TwoSpace Turns Closed Restaurants Into Co-Working Spaces

Image: TwoSpace co-founders Tashi Dorjee and Rob Walker are launching their service in Sydney next week. /SMH

In a bid to foster new and deeper connections among Australia's entrepreneurs and the wider community, new start-up TwoSpace will next week launch a platform allowing nomadic workers to make a temporary, comfortable home in the cosy environs of inner-city restaurants -- whose doors are normally closed during office hours. Read on to find out more.

The idea came about when founders Tashi Dorjee and Rob Walker recalled a unique establishment in Singapore -- where they both worked in 2013 -- which would transform from an understated daytime cafe into a swinging nighttime pizza parlour. The venue was called TwoFace.

"After we both moved back here we found it a bit hard to work at Starbucks or cafes all the time or even to have the odd meeting," Tashi said. "Then over dinner one night when we started to talk about some of the good old days, TwoFace came up while we were at a restaurant which seemed a bit empty ... and we thought what if we could fill this bad boy up with people who needed space to work from? And order food and drinks?"

Applying the transformation concept as a way to match freelancers with empty space — and also weave some new social fabric — TwoSpace will launch on October 10 at Casoni in Darlinghurst, Sydney. It will be free for the first month. The internet will be provided by Optus.

"The opportunity to connect with like-minded people in a space where ideas can prosper and grow is something we want to be a part of," Tashi said.

"By sharing the space with local businesses like restaurants we are building a community that helps each other."

Casoni welcomes the move because its owners Julian Marchetto and Nathan Moses would like to be more engaged with Sydney's start-up community, who might also want to stick around for a drink after 5pm when the restaurant's doors open up to the dining crowd.

"We really like the concept of TwoSpace, the engagement of other communities and innovative people coming together and networking," they said.

There are no shortage of co-working spaces in Sydney. However, these are primarily focused on replicating the experience of an office environment. They usually charge a monthly fee for a desk or access to a share space. This can sometimes be too rigid or expensive for freelancers and entrepreneurs, who may not necessarily have the time or the desire to be in the same office every day.

This is the main problem that TwoSpace aims to solve, which Dorjee said is not competing with other established spaces.

"By having our co-working spaces not just be relaxed but also turning back into restaurants and bars at the end of the day, it encourages a setting for gathering and networking. I have always felt more comfortable in a collaborative and social setting when talking to people, and this is the best way to help create that stage for everyone starting out or growing."

The pair have received interest from a number of restaurants. However Dorjee said that, for the first month at least, they will just focus on nailing the concept at Casoni then look to grow it from there. The idea is to eventually have a network of restaurants available across Sydney, Australia and Asia, where freelancers and entrepreneurs can drop in freely for a monthly subscription fee.

"A lot of the co-working spaces around are great, but they don't have the capacity for all the entrepreneurs out there and aren't affordable", Dorjee said.

"TwoSpace doesn't just have the cool angle going for it but ultimately it lets everyone have a go."

This article originally appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald

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