Codi lets you turn your living room into a co-working space
By Adele Peters
May 16, 2019
Photo courtesy of Codi
Christelle Rohaut (M.C.P. ‘18) is the CEO and founder of Codi, a new startup that lets people transform their living room into a co-working space during the day.
“I used to work from home, and it’s very isolating,” says Rohaut. “When you go to coffee shops, they can be very distracting. And there were no working options close by, and downtown coworking spaces are very expensive.”
Rohaut started to work from friends’ homes, and found that she was more productive. “If we want to make it available for everyone, it needs to be a business,” she says. She saw the potential to take the idea further and founded Codi (previously named hiven). The company allows resident hosts to rent out their unused living room spaces as coworking spaces during the day. As with Airbnb, hosts are insured against any damage from guests.
For hosts, the concept is a way to help offset some of the expense of Bay Area rent for spaces that are unused durinrg the day. It’s also designed to avoid one of the pitfalls of Airbnb: Each host has to prove that they’re a resident of the home, so it doesn’t incentivize owners to use the platform instead of renting to tenants. “The host can just share their unutilized living rooms during the day and then keep enjoying their home at night the same way as before, and there’s no overlap between those two,” says Rohaut. “So it’s not displacing anyone.”
Rohaut also recognized the concept could have broader benefits for cities, including reducing congestion and boosting local businesses that have fewer customers during the day. As a student, Rohaut was a fellow with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and focused on how the idea of the “circular economy” applies to neighborhoods. Money spent locally, for example, usually circulates throughout neighborhood businesses. Instead of driving to a distant office, or commuting on a crowded train, the startup wants to enable workers to stay local.
Codi launched in the spring of 2019, and has locations in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.