Launch Pad: Brad Hargreaves, Founder of Common

Common logo

You’ve got a great new job, and you move to a new city—say, New York or San Francisco. You don’t know anyone. You don’t know the neighborhoods. You don’t have a community. Where do you live?

The new answer is Common.

Founded by Brad Hargreaves, former co-founder of General Assembly (listen to a great show about that venture here), Common is creating a new kind of residence: co-living.

In Common’s co-living apartments you get your own bedroom, then you share the kitchen, living areas, and “a whole long of common space,” according to Brad—all at a lower price point than a studio apartment. Plus cleaning of all common spaces, utilities, wifi, and furnishings are thrown in, making it a very good deal indeed. The intangible, of course, which also comes included with the rent, is the community.

Basically, with Common, you get to “keep the fun things like having potluck dinners, hanging out with friends, meeting new people, but take away all of the annoyances.”

Do people want this? Well, according to Brad, they’ve had about 12,000 applications for the approximately 150 rooms that they’ve opened so far. Their median age is 30, median imcome $98,000/year. They’re in the tech and creative industries, finance and government, law—and just a few students. Unsurprisingly, 70% of Common’s residents are new to the city.

Ultimately, what Common is doing is bring “a spirit of technology, of innovation, of good user experience design, of community,” into residential real estate.

Listen to Brad and Karl Ulrich talk about how Common scored the domain name, the complexities of financing a startup that also needs to raise VC money but also buy real estate (they own their buildings), and the surprising amount of overlap between General Assembly and Common.