By Cassidy DeStefano, news correspondent
Among the cadre of universities, libraries and coffee shops dotting Boston, recently-expanded startup Cove hopes to popularize a new class of workspace.
“We feel like we’re a stand-alone [company] serving the general purpose of being productive,” Adam Segal, Cove’s co-founder and chief executive, said before the company’s Boston launch party last night.
The driving force behind Cove is supplying a tranquil workplace equipped with all of the necessary utilities including commercial-grade printing, free Wi-Fi, scanning services and a selection of beverages, according to Segal. The Cove workspace is located at 297 Newbury St.
Cove should be seen as a rising staple of urban campuses that provide not only a peaceful work environment but a supportive community forum, Brand Director Erin Gifford said.
“It’s kind of twofold, which is really exciting,” Gifford said. “We’ll host events and try to create opportunities for people to come together outside of the work space. We host happy hours, industry-specific productive hours, book club, fun things like that.”
Members have several payment packages to choose from, ranging from $59 to $249 per month. Josephine Do, a student at the New England College of Optometry, said she chose the “Steady” option, the most popular plan, which charges $99 each month with a limit of three hours onsite each day.
According to Do, her investment has already paid dividends.
“I don’t really like studying at libraries so much, and I’ve noticed I’m a lot more productive when I’m here,” Do said.
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Scott, who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), met Segal in graduate school at Harvard University. The duo launched Cove’s first location in Washington, D.C. in September of 2013 and now operates 10 workspaces there.
“[Washington, D.C.] has a great startup community, but Boston’s is one of the strongest in the country,” Scott said. “I think every city needs something like Cove. It’s just a pervasive, universal need that isn’t a coffee shop and isn’t your living room.”
According to Judy Hsu, a Northeastern graduate and site manager at the fledgling Back Bay location, the storefront on Newbury Street has already enjoyed significant foot traffic.
“People are constantly out and about especially on the weekend so street teaming as an advertising strategy works really well,” she said.
Hsu, who majored in management at Northeastern, completed co-ops at Plymouth Rock Assurance and Massachusetts Convention Center. Although she found both rewarding, she ultimately sought a job at a company free of ties from an umbrella corporation.
“I first got super attracted to Cove because of the mission statement that they had,” Hsu said. “And if I were a student, I would totally use a space like this because there were many times when I was roaming around Newbury and I wasted two hours, partly because I was procrastinating but also because I was genuinely trying to find a place to work.”
Other Massachusetts students who attended yesterday’s launch party at the facility agreed with Hsu. Fulton Wang, a graduate student studying computer science at MIT, said that Cove serves a vital need.
“People are noisy, and sometimes you just need a quiet place to work,” he said.
Quiet, accessible space is important to some people, MIT alumna Leyla Isik agreed. Isik, who recently earned her master’s degree in computation biology, says Cove’s ability to provide that space to many people at once makes it unique.
“I’ve heard of similar concepts, but I think it’s really great,” she said. “My boyfriend works from home sometimes – I actually think he was one of the first members at this location.”
Although Segal could not disclose an exact number of members spanning the Washington, D.C. and Boston locations, he stressed that the Cove network boasts “considerable participation” from a sampling of distinct neighborhoods.
Beginning in January, Northeastern students will be able to partake in co-ops at Cove. Students can expect to perform jobs ranging from marketing strategy to on-site greeting, according to Gifford.
“I think even if somebody was interested in the tech side, we could accommodate them,” Gifford said.
Cove plans to launch another location in Somerville’s Union Square this month, bringing the total count to 12 by the end of October, Segal said.
Cove’s managers aren’t quite sure what comes after that, Scott said. Domestic expansion is on the agenda – but first comes building a bigger community in Boston.
“It’s pretty up in the air,” Segal said. “We’d love to open on the West Coast in a big city like San Francisco, but that’s way down the line.”
Photo by Scotty Schenck
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article cited Segal’s first quote as happening at, instead of before, Cove’s launch party.