The Broker Techies Turn To
How does Jenny Haeg do it? The former CAC Group broker founded Custom Spaces only two years ago, and today she works exclusively with Airbnb, Spotify, and Square, to name a few. In the past, she nabbed spaces for Dropbox and Twitter.
Here's one secret: Her firm, now five employees, doesn't turn away startups that need only 1,000 SF. In fact, she makes a beeline for them, knowing they grow. When she started working with Twitter in 2006, it had just four employees (and the only person worth following was Shaq). She went on to place Twitter into 60k SF at 795 Folsom and 11k SF at 539 Bryant. She started working with Airbnb in 2008 and five years later found it 170k SF at 888 Brannan.
Custom Spaces doesn't go away after tenants sign along the dotted line. That might mean doing tasks for free, like finding tech execs short-term housing (on Craigslist). The USC alum builds flexibility into leases given the unpredictability of startups' growth, and avoids high rents, so more fundraising dollars can be used for recruiting. Other clients: VCs. One, Index Ventures, wanted to go against the Sand Hill Road grain and plant an office in the city. She found them a 3,600 SF pad, pictured above, across from AT&T Park with open desks and an entrepreneurial vibe (high ceilings, exposed brick); now portfolio firms want to drop by and work.
Now she's planning a future NYC office, as Bay Area tech firms hunt for satellite locations there. Perhaps investors should follow Jenny around to discover the next big thing; "They do," laughs her colleague Eva Gabrielsen. The new HQ she found for temp housing giant Airbnb (above) sits inside a former factory, and the founders opted to retain the original railroad tracks running through the lobby. The office also features meeting rooms modeled after listings around the world, from Berlin to Bali.