Three years ago, the first Podshare opened in Hollywood; now, there's a whole little Los Angeles empire of these co-living spaces that are set up like a giant sleepaway camp cabin, complete with fancy bunks (pods) that have their own flatscreen TVs. Except now, the proprietors are emphasizing that they're less of a novelty hostel and more of "a coworking space with beds," reports Motherboard.
"We do not identify with hostels—we are a co-living space or a live-work community," Podshare's creator says.
The company has locations in Hollywood, the Arts District in Downtown, and, soon, in Los Feliz, and they're now really pushing the community aspect of living and working in what's essentially a big open room with bunk beds, tons of shared space, and minimal privacy. And it all sounds really really intense. Here are the most bananas things about this whole situation:
—Podshare started as a way to never be lonely again. Creator Elvina Beck (who built the first Hollywood location out with her dad) tells Motherboard, "I started it to cure my own loneliness, so I never had a night without friends."
—Billed as a co-living space, these extreme hostels are just as much for travelers as they are for "mobile workers"; Podshare's 10 to 30 Murphy beds "turn into desks by day." (Podshare is also popular with people who are apartment-hunting in LA.)
—Beck now lives in a Podshare herself "with 23 ever-changing roommates."
—She also takes advantage of the fact that she can co-work where she co-lives: Beck holds business meetings for Podshare at a table inside one of the Podshare locations, where guests "can listen in on the daily ins and outs of running the pod business."
—Beck feels like her setup (living in a pod, having meetings in a shared space) is something that appeals to the young entrepreneur: "Pod life is the future for singles which are not looking to settle down, but focus on their startups and experience something new."
—Every guest (Podestrian!) is pre-screened before they get a pod and, after their visit, post-screened. All Podestrians have a profile on Podshare's website that includes "a personalized review" of that guest. The two-step vetting helps to keep the true weirdos out, Beck says.
—In four years, Podshare's had more than 4,000 guests. Podshares have a 92 percent occupancy rate across both open locations and a 19 percent return rate.
—Some Podestrians have treasured their pod time so much, they've gotten Podshare tattoos, documented on video.
—Podshare has an explicit "No PodSex" rule, which sounds nuts, but as anyone who's ever stayed in a dorm-style room at a hostel can attest, is incredibly necessary to establish. A design element helps keep people in line: "We built the pods facing each other so the community polices itself."