• Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More
  • Spanx (Atlanta)
  • Warby Parker (New York City)
  • Uber (San Francisco)
  • Bumble (Austin, Tex.)
  • Rent the Runway (New York City)
  • Allbirds (San Francisco)
  • Kickstarter (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Fender (Hollywood)
  • theSkimm (New York City)
  • Mailchimp (Atlanta)
  • DraftKings (Boston)
  • Shopify (Waterloo, Canada)
  • LinkedIn (San Francisco)
  • Etsy (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Dropbox (San Francisco)
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Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Here's a look inside the office space and company culture.
Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More
Image credit: Adam Friedberg
Associate Editor
11 min read
Every month in Entrepreneur's print magazine, we take a look inside a successful startup's office space and speak with employees in a variety of roles about company culture — company traditions, team bonding and how their roles there feel compared to previous companies. Here are some highlights. 
Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Spanx (Atlanta)

Spanx (Atlanta)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

When Spanx founder Sara Blakely was young, her father would ask her at the dinner table, “What did you fail at this week?” After sharing her missteps, she’d receive encouragement to keep trying. It’s a lesson she infused in her billion-dollar shapewear brand — to be bold and take risks because removing the fear of failure can lead to great things. That’s why employees at Spanx are encouraged to work on projects outside their department, and team activities are designed to inspire courageousness. Meanwhile, the company doesn’t take itself too seriously: Puns abound at its Atlanta headquarters, which is home to meeting spaces with names like Booby Trap and Brallywood. The room overlooking a popular burger joint? It’s called Shape Shack. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Warby Parker (New York City)

Warby Parker (New York City)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Warby Parker is a brand that loves books. It’s evident in the eyewear company’s retail stores, which are decorated with volumes of classic literature and library-inspired ladders and shelves. It’s evident in the brand’s name, which was inspired by two characters from Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums. And it’s evident in the company’s Manhattan headquarters, which prominently features a massive staircase lined with books that are available for employees to “check out.” Or, if they simply need some in-office quiet time, there’s a secret room behind the staircase that contains nothing more than a chair and, of course, a bookshelf. And if they forgot their reading glasses, well, the office has that covered, too. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Uber (San Francisco)

Uber (San Francisco)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

What does success look like at Uber? The company has famously had its share of scandals, and its IPO last year disappointed investors, but in a letter to his staff, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote that “our true north will be determined over the long term.” Much of that long-term vision is explored here, in a recently renovated industrial complex in San Francisco called Pier 70, which once housed shipbuilders and ironworkers but is now home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. The employees in this space work on projects far outside Uber’s core ride-hailing business — they’re designing and developing self-driving vehicles, plans for aviation sharing, and the company’s JUMP bikes and scooters. And they get out of the office a lot: Working on transportation often means going along for the ride.

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Bumble (Austin, Tex.)

Bumble (Austin, Tex.)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Bumble’s got good buzz. The dating app — which gives women the power to make the first move — launched in 2014 and has since expanded to help users meet new friends and make professional connections, too. CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd originally worked at Tinder but left and alleged that its cofounders engaged in sexual harassment and discrimination. She, in turn, created Bumble, a company obsessively focused on its culture. Its Austin, Tex., headquarters is known as the Beehive and promotes a cheery sense of community, bolstered by sunshine-yellow walls, playful decor (signs that say bee kind) and plenty of happy hours, volunteer sessions and even some parades. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Rent the Runway (New York City)

Rent the Runway (New York City)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Rent the Runway promises to make every woman’s fashion dreams come true, and the company — which rents designer pieces to shoppers at a fraction of the retail cost — has built an $800 million brand delivering on it. That goes for its staff, too. RTR’s newly renovated Manhattan headquarters is made for work but built like a fashionista fairy tale: Garment racks overflow with today’s latest trends, and meticulously arranged books celebrate the work of fashion greats. That’s in addition to a private employee fitting room, a meditation room, a lactation room and a photo studio. And of course, the brand’s core values are painted on the walls to remind employees that “everyone deserves a Cinderella experience.”

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Allbirds (San Francisco)

Allbirds (San Francisco)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Allbirds may be only three years old, but the San Francisco–based footwear brand is all about the future — at the company and beyond. The eco-conscious company uses 90 percent recycled packaging, which has cut down on waste by a third since its introduction in 2017. Allbirds’ signature material is merino wool, a sustainable option produced year-round by the namesake sheep breed. And the company recently partnered with nonprofit Soles4Souls to distribute lightly used shoes to those in need around the world. That forward-thinking mindset extends to the company’s headquarters itself, located in the Jackson Square Historic District on a street that managed to survive the San Francisco Fire of 1851. Inside, as employees brainstorm new designs, products and sustainability initiatives, a street-address placard from the 19th century hangs on the wall, reminding them of their work space’s history, even as they build a brand with its eyes on the future. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Kickstarter (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Kickstarter (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

It makes perfect sense that a crowdfunding platform’s company culture would be collaborative. At Kickstarter’s Brooklyn headquarters (a former pencil factory with tons of natural sunlight), 125 employees take turns hosting seminars, screenings and book clubs. Cubicles are shunned in favor of couches, and the CEO sits out in the open like everyone else. When quiet time is needed, staff can retreat to the solarium or the library, shown here. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Fender (Hollywood)

Fender (Hollywood)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

How’s this for a midday stress release? Leave your desk, pick up a guitar and just jam. It’s a workplace feature that’s core to Fender, the 71-year-old company that has crafted instruments for musical icons like Bruce Springsteen and Jimi Hendrix. In its new Hollywood headquarters, designed by Rapt Studio, guitars line the walls — acoustic, electric, one-of-a-kind — and employees are encouraged to play any time of day. (Talent is not required, but we suspect it’s greatly preferred.) The historic company is currently focused on investing in new technology and talent, helping Fender keep up in an increasingly competitive music world. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

theSkimm (New York City)

theSkimm (New York City)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

If the playful voice of theSkimm’s e-newsletter — a conversational rundown of the day’s headlines, aimed at female millennials — morphed into a physical space, it would look like the company’s brand-new Manhattan headquarters. That’s because the place was designed by the employees themselves, who opted for clean lines and pops of color, meticulously organized stacks of books and countless cozy couches where staffers retreat for focused work or a much-needed break. The most memorable design feature, however, is a wall of empty Champagne bottles. The team has a tradition of impromptu toasts to celebrate company milestones, making this a kind of trophy wall — one everyone is excited to keep contributing to.

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Mailchimp (Atlanta)

Mailchimp (Atlanta)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Mailchimp wants its employees to think creatively — and the company will do just about anything to get its staffers’ minds to open. The online marketing company hosts weekly innovation labs, design studios and brainstorming sessions. Once a month, a brand-wide “coffee hour” invites employees to explore new ways of thinking via a speaker series that’s featured everyone from rapper Big Boi to a 74-time Jeopardy! champ. As a result, departments have learned to embrace unexpected paths to creativity — and the company has grown rapidly, cracking $600 million in annual revenue.

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here.

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

DraftKings (Boston)

DraftKings (Boston)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

DraftKings really likes its odds. Since launching in 2012, the daily fantasy sports site has raised close to $650 million in funding, and has deftly navigated the thin legal line between skills-based games and gambling. Now the company has finally entered the $150 billion sports betting market, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision that allows states to legalize the practice. As a result, DraftKings is betting on itself, evident in its recent hiring spree (employee count has doubled) as well as its new Boston HQ. Designed by IA Interior Architects, the space includes production studios, custom tickers with real-time fantasy salaries and odds, and sports-themed “huddle” spaces. Employees’ time is focused not just on sports but on the community they can help foster among customers. And as staffers themselves regularly link up to watch games or join in-house fantasy contests, they all feel like part of a winning team.

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here.

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Shopify (Waterloo, Canada)

Shopify (Waterloo, Canada)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Barrell Hall isn’t your typical employee cafeteria. When Shopify holds company-wide meetings, staff gathers here, in a cavernous space with whiskey barrels stacked to the rafters. The e-commerce platform developer’s office in Waterloo, Canada, was formerly a Seagram’s distillery, and the building’s intoxicating history is still showcased and celebrated. Shopify, of course, has updated the space to make it work-ready. Individual phone booths, pods, flexible work areas and even a video-game room where employees can escape combine to create a uniquely productive space for Shopify’s employees — all of whom spend their days working to improve commerce for business owners large and small. We bet they have one hell of a happy hour.

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

LinkedIn (San Francisco)

LinkedIn (San Francisco)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

LinkedIn employees are always talking about the next step. When you work for the world’s largest professional network, it’s hard not to. But LinkedIn encourages it, too, by pushing its team members to consider their own career trajectories. Staffers move between departments as fluidly as they move between the cafeteria, the rooftop terrace and the music room in the company’s San Francisco headquarters. LinkedIn even gives employees a monthly “InDay,” which they can put toward community service or an in-house class (like coding, graphic design or marketing), all to better prepare them for whatever step they choose to take next. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Etsy (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Etsy (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Etsy’s new Brooklyn headquarters is less than a year old, but it already feels lived-in. Colorful, comfortable alcoves are set off from main workspaces, and artwork from Etsy sellers dots the spacious concrete halls. (There’s even a mural constructed from old office desks and a chess table, made by a seller who uses a pedal-powered table saw.) The office also tracks real-time energy, solar and water usage in an attempt to make everything run more efficiently, according to Josh Wise, director of workplace ecology. 

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here

Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Dropbox (San Francisco)

Dropbox (San Francisco)
Image credit: Adam Friedberg

Since its launch in 2007, cloud-storage service Dropbox has made in-office collaboration a breeze for millions of businesses across the country. That spirit of teamwork radiates throughout the 1,500-person company’s San Francisco headquarters. The space, designed by Rapt Studio, features a chic library, designated brainstorm areas, a rec room full of musical instruments and a massive commissary serving up delicious food with an emphasis on cupcakes.

For more on the office (plus quotes from employees), read on here