To enable people to live with more creativity, connection, and purpose
our common future
When you look at the history of civilization, you could say it’s ultimately a story of people struggling to live together- on a home called planet Earth. Through the years we’ve gotten better at it, with incredible gains in democracy, civil rights, and raising the standard of living for billions. Yet when we look into the future, we still have a ways to go. Ahead of us lies some of the most serious challenges we’ve ever faced- from extreme income inequality to the degradation of ecosystems on which we all depend.
At the same time, never before have we had better tools, resources and the collective will to come together as a species. The emergence of the internet, sustainable technologies, and a global networked economy are indicative of a new, common future possible for us. Ultimately, OpenDoor is an invitation to live better together as a human family- to reimagine our cities, buildings, and homes as places that take care of both people and the planet.
If ten people can learn to live well together, perhaps ten billion can learn to share this common home called Earth.
The real estate industry is out of touch with deeper needs, values and aspirations of modern urban dwellers. We are reimagining home for the collaborative age– building a national network of spaces for living with connection, creativity and purpose.
Collaborative Real Estate
Mainstream housing products are based on antiquated notions of hyper-individuality, consumerism and the suburban American dream. We envision housing that honors the needs of individuals, while also optimizing for our fundamental need for community and social interaction. Housing that’s designed to bring people together to share space, resources, ideas and more. In a world where our lives are increasingly dominated by digital devices and online social networking, never before has there been a greater need for authentic human connection. We do not think of ourselves as a real estate company, rather we are in the business of human experience- curating communities and cultural containers that enable a lifestyle rich with purpose and connection.
Living Buildings & Cities
The future of humanity is urban. Living in dense, uber-sustainable cities is the only way to manage our societal footprint, while also meeting the needs of a growing 7+ billion people. We see a future where buildings produce their own energy from clean sources, where water is treated as precious, and where urban planning is based around a walkable lifestyle rather than cars. Beyond ecological factors, we must learn to make our cities feel more like home. We imagine buildings that facilitate social interaction, efficient resource sharing, and ultimately curate a real sense of community. As a company innovating new models for real estate, we intend to catalyze the transition to a sustainable and connected built environment, one that will sustain life for generations to come.
Ben and Jay met in their MBA program at a very special place called Pinchot University, where we studied how to use business as a tool for positive social impact amongst the trees of Bainbridge Island, Washington.
We started with the notion that you are the average of the ten people with whom you spend the most time. We imagined a home where you surrounded yourself with aspirational peers who inspire, challenge and support you. A home where people would come together to share space, meals, and conversations. To put our ideas into action, in 2013 we created a house called the Sandbox House, using ourselves and our lives as guinea pigs for this idea.
The Sandbox House was a huge success, serving as the prototype and proof-of-concept for our coliving model. In late 2013, we launched OpenDoor and have since started three more houses in the Bay Area. Along the way, we created organized systems for starting and operating shared living spaces. What’s more, we learned how to curate unique and authentic communities- that true community cannot be manufactured, you simply create the right conditions for it to flourish.
We’ve been a big part of popularizing coliving as a lifestyle and proving the business case for modern community housing. Now we’re working with major developers to create new, urban-scale coliving spaces from the ground-up. We believe that collaborative living in its various forms will be a significant part of the future of real estate, housing and thriving, sustainable cities.
Jay’s first taste of community was on long wilderness canoe trips through northern Canada. During college, Jay started a student-run organic cafe with a group of classmates. This entrepreneurial foray showed him the power of business as a vehicle for positive action. He then went on to co-found Impact Hub Seattle and studied systems thinking at the Pinchot MBA program. Jay is fascinated by the power of healthy groups and teams. A designer and people person by nature, Jay brings clear communication to the business development, marketing and community building efforts at OpenDoor.
Ben spent his college career working on Mars rovers before deciding to focus on more terrestrial concerns. As a Cornell mechanical engineer, Ben brings rigor, exactitude and creative problem solving to the operational systems core to our coliving model. Ben’s diverse career includes high tech product design at Bose, business development for a biofuels startup, and grass-fed cattle ranching. Ben has an MBA in sustainable systems from Pinchot University.
Carolyn has split her professional life thus far between nonprofits and startups – a fair reflection of her English degree from UCLA and Masters in Social Work from UC Berkeley. In both worlds, she saw the importance of building community and and creating positive interpersonal relationships. At OpenDoor, Carolyn is the point of contact for all residents and can usually be found knee-deep in all things adminstrative. Outside of OpenDoor, Carolyn is a certified yoga teacher and aspiring world traveler.