Shared tech workspaces spread beyond sands of Silicon Beach

People using a coworking space. Cross Campus

In a sign of increased desire of professionals to work remotely, the successful Santa Monica shared workspace Cross Campus is opening a second location in Pasadena later this month, and the company hopes to open eight others in Southern California and beyond in the next two years. 

Dubbed by one user as  the “nerve center” of the Silicon Beach tech scene, Cross Campus opened its membership-based workspace facility in Santa Monica in 2012.   

But co-founder Ronen Olshansky said the shared workspace phenomenon isn't limited to coders. 

"Fewer and fewer people are making the traditional drive into the corporate office," Olshansky said. "They're working remotely as professionals, going off on their own as freelancers, or they're starting their own companies as entrepreneurs."  

A forecast from Forrester Research says that 43 percent of workers will telecommute by 2016, compared to estimates of about a quarter of the workforce telecommuting last year. 

Olshansky said that, for many people, working from home or in a coffee shop isn't productive. 

That's led shared workspaces to pop up in Los Angeles, Culver City and Santa Monica. Among them: Maker City L.A., WeWork, NextSpace, Coloft and Hub LA.  

Los Angeles-based tech investor David Waxman said these kind of shared spaces are crucial for the early stages of tech ventures.

"When you’re just starting out, and capital is very scarce, having not to commit to an entire office but having part of an office is very important," Waxman said.  “There comes a collective energy when a bunch of entrepreneurs get together in the same space, even if they’re not working on the same project."

And he said Pasadena is a good choice for a shared workspace.

"It is the home of Caltech, the Arts Center, and IdeaLab — probably the world’s first tech incubator — started there," he said.

But he said the need isn't limited to Pasadena.

"In Silver Lake, in South Pasadena, in Glendale, you see a lot of little pockets of  people getting together, and as soon as there’s a critical mass, we’ll see co-working spaces like Cross Campus come into being," said Waxman, who named his investment firm TenOneTen after the two freeways that connect Santa Monica and the Westside to Pasadena. 

Alex Maleki of IdeaLab in Pasadena is happy a well-known company is opening up in his city. 

"Anything that helps attract talent and capital to the region," Maleki said, "is absolutely fantastic."