A Pod of One’s Own
In an age when privacy is growing ever more obsolete, Elvina Beck, founder of the “co-living, co-working” space PodShare, said she decided to extract that idea and apply it to a communal living situation—a concept that she will soon bring to Los Feliz.
PodShare, a company Beck said she created to ease loneliness and promote symbiosis, opened its first location in Hollywood in 2013. In April, Beck opened a second location in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, and plans to open her third PodShare this summer in Los Feliz.
According to PodShare Chief Operating Officer Kera Package, when deciding where to expand, PodShare heavily considers the accessibility and quality of food, drink, entertainment and public transportation.
Because Los Feliz is “so young and warm, it was a natural choice,” she said.
“Los Feliz is a really up and coming neighborhood,” said Package. “It’s very local and appealing…and it’s the best place to see a movie.”
Although Beck said due to a non-disclosure agreement, she could not provide the address or other specific details about the Los Feliz branch until its grand opening, the space will follow the same concept as the other two PodShare locations, where individual sleeping pods equipped with WiFi, Hulu and Netflix cost about $40 per night.
Beck said she thinks of PodShare as “a social network with a physical address,” which means a membership at one PodShare location is a membership at every PodShare location, each of which offers kitchen access, utilities, Wi-Fi, bikes and a communal working space.
This core idea of “access not ownership” has caught on so well that 15 of its members have gotten tattoos of the company’s logo, which depicts a suitcase meshed with the figure of a house.
As an entrepreneur herself, Beck said her goal is to accommodate freelancers and “digital nomads”—millennial travelers, transitioners and temps in need of flexible and affordable housing.
Over the past three years, PodShare has hosted over 4,000 individuals and has sustained a 94% occupancy rate. Members are required to pass a pre-screening process prior to their stay and a post-screening process following it.
According to Package, PodShare’s core value of open community does not come at the sacrifice of safety, but is instead contingent on it.
Package said PodShare considers everything from snoring
to—in extreme cases—participation in white supremacy groups in their screening process, and anything that could potentially compromise the community is taken into account.
“We would rather have an empty bed than someone dangerous sleeping in it,” she said.
According to Package, PodShare plans to open up to eight more Los Angeles locations before expanding further up the coast.
Posted June 30 2016 at 6:00 a.m.