SQFT is a new online matchmaking service in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood that aims to connect young businesses and organizations with short-term spaces in the city.
One the one hand, SQFT seeks to activate vacant or underutilized spaces by fostering short-term use and commercial activity. “nothing beats bricks and mortar, but not everyone needs a permanent space”, the founders explain. “A vacancy rate of 10% is pretty good, but that’s wasting millions of square feet every year.” On the other hand, the platform wants to bolster existing businesses by increasing foot traffic, attract new business, create employment opportunities for local residents, and bring vibrancy into areas.
What makes SQFT particularly interesting is the fact that it seems to understand what role the Web can play in bringing together supply and demand of temporary urban space, contrary to most other pop-up space initiatives (and we’ve seen loads of them, believe me). The website is based on basic matchmaking mechanics. If you’re looking for a temporary space, fill in what kind of businesses you need the space for, how much you need, and specify which days of the week you need the space and for how long (from one week to six months). The system will then try to offer you a space that meets your needs.
Another appealing aspect of SQFT is the founders see an opportunity for online stores when it comes to revitalizing the good ol’ Main Street, as “the local space can act as a step between online and in-store”. If you’re interested in reading more, be sure to check out this trend article about hybrid online-offline shopping concepts that fill up the empty spots in the shopping street of the future.