On Friday, all of my meetings were downtown but I had a two hour open window in the late morning. Instead of schlepping to RRE’s office in Midtown East or sitting in a noisy Starbucks with spotty wifi, I decided to give Breather a try. Breather is a newly launched mobile app that provides on-demand rooms in large urban areas. It is the brain child of Julien Smith a Montreal-based writer and entrepreneur. The service currently operates in Montreal and NYC, costs $25 / per hour and is available seven days a week from 6am to 10pm.
The main goal of the app is to provide a quiet place to hold a meeting, work in private or just take a break for an hour or two. While the service is perceived as “odd,” novel and unproven, I can imagine a growing market for this type of flexible space. Demand will likely come from small companies with virtual organizations, freelancers, visiting executives and employees and even tourists. The timing for something like Breather to emerge couldn’t be any better since asset sharing, co-working and freelancing have become important pieces of the innovation economy for nearly a decade.
The end-to-end experience was seamless, easy and surprisingly enjoyable. After I downloaded and registered for the app, I was able to easily search for Breathers in my area. As you can see the NYC locations are conveniently placed in SOHO, Flatiron and Penn Station: