This startup helps you host meetings in art galleries and historic buildings

by Andreas Rekdal
September 15, 2016

Looking to up your startup's meeting game? Peerspace, an online marketplace for renting meeting spaces and other event locations, announced on Thursday that it is launching its service in Chicago.

Much like Airbnb does for apartment dwellers, Peerspace invites businesses, art galleries, museums and other venues to monetize their available spaces.

Founder and CEO Rony Chammas (pictured right) said the idea came to him while he was studying in New York and doing some consulting work on the side.

“I started running some consulting meetings and school meetings out of art galleries that were near the NYU campus,” he said. “Getting out of the school or traditional meeting spaces really made an impact on our productivity. But when I looked to reserve those kinds of spaces in other parts of Manhattan, I realized that there wasn’t a system in place.”

So Chammas decided to set one up.

Peerspace is based in San Francisco, and its services are available in five other cities so far. Chicago is the company's first venture into the Midwest and will serve as a test market for the company’s 'Concierge Services,' which lets guests book catering, furniture rental and audiovisual equipment from third party vendors through the site.

With these added services, Peerspace wants to become a one-stop shop for event organizers as well as for companies in need of meeting space.

Alongside competitors like Montreal's Breather, which launched in Chicago this spring, Peerspace is filling a niche born out of the startup world's move toward coworking. While coworking spaces are great for collaboration and exchanging ideas with other entrepreneurs, they're not always as good for meeting with customers or putting on events.

Chammas said the 170 Chicago locations on the platform, which include the Historic Bath House Building, the River North Art Gallery and a historic mansion in the South Loop, were mostly sourced through referrals.

“Companies are now able to really get outside of the office and outside of their traditional locations, spark some creativity and get inspired by our locations,” Chammas said. “We’ve seen many Chicago companies use the service during our beta, and it’s one of our fastest growing markets at the time of launch.”

Images via Peerspace.

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