RentHop Office Spaces: The Early Years
Our original office was Lawrence’s apartment on West 43rd Street and 9th Avenue. This was back in summer 2008 – Lehman Brothers was still around, I was still a quant at D. E. Shaw & Co. by day, and the only 99-cent pizza contenders were “Two Bros” and “99 Cent Fresh”.
Michael Grynbaum from the New York Times interviewed us from this apartment, and Ruby Washington took the photo (and made us do the pose).
Graduating Out of the Apartment
After our brief stint in Mountain View, CA, we upgraded to various Starbucks branches around the office. It’s Fall 2009, so there still aren’t many startups in New York or anywhere outside of Silicon Valley. We would usually be the only ones working from laptops, and a few old men would yell at us saying, “You know, some of us here want to sit down and drink our coffee!”
The Starbucks on 41st and Lexington was one of the friendlier places – it was had plenty of seating and reasonable hours. That’s the Starbucks where Julie Gordon shot our Reuters pitch video, which later became a topic of Jon Cook’s “expert panel.” All the experts claimed a new rental site like RentHop had no chance of success, but of course most of those experts were working on their own competing products.
That Starbucks was also next to the Level Group office, called Pari Passu at the time, who were our first brokerage partners.
Eventually, it was time to find a permanent home – even though paying rent with a daily latte saved us a lot of money. We found SoTechie Spaces, on 39th and 6th, which still exists today! We had an office warming party, for no good reason, and people actually showed up. Below is Andres Morey, the founder of Octopart, featured in How Not To Die.