If you could have any space to work, host a meetup, have a meeting, or just get away for a while, what would you choose? Would it involve a desk in a quiet and brightly lit room, or two armchairs in a creative and serene space? The young Barcelona startup Sheltair lets you rent private spaces by the hour, whenever you may need them, and they’re all specially designed for you to make the most of your time away from the office. We caught up with Anna Martinez Balañá, the company’s Founder and CEO at 4YFN Barcelona.
An App to Get You Out of the Office
Imagine that you’re stranded in a city you don’t know, you have a couple of hours to kill before your flight departs, and all you want to do is put your head down and relax, or work undisturbed. Or, imagine you’re sick of the crowded office that you work in, because, no matter how much you love them, your co-workers just won’t shut up, and you really need to concentrate. Or say you’re about to have a private meeting with a business partner, and you have no place to offer them a seat and a drink. What are you supposed to do?
Luckily, these thoughts have already crossed someone’s mind – and that someone decided to do something about them. Anna Martinez Balañá, the founder and CEO of Sheltair had enough of not having a space at her disposal to fulfill her needs when she was traveling or working, so she created an app to solve the problem. As someone with a genuine passion for power naps, she felt like she may not be the only one who needs some alone-time now and again.
“Today, you see a lot of freelancers and people working remotely at noisy cafés and crowded co-working spaces: people are collaborating with each other around the globe, and they all want to be as efficient as possible. But how can you do that when sometimes, you just don’t have the right space? There are a lot of things in today’s world that you don’t actually have to own to enjoy their benefits, so I thought, why not do the same with private spaces? My family owned some real estate that could be put to use, and I realized that there was an opportunity in time-slicing spaces, that is, renting them out by the hour,” Anna recounts.
Your Phone is the Key – Literally
Whether it’s an offsite meeting, an interview or just some “me-time” that you need a space for, you are sure to find a tasteful and modern room in Sheltair’s growing selection. Right now, there are six specially designed spaces for you choose from in the city of Barcelona.
“We design and decorate all of our spaces ourselves. I’ve gotten really good at building furniture lately,” Anna adds.
The Sheltair app is quick and easy to use – you can reserve spaces from half an hour up to three days, depending on what you need them for: a quick meeting or a longer workshop. The key is your smartphone, so you can come and go as you like within the reserved time frame.
Startup Bliss in Barcelona
As a startup founder, Anna thinks that Barcelona is an ideal place for a young company to take root.
“I think it’s a good place to start, especially because the tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem attracts a lot of good companies and talent. Unlike London or Berlin, Barcelona is still a small city, but this can also play in our favor when it comes to starting a company. It’s easier to get to know more people with whom you can collaborate,” she says.
As for a young startup’s access to investment, Anna says: “Madrid is probably a better place to meet professional investors and VCs. When talking to investors who are not located in Barcelona, we usually do a call, and if there’s potential, one of the parts travels. This is why it’s so important to improve the connectivity between these cities and the mobility for all these professionals, from transport facilities to, for instance, hourly meeting spaces like Sheltair.”
To reserve your private space in Barcelona for however short a time, download the Sheltair app!
If you’ve got your own startup story to share, get in touch with us, we’d love to hear about your project!