Founders come from everywhere and all walks of life, and the companies they create are often the results of their circumstances and experiences. Pie in the Sky is a perfect reflection of Sung Kim‘s experiences in the startup community.
Kim, a former Senior UX/UI Designer at Samsung, has a few high profile projects in the area, including PediaQ, Blownaway, and his own project Gestures. He’ll be presenting at SXSW with the topic “Reality is an Illusion.” But code and digital user experience are one side of Kim, the other is physical user experience.
Dallas/Fort Worth is known for its low cost of living compared to other tech-friendly regions. Depending on the stage of the company, living space rent and a membership at a coworking space will be the largest expenses they have. Why not marry the two? Live and work in the same space?
Pie in the Sky (PTS) is just that, primarily a work space, Pie in the Sky also offers something no other shared work space does: a dedicated place to sleep. Yes, it is a workspace with sleeping quarters.
Located in the downtown Carrollton area of the Dallas/Fort Worth, PTS is a short walk from some of the area’s best food: Cane Rosso, Babe’s Chicken, Twisted Root, and the fabulously quaint Rainbow Diner. It’s also a 5 minute walk from DART’s Downtown Carrollton Station. From the pedestrian walkway over Belt Line Road, to the suburban foot path and its artistically adorned concrete pillars supporting the rail system above, the it’s a showcase for the value that modern transit oriented development can provide for a neighborhood.
Being close to transit was a deciding factor for the location. The trip to West End Station (home station to The DEC, The Grove, and Level Office) station in downtown Dallas is 35 minutes, to DFW Airport station is 59 minutes and Love Field is 36 minutes. These are very reasonable when compared to other large metro areas.
The outside is a nondescript glass door, there is no clear indication that PTS is there, and that’s by design says Kim, “We want to stay low, word of mouth only.” That makes sense. PTS has just four rooms available for overnight stay.
Its external door leads to a private entry, all white walls with a red door. From the moment you enter, there’s an indication that this isn’t a normal residence. The doorbell is Ring, a Bluetooth powered remotely monitored doorbell. The door lock is Kevo, a touch sensitive Bluetooth powered lock. Kim says to wait for the next release because its Bluetooth proximity sensor will be more sensitive. He has a friend on the development team.
The space itself is very comfortable, and feels like a well appointed modern one bedroom apartment. The furniture feels like Pottery Barn and Ikea, and won’t leave questions about the expected user experience. This is not what you’d expect from a space made for startups and founders. It’s refreshing.
On the business side of the space, a wall is covered with chalkboard paint, and the kitchen table that will comfortably seat six. Purified water (heated, cooled, and even iced) is provided, as are the necessities for French press coffee. The beans will be sourced locally, of course. There’s a multifunction printer included.
Its kitchen is well appointed, and has dishes and an assortment of cookware. Each guest is expected to clean up after themselves… and the dishes and bath linens are color coded, answering the questions “Who left the plate in the sink?” and “Who left the towel in the tub?” A stackable washer and dryer are included, and linen service is provided free of charge for guests staying longer than a week.
One of the first questions Kim gets is about the restroom and showering facilities. They are shared, but remember the feel here isn’t bunkhouse or hostel, it’s a one bedroom apartment with a maximum of five individuals overnight. It’s more like staying with a friend or Airbnb, than the locker room in a gym.
The sleeping quarters have no ceilings, a compromise with code compliance. If there were ceilings, the sprinklers wouldn’t function properly. Kim worked with local startup attorney Kevin Vela on many of the more intricate details, like the zoning that was required to make the space possible.
Simple things that must be stated are in the “House Rules,” a document every guest must read and sign. A notable inclusions addresses excessive intoxication. “Drinking is fine,” say Kim, “but getting drunk and acting inappropriately is not.”
Pricing is very reasonable considering, especially the features and appointments. Overnight is $25, weekly is $150, and monthly is $600. That includes linen services, 60Mbit internet, water, electricity, a workspace, and bicycles – available free with a signature.