Startup Office Envy: The West Coast Edition

Simply being located on the West Coast of the United States is enough to incite envy among East Coasters as we bundle up for another fall and winter.  However, these awesome tech startup offices don”t stop there and, fair warning, they will probably have you updating your LinkedIn profile and checking out flight fares to San Fran and LAX.  Here are ExchangeMyPhone‘s top picks for the most enviable tech office spaces the Pacific coast has to offer, where innovation thrives inside and out.

west coast map

If you haven’t already heard, AirBnB is the online matchmaker for travelers and residents that lets people rent out their homes or extra rooms to their peers for short-term stays. Seeing as this is the start-up that ‘started up’ a revolution in travel accommodation it only makes sense that their own digs would reflect their passion for that “home away from home” feel.  And AirBnB does not disappoint.  Hands down the coolest thing about their San Francisco office is, rather than take office inspiration from outside sources, they took it from their own listings! So when AirBnB staffers go to work they go to offices modeled after one Berlin artist’s pad, a Soho loft, a Hong Kong bachelor pad and our personal favorite: a rural mushroom cabin in Aptos, California.  And, ever a stickler for the details, the AirBnB designers even worked with the apartment owners to make sure the smallest touches were true to the original listings.  So, should we have this meeting in the Parisian garotte or the Swiss chalet?

AirBnB west coast office

This San Francisco office is sort of like stepping inside a disco ball, but seeing as the company is one of the largest providers of social game services, it is only fitting. You enter the work space through a neon glowing tunnel and the lobby is complete with sequined decorations and a vintage Winnebago they fondly call the Zyngabago. In the basement they even have a game room where Mafia Wars is king. But the best part? Employees are actually encouraged to bring their pooches to work with them and the entire office is totally K9 friendly.

Zynga startup office

You may have squandered innumerable hours in the black-hole of procrastination that is StumbleUpon but there is no wasting time, or efficiency, in their office.  In their San Francisco home, the center piece is definitely innovation. Even the conference rooms are named after great inventors: for instance, the  Pasteur room is fully equipped with beautiful and fully-functional vintage microscopes.

StumbleUpon startup office

But StumbleUpon isn’t just a pretty face, they also take into great consideration the well-being of their employees.  Check out these perks: catered breakfast and lunch daily, $100 of Uber credit for transport at month, visits with the massage therapist who stops by twice a month, and a chance to win a new iPad for Hack Week, an annual event in which employees work together on “out of the box” ideas for StumbleUpon and one idea is chosen to be implemented.

Urban Airship
Urban Airship (provider of easy, affordable way for mobile publishers and developers to deliver real-time push notifications and in-app purchase content to their app users on multiple platforms), is all about transparency when it comes to their brand identity and their office space.  They began, like many start-up boot-strappers in a shared, incubator-like, office and loved the open feel.  So, even a lot of success and their own stuffing office later, they don’t have any private offices and it’s one of the reasons they moved into the wide-open space of their current office last year.

Urban Airship startup office

Added perks? Friday happy hour (from their in-house keg), a celebratory, engraved bell for the sales team to ring after big deals are made, and finally, no vacation policy! This is a technique that the founders credit Netflix for; you take the time that you need when you need to take it, and you put it on the shared calendar for the entire company to see. People know when you’re going to be gone and can plan accordingly around gaps and releases. As for now, no one has abused the policy.  And why would you? With a homey office, scavenger hunts around Portland and flexible vacays its not a place you’d want to avoid.

Pinterest is synonymous with beauty.  It is basically all about a feast for the eyes but, oddly enough, their Palo Alto pad is a bit of a contradiction.  Tucked away on a suburban block in an unmarked building, these guys have no time for frills and fancy break rooms: namely because they can’t take breaks.  With a staff of only 25 people, Pinterest has exploded in the past year and now drives more online traffic than Google+, Youtube and LinkedIn combined! Understandably, that leaves no time for decor. But ExchangeMyPhone predicts that this will be an office to keep your eye on, with the sort to gigantic success they are seeing we don’t think they won’t have a fold-out snack table for too much longer.

Pinterest startup office

Startup News: The Enviable Office Tour, NY Tech Addition

Posted on August 15, 2012 | innovation, Start-up, tech offices

The tech startup has not always had the most glamorous stereotype: it has often provoked an image of two dudes in their parents’ garage. Are their businesses brilliant? Yes. Beautiful? Heck no. But nowadays that couldn’t be further from the truth. Tech startups are snatching up prime SoHo real estate and designing unconventional, modern, fun-loving office environments that move as fast as they do. And yes, they are making us all very jealous.

Blip employees are experts about two things: monetizing, incubating and popularizing original video content and bringing the party to the office. Unlike Youtube, the material on Blip is hand-picked by their editors, who developed the idea after loving the first web-series they saw and resolving to create a place where independent and newbie producers could showcase their work. Plus, Blip always shares the pie: they have a 50/50 policy with creators when it comes to advertising revenue.


So what kind of office environment does it take to keep a place like this churning out great stuff? Apparently, Nerf-sniping their coworkers and a lot of beer pong. During their tour of the SoHo office, Business Insider found that every Blip employee is armed with a Nerf gun, and not afraid to use it. They also have a pimped-out kitchen complete with a beer tap, which they also aren’t, apparently, afraid to use: they even beat College Humor in a beer pong championship hosted by Gawker. Jealous yet? Did we mention that they can write on their conference-room walls? All this, plus they spend their days watching T.V.!

No, these are not photos of New York’s trendiest new bar (though it could be, located at the intersection of three of the city’s hippest neighborhoods: Nolita, SoHo and the Bowery, a.k.a. hip junction.)


It’s actually the Gawker office, the blog-based “source of Manhattan media news and gossip”, and it is complete with wooden-paneled ceilings, leather upholstery, and yes, mood lighting. But unlike the city’s trendy bars, this office is clique-free and has an anti-hierarchical design; even the highest-up executives and the founder work in the “common ground” of the office’s open seating plan. And, just so they don’t get on each other’s nerves too much, there are phone booths inside the office.

The Thrillist office in NYC takes the prize for the best chotchkies, no contest. In one look around their office the kid in you will be distracted by any number of awesome knickknacks: the vintage twister set, the fully-loaded blackjack table, a giant carpet with Executive Director, David Blend’s face on it (a gift for being “employee of the decade”), a pool table, and Jägermeister tap. Hmm, we’re sensing a pattern here…

But Thrillist employees aren’t letting any of these awesome doodads get in the way of building their dude-empire: Thrillist is a daily newsletter to bros and hipsters alike, men off all makes, tipping them off on things like good eats in their neighborhoods, new music and a news feed of stuff that, according to their website, “doesn’t suck, you already have your job for that.”


Birch Box
Don’t worry, we’ve got the ladies covered too. Birch Box provides more than 100,000 customers monthly with personal, luxury, home-delivered beauty boxes. The founders met at Harvard Business School and aimed to provide a service that “helps consumers cut through the clutter of the retail world to find products that really work for them.” Needless to say, it’s taken off in a major way, and they now also offer a men’s line.

Their office, like their products, leaves you feeling glowing and fresh: it is so beautiful and colorful it looks like “I Feel Pretty” is probably playing on repeat 24/7. But the Birch Box folks aren’t just pretty faces; the office supports their employees’ minds and bodies too with a small sharing library and a 2-min work-out break every hour, gotta love that.

Birch Box
When a company’s mission is to help people improve their lives through design, they gotta have the décor to back it up. Luckily at New York’s virtual marketplace for design lovers with deals galore, Fab has it in spades.

Have you ever argued with a friend about who first discovered the best pizza joint, that movie no one can stop quoting, or found that hilarious cover song? Well now when you find it you can stamp it, with the Stamped app, and prove it when others try to steal your glory! You can also share all your favorite stuff with your buddies and see what they are into too, so I guess there’s a more egalitarian angle too.

At ExchangeMyPhone we have a huge appreciation for all things analogue embodied perfectly by this newly-minted start-up’s home. Even the name Stamped and the logo were inspired by a specially commissioned rubber stamp from Casey Rubber Stamps. Throughout the office you can find an antique “emergency phone”, a vintage radio and NYC map and of course an enviable collection of retro rubber stamps. Are we forgetting anything? Yes, you guessed it, there’s beer here too, a whole fridge dedicated to it in fact!


*Photos and footwork courtesy of and their wonderful office tours