Giving Facetime to Desktime

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The Windy City is known for many things: Navy Pier, the Chicago hotel and shopping landscape along the Magnificent Mile and the best pizza this side of the Mississippi. Now, Chi-Town is gaining notoriety for something else: innovative startups. Sam Rosen, the head of web development firm One Design Company, also manages the 5,500 square feet of shared workspace known as the Coop. He also finds time to participate in The Post Family, a local artists’ collective. Now he’s about to add one more responsibility to his rather full life. It’s an ambitious startup called Desktime.

What is Desktime?

In his role as a shared workspace manager, it didn’t take Rosen long to realize that there had to be an easier way to deal with all the details involved in shared workspace management. It’s bound to get confusing with the flexible and fluid nature of leasing desk space. Scheduling the workspace and keeping billing on track proved to be particular challenges. Rosen used this technical expertise, along with his web development experience, to create Desktime: software that makes various aspects of management simpler.

Making the Transition to the Marketplace

It might seem like a giant leap from creating a product intended to help him stay on track to actually having paying customers, but that’s just the leap that Rosen has made—with a little help. That help came from another well-known Chicago name. Ken Pelletier, the former chief technology officer of Groupon, provided Rosen with the seed money needed to take Desktime on the road. Pelletier became well-acquainted with Rosen when One Design did work for him during his tenure at Groupon. The investment that Pelletier initially made is poised to pay off now that Desktime has its first paying customer.

Desktime may be in its startup stage but that hasn’t stopped 1871, the company which manages a 50,000 square foot slice of shared workspace real estate located on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. This workspace is intended to serve as a hub for entrepreneurs in the technology field. Desktime’s association with 1871 is already leading to an evolution of sorts for the product, as there are currently plans to roll out new features that handle property booking as well as payment processing.

What Does Desktime Offer Consumers?

Startups today face many challenges. The ability to share workspace resources eliminates many of the financial hardships and challenges these companies face as they work to get their businesses up and running. Not all people working with startups want to work from home. Some prefer the distinction between work and home. Others prefer interaction with others, which they can’t always get when working at home.

Desktime gives these entrepreneurs the platform to find the perfect office space for their needs. It does it in a way that doesn’t contractually bind them to that space, by allowing users to rent office space, empty desks or conference rooms on their own timeline. They can rent by the hour, day, week, or month according to specific needs. No long leases are required.

Innovations like this serve highly practical purposes. It is also precisely why Chicago is becoming such a hub for forward-thinking startups. Desktime is only the beginning. There are sure to be many more successful startups cropping up all over Chicago in the coming years.


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