When I first started my business, I worked in cafés between school runs with my laptop functioning as my mobile office. It didn’t take me long to realise that I could not work out of cafés forever: I could not make a private phone call, I had to lug everything to the toilet if I needed to go and to be honest, most café chairs are not designed to be sat on for long hours. Also, after a few months, I had had what I felt was a lifetime of lattes and mochas. I never thought it would get to this but I started loathing the smell of coffee. I was also desperately lonely and had no one to talk to about building a business from scratch.
That’s when I stumbled upon the world of co-working spaces and realised that KL had a few thriving places for freelancers and small companies with little or no budget to rent a whole office space.
Fluent Space was the first co-working space I joined and it was fabulous because I could lean on a community of like-minded people. My business suddenly felt real, not just something I was concocting in my head. There were lots of opportunities to learn from folks of varied backgrounds and nationalities – starting the day with breakfast together, sometimes with nasi lemak on the house. Fluent Space attracted largely young techie types and most times I felt like I was the oldest there – indeed I was the only mom around with all those energetic 20 something coders who worked insane hours. I learnt so much – there was always someone who knew someone whom you could ask about anything: service tax to company secretaries to coding (ruby on rails, anyone?).
They have now moved to Taragon in Kelana Jaya and have another place in TTDI.
Fluent Space: A-10-03, Plaza Taragon Kelana 3, Jalan SS6/6, 47301, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Daniel at Nook never judged me about not going to the Fitology gym that was right next door. I loved the open and relaxed vibe at Nook which at that time, attracted both techie types and artsy, non-profit types. Perched on a hilltop in Bangsar, it is a calming space framed by trees. The free parking was always an added bonus for me! There was a decent kitchen where you could warm up your lunch. My favourite spot was at the balcony where I spent many hours writing reports for clients. I have many happy memories of those quiet early days. It’s much more busier now I hear, but still very welcoming and boasts a great Bangsar location near the LRT.
Nook : 9, Jalan Riong, Off Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Paper + Toast
As a rule, I stick to suburbia – so Paper & Toast was not really an option on a daily basis for me as it used to be smack in the heart of the city. Some years ago, I did brave the traffic to Bukit Bintang to spend a few hours and was pleasantly rewarded with an efficient space to hammer at my laptop. There’s less of an indie feel than the other places – in fact, I feel that it is really more competition for the Regus and White Space of the world but if you are so inclined, it has all the wherewithal to support your business. The plus point is the on-site café and they aptly call themselves a coworking space + kitchen collective.
They have now moved inside the MaGIC building in Cyberjaya which I have not tried but definitely will be right up the alley for start-up techies in KL.
Paper + Toast: Block 3730, Persiaran Apec, 63000, Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Here’s are some other exciting new co-working spaces. There are always events and seminars going on as well, sometimes free – so it’s worth keeping connected. If you have tried any, please let us know, we will be happy to feature your review!
The Co Asian Heritage Row, No. 42-48, Jalan Doraisamy, Chow Kit / 8, Lengkok Abdullah, Bangsar
Start Level 6, Bangunan Yayasan Syed Kechik, Jalan Kapas, Bangsar
The Nest 7, Jalan Derumun, Bukit Damansara