Last year we chronicled our travels around the startup scene in the “Best Startup Offices In San Francisco“. The response was strong, so we thought we’d step it up for 2012.

Still traveling around the city by bike, but this time with a Canon Rebel T3i. We’ve enjoyed the time we got to spend with each of these companies, and hope you’ll enjoy this year’s edition of the “Best Startup Offices In San Francisco”.

Coolest Building

You didn’t expect to see a fancy high-rise in the top startup offices did you? Check out Weddington Way‘s classic San Francisco building in the Marina. First things first, how many startups are bold enough to choose the Marina?

Inside the office, the Weddington Way team works in a cozy setting that is ideal for communicating with team members.

Best View

Okay, so perhaps there is a high-rise in the 2012 startup awards. Advertising powerhouse Marin Software is planning an IPO soon, taking them well beyond startup status. Regardless, this is a killer view of the Bay Bridge that we enjoyed this year…well done!

While we’re at it, Marin Software also had some of the best use of color that we saw this year. In particular, their hang out area sports some nice couches with flare.

Best Deck

This was an easy choice for 2012. As soon as we saw it, it won. Twitter gets the award for best rooftop this year. I mean…laying down in the faux grass, headphones in, getting creative on my Mac sounds like a pretty damn good work environment.

The deck is so good it’s worth a second look.

Best “Hang Out” Area

The kitchen and common areas represent the heart of a household. A nice common area can be the heart of a great company as well. This “hang out” area at MuleSoft near Union Square provides a comfortable setting to talk with teammates, and fresh fruit too.

MuleSoft takes advantage of their awesome space by accentuating natural light coming through their large windows. There are lots of opportunities to “hang out” throughout their office.

Best Corner Spot

K2 Partnering Solutions has just the right spot to catch up in their Sansome Street office. Sometimes you need a bit of privacy, but you don’t really need that much privacy. An oh yeah, the view isn’t all that bad either.

K2 also has a team meeting area that was unique to any others we saw. Nice use of white boards, and a good venue for exchanging ideas.

Social Entrepreneurs Get It Done Too

You can make a difference in society and have a great startup office too. Spark has a sunny spot at the crossroads of SOMA and Potrero Hill. It’s hard to top sunny views with fresh greenery.

…And how motivating is it to see the kids that you are helping every day when you come to work. It provides a definite purpose for your efforts.

Best Name For An Office

Nothing gives an office an instant identity like a catchy name. This year’s hands-down winner is AdRoll. Inc. Magazines #7 fastest growing company moved into a new headquarters on Mission Street this year. The space was promptly coined “ShangRolla”. Very clever use of the company name…and yes, that is CEO Aaron Bell’s mug on the angel at the top of the tree!

ShangRolla is more than just a catchy name though. It’s also the home to a growing team of top talent that works hard, and likes to have a good time. Next time you get an invite to one of their parties, you need to make sure and attend. It’s worth it!

Best Place To Hold A Meetup

If you have interest in social recruiting like we do, it’s hard to find a cooler meetup than the SmartUp’s hosted by SmartRecruiters. They’ve got a diamond of a space in an unexpecting location between FiDi and SoMa.

The space is versatile, and plays a good host to the series of Social Recruiting Meetups for the booming HR Technology space.

The “Real Deal” Award

The team at Iron.io is the real deal. They’re technically savvy, with strong leadership. They also provide value to developers around the world. They definitely don’t have an office manager (at least when we were there)…so they earned the “Real Deal” award for 2012.

This place looks all things startup for sure, with the focus on building quality products and services.

Most Collaborative

ZeroCater CEO Arram Sabeti can be heard talking about changing the culture of company through food and sharing. They’ve built an office to match with their new spot in Jackson Square.

Gotta love the picnic table effect. ZeroCater lives its mission by sharing meals and ideas. What a great venue for it!

Best Nearby Amenities

Last year we were in full effect with the startup epicenter that is South Park. This year, we moved our affection more toward FiDi. Indeed, a very short walk from the MuleSoft office and we were at Union Square. Needless to say, this is a fantastic backdrop for taking a break from the rigors of startup life.

Another gem located in the Financial District is alley that is Commercial Street. It has easy outside seating between two good eating options in Tlaloc and Mixt Greens. Casual and relaxing.

Flat Out Awesomeness

2011 TechCrunch Disrupt winner Getaround got a new home this year. To call this office a home is quite fitting. It feels like you are at home from the minute you walk in. Team members a Getaround can collaborate, create, and innovate in what we deem as a space exhibiting “flat out awesomeness”.

To make team members feel at home you really need to have a great kitchen. Getaround’s new HQ does not disappoint with a clean and stocked kitchen. A branded kegerator doesn’t hurt either.

Talk about a huge bonus. Check out Getaround’s space on the rooftop. A great place to get some work done while getting some fresh air.

Did we say something about collaboration. High-top tables next to a white board well make for a nice, impromptu idea session. It doesn’t hurt to have super-smart people either.

How about conference rooms? We know that startups don’t necessarily want to be caught up in lots of meetings. But when you do, they might as well look like this.

…one last thing. If there was any doubt to Getaround winning the “Flat Out Awesomeness” award, the site of their new puppies sealed the deal. This was a photo we just had to fit in.

Is Last Year’s Winner Still In Business?

Definitely. Yes.

We were impressed with the converted warehouse Klout occupies on Stillman Street. They have the absolute best place in SOMA for hosting a company party or meetup. Here’s how things were looking back in 2011.

What about now?

Holy cow, the first thing that stands out is that our Canon Rebel T3i takes way better pictures than the old iPhone 3GS:)

All kidding aside, 2012 was a good year for Klout. Clearly they grew the team in number. Also important was a strategic deal signed with Microsoft, hiring a new Chief Scientist from Facebook, and securing $30+ million more in funding.

Full Transparency, Part 2

This was us last year. We were 6 months into building our company, working out of a house, with drawings on every wall. Good times.

A year later we’ve moved into the Canessa Gallery. Stop by and pay us a visit, and make sure to ask for Gallery curator Zack. He’s a San Francisco legend, and has the history to give you a great perspective on our city by the bay.

What’s Up For 2013?

We love San Francisco, no doubt about it. That said, we’re finding ourselves exploring more of the Bay Area as we wrap up 2012. Visits to offices like Box in Mountain View have caught our eye.

Don’t be surprised if an entry or two outside of the city makes next year’s list:)

10gen‘s Palo Alto office on famed University Avenue has the look of a future award winner too.

Happy Holidays, and here’s to an outstanding 2013!

 

 

by in Companies

  • Brian Samson, HR for Startups

    One of the most entertaining reads of the year, well done and great pics!