February 20, 2019

Breather: A Space to Work, Meet and Focus

Founded in 2012, Breather is a company that provides workspace by the hour, day, and month to companies and individuals around the globe. For this Q&A, I had the chance to speak with CEO Bryan Murphy about what the company does, what its plans are moving ahead, and more. 

Tell me about your background. What were you doing leading up to becoming CEO of Breather?

Bryan Murphy Breather
Breather CEO Bryan Murphy.

I spent the last two years thinking about the optimal conditions for sleep at Tomorrow Sleep, a mattress startup within Serta Simmons, where I was president and founder. Now I find myself focused on creating the optimal conditions for workday productivity at Breather.

Earlier in my career, I co-founded WHI Solutions, the largest automotive ecommerce platform in North America, which we sold to eBay in 2012. Following the sale, I joined eBay’s leadership team as vice president responsible for verticals including motors, consumer electronics, and fashion.

The common thread throughout my career has been to reimagine traditional delivery models and build e-commerce platforms for products and services deemed too difficult to bring online: first cars, then mattresses, and now Breather for commercial real estate.

For those who don't know, what does Breather do?

Breather is a real estate tech company that provides on-demand access to private, productive workspaces in 10 cities worldwide. Companies can use Breather to search, book, pay for and access over 500 private spaces with the click of a button. From spaces for meetings and events for a few hours or days to our recently-launched month-to-month private offices, Breather serves as a simple turnkey solution.

Specifically, with our monthly office space offering, we’re catering to a largely underserved segment of growth stage businesses that don’t want to work in crowded, distracting coworking spaces or take on the financial commitment of a lease. Since 2012, over 500,000 clients, including Away, Tesla and Uber, have turned to Breather for private, productive workspaces.

What are your plans for the company moving forward?

We’re focused on intentional growth in our 10 existing markets, which include New York, Boston and London. Experts predict that at least 30% of all urban office space will be delivered as flexible space within the next 5-10 years - today just 2% of all space in New York City is currently delivered this way. So it’s safe to say we see a clear runway for growth, particularly as rising coworking fatigue has companies looking for solutions that balance their need for privacy and flexibility.

What sets Breather apart is our value to employees, companies and landlords alike. Employees of Breather customers are promised beautiful spaces brought to life by design experts and behavioral scientists that consider the impact of acoustics, thermal comfort and natural light on productivity. Companies can access private space that flexes to their precise needs at any point in time, and forward-thinking landlords can easily incorporate flexible space into their portfolios without changing their business models.

How big is the team? Any positions you're looking to hire for in the coming months?

Breather is a growing team of over 200 employees worldwide. We have a number of positions available across our organization, which you can explore here. We’re always on the lookout for great talent that shares in our mission to help individuals and businesses thrive in the modern, ever-changing economy.

Any final thoughts?

It’s been remarkable to observe the democratization of entrepreneurship over the past decade. The emergence of the on-demand economy, the rise of flexible working arrangements and unbounded potential of technology has truly lowered the barriers of starting and scaling a company. Companies like Slack, Amazon Web Services and Squarespace have played an integral role in reducing friction and fueling entrepreneurship and we believe that the digital transformation of office space will only add to the opportunity for growing businesses. We’re excited to be a part of it.

Alexander Culafi is Producer & Editor for VentureFizz. He also edits and produces The VentureFizz Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia.