revolutionized the office, replacing cubicle farms with collaborative, open-floor plans that foster in-the-moment entrepreneurship. A number of new players have popped up in these spaces, from the advent of coliving in New York City to coworking subscription services.
Now, there’s a new entrant in the sharing economy, and it’s trying something entirely new.
Roam was founded in 2015 as an international network of interchangeable, design-led communal living spaces. Think boutique hotel meets high-end coworking space. The company allows users to pay for just one lease, but to live in fully equipped and immaculately designed communal residences around the world.
These “leases” run customers $500 per week, or $1,800 per month, and allow them to reserve a stay in any Roam location. Currently, the company operates spaces in Miami, Madrid and Ubud, Bali, with plans to expand to Buenos Aires and London using its new financing. The round will also be used to expand the team and develop the company’s online platform.
These spaces accommodate between 20-60 people and provide visitors with fully furnished private suites that are booked on a week-by-week basis. Each facility includes a built-in coworking space, WiFi, laundry facilities, internationally compatible electrical outlets, a shared kitchen and access to locally operated coffee shops, bars and restaurants on-site. Some of the locations even offer a shared pool, media room, library, event spaces, breakaway communal spaces and phone booths.
Ultimately, the company aims to provide a seamless option for travelers who want to work remotely, live globally and be a part of a community.
“Before you start your journey you become a part of Roam’s closed Facebook group in order to connect with people who are actually staying there at the moment or have stayed their before hand," Roam cofounder and CEO Bruno Haid said. "You’ll be able to see who these people are, what they are working on and what their background is, so you arrive at a location already knowing people."
This unique sense of community lies at the heart of Roam’s mission. Throughout the different spaces, the company organizes community-driven activities and events, local language classes and a strong support network of local creatives and professionals.
The round was led by CRV, with participation from Collaborative Fund, NextView, Corigin and angel investors such as SoundCloud founder Eric Wahlforss, Sean Park of Anthemis Group and CEO of Teleport, Sten Tamkivi.
By 2017, the startup plans to have 8-10 locations set up around the world.