Walk into Prosper Gowork in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and immediately one smells the fresh paint. It’s as if the scent represents the freshness this co-working space brings to the industry.
“This is for the needs of people to bounce around,” says Elena Drakos, owner and COO. “It’s designed for people who move around and have clients.”
Opening recently at 1024 Broadway, Prosper Gowork offers co-working space for salespeople, real-estate agents, remote workers and others on the go. What’s different from many other coworking brands is the price, $99 a month, and the quick access of a storefront location. That compares favorably to a coworking giant like WeWork, which charges $300 for a spot at its Brooklyn Heights location.
For Drakos, the idea for Prosper Gowork was born of her own needs as a real-estate property manager. “I used to be asked if I could have clients come to my office,” says Drakos. “I would be like, ‘No, it’s at home next to my kid’s room.’” Meeting outdoors seemed unprofessional and coffee shops were iffy. “They’re unpredictable,” Drakos says. “You can’t always get a seat.”
In searching for a coworking space in Brooklyn, though, she found them too expensive and often poorly set up for bringing in clients. “It just didn’t seem worth it to me,” Drakos says. So she decided to rethink the concept, keeping her prospective space simple to keep the costs down and seeking out storefronts for their connection to the neighborhood. The Bed-Stuy space has two levels and a backyard and is situated close to the JMZ trains on Myrtle Avenue. So far, the formula has been attracting a lot of interest, says Drakos. “We’ve had a lot of traffic. The feedback has been really, really positive.”
“We bring the office to you,” Drakos says, which she means literally. The startup plans to open eight to ten locations in Brooklyn this year, starting with two this summer in Bushwick and Crown Heights. Drakos hopes to blanket the borough with outposts within two to three years.
The new locations will follow the template of the Bed-Stuy prototype. It has many of the same features as other co-working spaces: tables for people to work on their computers, four sound-proof phone booths, two “greenhouses” for impromptu meetings, and a small kitchen in the back. But it also has access to the backyard and a basement work area, which allows more privacy. Members have 24/7 access to the space. All told, the space could accommodate 75 people.
What the Prosper Gowork formula doesn’t include, in order to keep the price so affordable, is all the programming that other coworking spaces provide: yoga classes, networking events, and happy hours. “If you just need a place to plug in your laptop and get to work,” says Drakos. “Then we’re the place for you.” Sorry, beer-pong fans.
After conquering Brooklyn, Drakos aims to set out for fresh territory. “Sky’s the limit. We’d go national eventually. We have big plans. There’s no place where we won’t go.”