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Co-Working Community Finds 'Serendipity' In Stamford

John Arenas, CEO and founder of Serendipity Labs, which has more than 100 co-working locations, stands in the company's new Stamford location.
John Arenas, CEO and founder of Serendipity Labs, which has more than 100 co-working locations, stands in the company's new Stamford location. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

STAMFORD, Conn. — For John Arenas, CEO of Serendipity Labs, choosing a co-working experience should be like choosing a hotel.

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“You go there for an experience,” Arenas said. “There are a lot of different brands, and you go to the brand that delivers experience you want for that particular need.”

Travelers seeking a hotel may choose a property based on whether they’re staying for a business experience or a weekend getaway. Arenas believes that those seeking a co-working experience should have a choice, too.

Arenas, who opened his first location in Rye, N.Y., recently opened his doors to a lab location in a historic building on Stamford’s Canal Street. The company also has more than 100 locations from Ridgewood, N.J., to Aventura, Fla., and is targeted toward established, mid-level professionals in their 30s, 40s and 50s, unlike other spaces that are more focused on startups or tech firms.

The space, which includes workstations, private offices and team rooms, is different from traditional room rental facilities. The idea behind Serendipity? You’re not just getting a desk — or an office.

“We want to have vibrancy — 6 by 16 — or six days a week, 16 hours a day, something is happening. And we add to that because our locations deliver … a full schedule of events and activities, from lectures to art shows to seminars and classes, meet-ups. We set up communities here,” Arenas said.

Through mobile technology, members can also check in at the front desk without using a card. And, if members want to reserve a meeting room, they can do so through a tablet posted beside the door.

Arenas said the company seeks a diverse set of members across industries, company size and stage. But he said the Stamford location will likely have many financial services clients similar to the company’s Rye location.

Arenas said many of the lab’s clients work for companies that pay for their memberships. About 45 percent of members are employees of established companies that have monthly membership accounts.

Co-working is among a growing trend of U.S. companies: A total of 30 percent of the U.S. workforce now chooses where and when they work, according to the company.

“It becomes a very big strategic push from companies to give people better ways to work, particularly if you know if there are long commutes involved or there's a need to extend [a] career for an employee who would like to work with a more flexible arrangement,” Arenas said.

Co-working solutions are becoming more attractive as companies reduce their office space and the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, he said. His company is competing against office space — there’s 12 billion square feet of office space in the U.S. — as well as those who work from home, Arenas said.

In the end, Arenas said his company seeks to help workers.

“We're trying to help people and their potential unlock their full potential because people today … have a lot of responsibilities pulling on them — family, parents, children, home, work, employees. And if we can be a platform to help them manage that work life integration better, then that's a pretty powerful thing for them in their lives,” he said.

For more information on Serendipity, visit its website here.

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