The World's Hottest Startup Space: Runway In San Francisco

A little while ago I had the chance to visit what is probably the hottest shared-work technology startup space in the world, Runway in San Francicso.

In short, it is incredible. It is a space of almost 30, 000 thousand square feet filled with 70 different start-up companies. Check out founder Allan Young's TechCrunch TV tour of Runway here.

Since Allan (Runway's founder) and Jeff (Labs) are good friends and have known each other for years, Runway is also home to our HireVue Labs space in SF where William and team work building CodeEval (among other things).

Highlights of my trip to Runway were beating Tonya in PingPong, coffee with William and connecting with Allan Young and various other tech players.

This space is really damn cool. So cool, you should start your own if you do not live in San Francisco.

San Francisco coworking space Runway isn’t quite like other shared offices and incubators. Yes, there are still conference rooms, rows of people bent over their laptops and so on, but there are fewer desks than usual, and, true to the name, everything’s organized around a wide central walkway. There’s even an igloo-style private space for calls and meetings, which is a pretty cool place to conduct an interview.

Founder Allan Young took TechCrunch TV on a tour, and he said that less than half of Runway’s square footage is devoted to traditional desk space. Everything is laid out in a way that encourages startups to connect and work together, he said:

We don’t talk about, ‘Oh, there’s a shared receptionist or shared printing.’… Those things aren’t conducive, or aren’t critical, to building awesome startups and awesome companies, and we just focused on some of the most basic things. You need to be part of a community. We’re trying to kill the idea of the garage startup, which is a cherished myth in Silicon Valley, right? Jobs and Wozniak and Hewlett and Packard. But those were different days.

(It’s not mentioned in the video, but Young has said that he wants Runway to be a break-even operation, not a big moneymaker. His eventual goal is to cover expenses through corporate partnerships and sponsorships, so he can offer the desk space for free.)

Runway, which is located in the same building as Twitter and Yammer headquarters, opened earlier this year, and Young said the space is completely full. Here's a list of the startups (and alumni) that are there now.