Thoughts on The Reef as its own company

The Reef was kind of unloved in our Power Pitch exercise. No one of the four directors present chose to do a pitch of it.

So here’s a couple of notes I took on the train to Bordeaux. Not a pitch, but attempting to address some of the most important questions to prepare one.


The Reef is a new technology for people to live and work together. 

The problem with the home

  • High cost of living pushes people out of thriving areas and away from economic opportunities.
  • Constraints on real estate markets block lifestyle innovation in and for sustainable, sociable living.
  • Rigid work-life separation brings about commuting, unhealthy habits and burnout.
  • Rising costs of care leaves less affluent individuals underserved.

The solution

A co-living, co-working space for individuals and small businesses.

It has four main components, each with its own revenue stream.

  • Living quarters (revenue from residents paying rent)
  • Social spaces (ditto, with rent being paid both by residents and resident businesses for access. We can also think about resident businesses that also offer opportunities for socializing, like cafés or gyms or yoga studios).
  • Workspaces (revenue from resident businesses paying rent and occasional renting out of meeting/course rooms etc.)
  • A business network (revenue from membership, training etc.). 

Good for people

  • Communal living generates economies of scale and lower costs.
  • Care-by-community institutions à la OpenCare become viable, from yoga-in-the-courtyard sessions to bulk buying of healthy food.
  • Environment "nudges healthy".
  • Mutual support dynamics set in fairly naturally. 

Good for businesses

  • Staff can live onsite - no commuting! 
  • Live-in facilities (guest rooms) come with a lively social environments. Easier to recruit overseas, involve digital nomads etc. 
  • Environment conducive to sociality facilitates mutual learning.

Good for network members

  • Works as a "deep prototyping" environment for communal and shared living: furniture, apparel, food preparation, energy saving...
  • Access to the early adopters, up close and personal. 
  • Learning events, yearly gathering etc.