Work Out: Workspace Company 'Campsyte' Opens Camper-Themed Office Lot In SoMa

Two weeks ago, on-demand workspace startup Campsyte added a new camp-themed workspace, OutCamp, on 9 Freelon St.(near Zoe St.) in the SoMa/South Park neighborhood.

Hosted in three campers surrounding a "campfire," OutCamp offers daily and monthly workspace rentals in a setting meant to provide easier access to fresh air and open areas.

Hoodline reached out to Campsyte co-founders Niki Choo and Dennis Wong on the inspiration behind OutCamp, one of several Campsyte locations in San Francisco.

OutCamp features three campers around a courtyard campfire. 

Choo received her Masters in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard and is an avid lover of the outdoors. Wong studied at Brown and Stanford and has an extensive background in engineering, architecture and eco-design.

They originally started Campsyte to target those who wanted a stronger sense of community in their shared workspace. The company is trying to tap into what Wong calls a "certain type of nostalgia" for connecting with the outdoors, and with each other. 

"Part of the motivation of this project was to try and redesign cities, to enhance city life," Wong told us. “In the tech-driven world of Facebook and social media, this space provides a more intimate setting — it’s a little more personal.”

"Dennis and I have a pretty strong background in exposure to development," said Choo. "I like to look at these neuroscience studies on how nature influences people. Social interaction has a big influence on how people view their utility and happiness."

Campsyte founders Niki Choo and Dennis Wong at OutCamp.

So far, Choo and Wong have had a few decent-sized startups hold meetings in OutCamp over the last couple of weeks, as well as individual customers. Startup incubator 500 Startups has reserved the entire lot for an event on Friday.

At OutCamp, the Camper "offices" are in three campers scattered throughout what was once a parking lot. The largest camper (called George) fits up to six people and has air conditioning.

Each of the campers is available for rental, which costs between $25-$35 per hour, depending on the size. A day pass for an individual is $11 an hour. Access to the lot is through a smartphone key pass, so no key or badge is required.

"It’s really rewarding for me to see the transition from a parking lot to a beautiful space," said Choo. "We’re just really excited about being open."

Like most other co-working spaces, internet, printing, coffee, tea and snacks are all included with the rental. Since the lot is open to the elements, heaters and fans are available, with outdoor heat lamps on their way. Soon, beer will also be added to the list of workspace perks.  

OutCamp's snack station.

Back in 2015, Hoodline reported on the original concept for the Freelon Street, which used re-purposed shipping containers in its design. Due to city zoning laws that made it difficult to build what would have been considered permanent structures, ProtoCamp moved to Brannan St. instead of Freelon. The campers, on the other hand, are temporary fixtures. 

The company has been rapidly expanding, with more in the works. In July, Campsyte will be opening up Drone Camp — a meeting and event space for up to 200 people in a warehouse at 435 Brannan Street — targeting companies whose projects require more space.

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Work out workspace company campsyte opens camper themed office lot in soma