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Co-Working Spaces - The Sharing Economy

In the heart of Silicon Valley – a place that is home to some of the world’s most creative innovators and entrepreneurs – the shared economy has opened its doors to a brand new marketplace.

One of those innovators is Vibhu Norby, co-founder and CEO at b8ta, a software-powered retail showroom for Internet of Things (IoT) products. Norby and the founders of b8ta noticed a retail world where big, hardware product brands with the most dollars were keeping out small upstarts. They identified this problem and then created a strategy to solve it.

“To me, the shared economy is ultimately about fixing inequality in markets. Where there is inequality — whether created by law or culture or history — marketplaces are arising on the Internet and in the offline world that are fundamentally changing how we live,” Norby said.

b8ta is one of those marketplaces. As the first of its kind, this Palo Alto-based retail showroom displays and sells a range of IoT products. According to Norby, products generally fall into one of four categories: connected home, electric transportation, smart toys, and sensory augmentation devices.

Most of the products are also sold online and many, prior to b8ta, were exclusively available through ecommerce channels. But Norby understands that with emerging technologies and IoT products, consumers want to try what they’re buying before they decide to purchase. “Everything in b8ta is featured out-of-box and can be demoed by customers. Our b8ta testers are on-site to answer the most difficult questions,” Norby said.

Since opening in December 2015, b8ta has enjoyed immediate success.

“The response has been tremendous. Customers engage with tens of thousands of products a week in our store,” Norby added. “We get visitors from across the globe who want to see what the future looks like.”

After a simple online sign-up process, b8ta evaluates each product before accepting to display them in its showroom. “Once a company has signed up, they send us a demo product or sit down with us. If a product checks out, we offer space for a couple weeks in the store. As products succeed, we allow them to stay longer with us. If they don’t, we fill the space with something new,” Norby said.

“The process is designed to bring in new products consistently, but also ensure that the quality stays high over time. We aim to introduce four to five new products twice a month, so that each time visitors come in, they discover something new.”

There may be large retailers that offer showrooms for their product line but b8ta is unique in that it offers space to new products from both big and small companies and treats them equally.

“There’s no other store like this in the entire world. b8ta is the only software-powered retailer, and many of the products we showcase aren’t available anywhere else,” Norby added.

The emergence of the shared economy has impacted transportation, product delivery, work spaces, vacation rentals, and more. At b8ta, it has also opened up a marketplace to products not typically found offline with the hope of changing how physical retail works for both manufacturers and consumers.

Business Resources Flexible, on-demand & coworking workspace

Palo Alto

Sandbox Suites
3505 El Camino Real | (415) 659-8197

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions
2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Ste. 200
(800) 863-3423

Enerspace Coworking Palo Alto
2225 E Bayshore Rd., Ste. 100
(650) 320-1770

Pacific Workplaces
2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Suite 200
(650) 320-7600

Regus Palo Alto
228 Hamilton Ave. | (650) 798-5000

Regus Palo Alto
530 Lytton Ave. | (650) 617-3200

HanaHaus, New Varsity Theatre
456 University Ave. | (650) 326-1263

Nordic Innovation House
470 Ramona St. | (650) 325-5500

World Wide Instant Offices
540 University Ave. | (650) 328-0100

526 Bryant Street, #5 | (800) 471-8704

675 High Street, #3 | (800) 471-8704

Menlo Park

The Pad, Silicon Valley
1370 Willow Rd. | (650) 276-0536

BootUp World
68 Willow Rd. | (800) 493-1945

Pacific Touchdown
4040 Campbell Ave, #120
(650) 577- 2367

Mountain View

Design Spaces
1045 Linda Vista Ave. | (650) 862-1467

Hacker Dojo
599 Fairchild Dr. | (650) 989-7925

Regus Mountain View
800 W. El Camino Real #180
(650) 962-0888

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