Would you pay $700 a month to sleep in a pod? Tech founders are doing it to afford San Francisco

Luz Pena Image
Friday, September 22, 2023
Tech founders are paying $700 for sleeping pods to afford SF
Some AI founders are moving to SF, "the AI capital of the world," and renting sleeping pods to afford to live in the city. Here's why they say it's worth it.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Founders who are moving to San Francisco are struggling with the idea of having to pay over $3,000 for an apartment. Instead, they are investing that money into their companies and renting a sleeping pod for $700 a month.

"The pod is the size of a twin bed. So it's not very large but it gets the job done. You just need a place to sleep," said Christian Lewis, Spellcraft AI Founder.

A week ago, Lewis moved to San Francisco from Illinois to keep growing his AI company.

"We are building basically real-time AI. Right now we work with a lot of text-to-text. A lot of GPT and all these technologies," said Lewis. "I actually pushed off coming to San Francisco for a really long time but it has been absolutely net positive without a doubt. Just for the first couple of days, I met some of the smartest people I've met in my entire life. That's the reason I came and that's the reason why I'm staying. That's the reason why I'm living in a pod."

One of Lewis' sleeping pod neighbors moved to San Francisco a month ago from Canada, also for AI.

VIDEO: What does San Francisco need to do to fix its image now that Dreamforce is done for the year?

One organization addressed unhoused, cleanliness and safety issues now that the Dreamforce Convention 2023 convention has concluded in San Francisco.

"I was at home literally living alone and just working out of my own apartment," said Haseab, AI startup founder. "It's much much better to have a diverse group of people that you can work with that can help bounce off ideas, brainstorm and actually be able to make something that is probably a little more reliable."

These founders say that's what they are finding in San Francisco. A community that is building the latest AI companies.

"It's just more of a place to meet people that are ready to get their hands dirty and actually get down and work," said Haseab.

Inside their building, they have counted about 20 people renting sleeping pods with many being AI founders or people who are working in the space.

"Everybody here knows each other so everybody can kind of introduce you to other people," said Lewis. "Like smart engineers, investors, incubators all that sort of stuff. There are tons of resources, tons of human capital here. That is why I'm here and why I'm staying here."

Mayor London Breed says San Francisco is a hub for artificial intelligence.

"San Francisco is the AI capital of the world because of the 20 top companies anywhere in the world," said Breed. "Eight are right here in San Francisco and we have over 80 AI companies and this is where everyone wants to be."

VIDEO: Experts explain how AI could be the answer to saving downtown SF

According to Brooking Institution, the vast majority of AI job postings are in the Bay Area, most in San Francisco.

ABC7 News showed Mayor Breed what these founders are doing.

LUZ PEÑA: "So this is it. Would you live in a place like this?"

MAYOR BREED: "You do what you can when you know you have a product that is going to make it so that you don't necessarily have to live at a place like that for the rest of your life."

For these two founders, the sacrifice is worth it. They're not staying in these pods the whole day and are working in the common areas and networking.

"Sacrificing now so I can build a better life in the future," said Haseab. "I'm in my 20's so it's probably worth doing that than when I have kids."

San Francisco is hosting its second AI conference this year on November 15th.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live