Qwerky CEO: The Next Logical Progression For Humans Is Coliving

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In 2016, David Lowe left Austin, Texas and moved to San Diego. He is working on his second startup Qwerky. We spoke to him about the ups & downs of startup life:

How would you describe Qwerky in a few words?

Qwerky is a community for like-minded people. The thing they all have in common: they all live with purpose. Digital nomads, entrepreneurs, startup founders and world citizens are favoring experiences over material goods. We need less to feel content in our lives. Being around people we have something in common with gives us a sense of well-being and connectedness. Our members (Qwerkies) can find coliving and coworking spaces, connect or be matched with collaborators and then start businesses or collaborate on projects.

You moved from London to Austin, Texas to launch your startup. How come? Why did you choose the US over a European location?

After trying to launch a startup in London and going through depression, I needed a change of scene. The British weather was killing me so I decided to start a new life in the home of the entrepreneur – the USA. I started in Austin, Texas and then moved to San Diego in 2016. Since I moved from the UK, I have had a successful exit from my first company and am currently raising funding for my second one. Things are going really well for me on this side of the Atlantic.

You imagine the future of living as a mix between coliving, minimalism & smart communities. How do the three work together?

With the rise of the sharing economy and coworking, the next logical progression for humans is coliving. People are realizing that life is better together and that they can share resources and get further in their careers faster. Minimalism is another movement that has been spreading rapidly. The US is famous as a consumer culture but many Millennials have gone against the tide and begun to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. They don’t need to buy a house, car or designer clothing. They realize that with less, they have more. When you combine coliving with minimalism you have an aesthetically pleasing and streamlined existence. When you combine this with our idea of “Smart Communities” and technology that enhances the way we communicate with each other, we have an optimized form of living.

You mentioned that coliving is already spreading throughout the US whereas it seems Europe is still lagging behind in this regard. What do you think does it take to implement this concept and what are the main benefits?

The irony of this is that coliving originated in Amsterdam around the 1980s. There have been some excellent examples of coliving communities and as many areas of Europe are socialist, the movement easily lends itself to the region. However, the momentum has slowed I think because of the aversion to risk by most people in Europe. The movement has snowballed quickly in the US because of the entrepreneurial culture and investors willing to see if they can get a return. I think once Europe takes more chances when it comes to starting new companies, the coliving movement will explode.

Last year, you traveled Europe to discover the local entrepreneurial and coliving/coworking communities. Could you share your experiences?

I was surprised how almost every coliving space I saw was not embracing technology and members were struggling to communicate online or mobile. My biggest surprise was seeing a coworking space in Paris, France that was a converted railway station. It was like an entrepreneurial city under one roof and made me actually think we need more spaces like this in the US.

You plan to launch in April this year. What can you tell us about the preparation process?

We have made a crucial pivot and are now focusing on building our community online and on mobile. We are also going for funding and initial talks with investors have been very encouraging. It has been hard work but the pre-launch press has been phenomenal and we are very confident we can create something our community members need.

Tell us a bit about your opportunities: What can startups expect & who will be able to join Qwerky?

It is not just startups. We are attracting digital nomads, solopreneurs, world citizens and travelers to our community. When they join Qwerky, they are instantly connected to like-minded people around them. Example: if a startup founder moves to a new city and needs a co-founder, we can connect him/her to people we think are a good fit. Our app will allow them to stay updated and review candidates. We will also have our own network to use as a resource. The idea is that we will help Qwerkies to hit their potential and accelerate their success. This will make them happier human beings.

Anyone who needs to be around like-minded people can join us. So far, digital nomads, solopreneurs, world citizens and travelers are particularly interested but we have had applications from teams and students from around the world who want to benefit from our community. It is really exciting to have this buzz already even though we haven’t launched (btw our community is using #stayqwerky to tell their friends about us). One day, there will be a Qwerky in every key city so wherever you need to go, you can be part of our community.

What are the challenges you face building a community?

The biggest challenge is making sure the right people are in our community. We have literally spoken to people all over the world. The only requirement really is that you have to have a purpose and want to connect with other people. We want to combat “The Loneliness Epidemic” which most Millennials are experiencing. We also want to take the US from 14th on The World Happiness Report to Number 1.

Where do you see Qwerky in the future?

Once we have built our community online and on mobile, we want to give them a place to live, work and thrive. My co-founder Max is developing a Smart Mirror which will be a way for our community members to communicate with each other. We have also talked about floating entrepreneurial cities, using Qwerky’s sustainable architecture and modular design for disaster relief and even discussed how our communities can eventually be found on neighboring planets like Mars.

I see coliving as being a way to experience community. For older generations, they have been conditioned to think they need a big mansion and to be away from their neighbors and be selfish. But with coliving and community, people will see that they really need each other to be truly happy.



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