Sleepbox – a startup that’s recently set Boston roots – is making our wildest dreams come true: You will soon be able to sleep soundly and safely in any public place conceivable. As the name implies, the company has developed cozy, technologically decked-out cabins that can be set up just about anywhere – in airports, offices or downtown metropolitan areas – and rented by folks looking to catch some Zs.
How did this visionary venture come about? According to Mikhail Krymov – CEO of Sleepbox and research fellow at MIT – he and his business partner Alexey Goryainov started it as a theoretical side project for their architecture firm Arch Group. The two professionals travel a lot for work and were constantly subjected to flight delays and layovers where all they could do was wish for a comfortable, private place to rest. From their personal experience, they created an initial design for Sleepbox. But it was meant only as a concept, at first.
“It was just a design idea, but then it was published – it was actually published quite a few times – we started receiving requests and orders from all over the world,” Krymov told me.
So they figured, why not make them for real? Currently, there are several locations throughout Europe that feature about 60 of Sleepbox’s clean, soundproof and fully ventilated cabins. And now that Krymov is at MIT, they’re doubling down to relaunch the startup – only this time, in the U.S.
In a matter of months, Sleepbox will reveal its cabins in Boston. At that time, Sleepbox will also be moving away from bootstrapping to raise its first round of funding to grow the stateside business. In the next year or so, Krymov sees the startup being in full-force, installing their personal cabins – which are outfitted with electrical outlets, WiFi and a table where people can choose to work instead of sleep – throughout the country.
What about price? According to the co-founder, all of the Sleepboxes are managed by the clients purchasing them. There are some customers who are buying them for non-commerical uses – say, companies installing them in their offices for employees to use for free. However, there are clients who buy them with the intention of charging people to rent them, like airports and municipalities. The venture doesn’t control how much these organizations charge for the public to rent them, but Krymov said, from what he’s seen in Europe, it has ranged from $5 to $10 per hour, depending on the setting.
In any case, Sleepbox is positioned to shake up convenience as we know it. By making private, secure sleeping havens in public spaces, it could have an effect on various realms of life, including people’s work performance, their health and office culture.
“I really want people to be more happy, productive and healthy by having enough sleep, and hope that our solution will help,” Kyrmov said.
He likened the startup’s potential impact to the one vending machines has already made in offices across the globe. He explained, “Vending machines have made food affordable and accessible… Sleep is the same as food, in my opinion, so it shouldn’t be that slow for the U.S. to see the value.”
Images via Mikhail Kyrmov.