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Startup Diaries

QUILT, the Airbnb of Coworking for Women in Homes, Los Angeles

From now on F10 accompanies startups on their way and documents their progress in regular intervals – the big and small successes, the challenges, and the defeats. Gianna from Quilt starts us off

Who are the founders?

Gianna Wurzl & Ashley Sumner

Founding year?

2017

Headcount at the beginning/and today?

Just Ashley and I to start, now we are 14 people strong.

How did this idea come about?

Quilt was built with a clear vision of restoring balance and addressing the evolving needs of the work domain in order to give individuals the space to develop on both personal and professional levels. Ashley’s ingenuity had been instrumental in the success of a prominent matchmaking company, along with serving as a community developer for elite brands such as NeueHouse and Wanderlust. Previously, I had served as a senior strategist for Wunderman and Isobar working to solve key business problems for large brands like L’Oreal. So Ashley’s background in psychology, matchmaking, and intuitive ability to bring people together coupled with my entrepreneurial track record and motivation to reimagine how we work from a woman’s perspective devised the philosophy behind Quilt.

Working together within my previous coworking venture One Roof, we observed the extent that people open up when they are in an intimate environment, and how much the home can transform a space to spark powerful connections. It was when we moved our community from a house to a leased rental space and witnessed the whole heart and soul leave when we left the home that the inspiration for Quilt struck. And upon the circulation of an informal email describing the new in-home coworking concept, within a brief 48 hours over 300 women signed up to be hosts, further strengthening our vision. We instantly realized the pressing need to create a genuine solution to help people feel more connected to themselves and to each other. And so Quilt was conceived in order to create a community that helps people tap into their own power.

Your motto or mission statement?

Restore balance by transforming on- and offline spaces to spark connections.

Did either of you have any previous experience in this sector?

Yes, we had both been community builders for many years. I was focused on building community for women and Ash was working for large luxury-branded communities.

Funding for any startup can be challenging; how did you overcome this?

We had spent many years nurturing our relationships and providing a lot of value to people in our communities. There was definitely a sense of nervousness when it came time for us to ask for support, but it was important to overcome the fear of asking in service of growing Quilt. We sent a lot of emails, had over 75 coffees before Mike Walsh from Structure Capital wrote the first $50,000 check in April 2017.

First milestones?

We raised over $300,000 to build version 1 of our website in April 2017. We have been in beta testing and learning since September 2017 and finally launching in May 2019.

The biggest success so far?

It’s hard to name one. Raising $3.8 million dollars in funding, running over 600 gatherings over the last 12 months, supporting over 2,000 women, building our incredible team at Quilt.

And the biggest defeat?

It’s been really hard to slow down at times to listen. This is such a big idea and we want to accomplish so much, but there are only so many hours in a day and it’s very important to pause. Without the pause you could miss vital signals that could impact the success.

Your visions for your startup and next year?

Growth! We have built our own technology and are working tirelessly on ensuring it’s serving our members needs. We have been very cautious to not grow too quickly and jeopardize the integrity of our mission. We finally feel confident that our technology can handle the kind of growth we envision.

 

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