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The Bulletin

Start-up rents out your spare desks online

Posting in Cities

A search of my local area

A start-up has launched ShareDesk, a new online marketplace for companies to monetize idle office space in major cities around the world. It's like a Match.com for office seekers.

ShareDesk has been operating in beta since late last year, and now has over 1,000 companies participating in 50 countries - from Argentina to Venezuela. Berlin, New York, and San Francisco are among its most popular cities. Businesses rent out conferences room and desks, providing an alternative to commercial office centers.

Renters can search listing by location or place custom requests with specific requirements. That concierge service is being offered to better target start-ups, ShareDesk's blog noted this month. Renters may have personal profiles on the site, which hosts can use to be more selective about exactly who is sharing quarters.

ShareDesk has to make money too, so it charges a 15 percent commission (paid by renters to ShareDesk to make a reservation) for each engagement. Guests pay upon arrival however the host business wants to be paid. ShareDesk's model is somewhat different from commercial renters due to its focus on short term rentals.

Commercial players like Regus appear to be more focused on virtual companies. Aside from making conference rooms available, they tend to deal leases that last for more than just one day.

For perspective, Regus operates in over 1,200 locations globally, so ShareDesk's peer-to-peer type leasing model isn't rivaling its scale yet. But some companies are able to make more efficient use of real estate.

Update: ShareDesk CEO Kia Rahmani says, "we are projecting to reach and surpass 1,200 properties at the end of this month so we are perfectly positioned to compete with Regus as the largest platform for flexible workspaces."

Editor's note: I just helped set up a friend's virtual company in Washington, D.C, in a Regus office space, which was an entire dedicated building across from Union Station. It's not an apples to apples comparison.

(image credits: David Worthington; ShareDesk)

— By on February 18, 2013, 12:21 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure