Community of excellence

Silicon Valley’s ‘Startup Castle’ is looking for roommates, and the requirements are completely bonkers

Facebook/Startup Castle

Do you have a fancy college degree or a job in a STEM field? Do you have fewer than two tattoos? Do you avoid Tinder dates and songs with explicit lyrics? Do you spend more than two hours a day exercising? Then you may be qualified to live at the Startup Castle, a self-proclaimed “community of excellence” located in a 17,000-square foot mansion in Woodside, California, just minutes from Stanford’s campus.

The Startup Castle—which has its own website and an official mission statement (“Educate. Liberate. Disrupt.”)—has been around for at least a year. Formerly known as the Buck Estate, the Tudor-style mansion is now inhabited by a group of Stanford-affiliated tech workers and researchers, who began using it as a group home and workspace. The house’s site proclaims that the space has “everything you need to live and launch your greatest ambitions,” including meeting rooms, bunk beds, and luxury rooms to house out-of-town investors.

The Startup Castle currently has roughly five open spaces — which start at $1,000 a month for shared rooms and $1,750 a month for private rooms — but not just anyone is qualified to fill them. In a lengthy post on SUPost that is making the rounds in tech circles this week, the residents of the house outlined their requirements for new bunkmates.

It’s an intense list. To live in the Startup Castle, the post says, you must:

– Have a top-class degree or job with a strong math/science requirement
– Exercise at least 15 hours in a normal week
– Commute by car less than 20% of the time (Bicycle commuter!)
– Prefer organized systems and common rules
– Like petting dogs

There are dealbreakers, too. Anyone who regularly Netflix-binges, engages in social activism, or wears mascara more than twice a week is going to have to look elsewhere. “This may not be the right place,” the Startup Castle says, if you:

– Watch more than 4 hours of TV/movie/game entertainment per week
– Have more than 1 tattoo
– Have ever attended more than 1 protest
– Make more than three posts a week to social media
– Listen to a songs with explicit lyrics more than an once a day
– Wear make-up more than twice a week
– Own any clothing, shoes, watches, or handbags costing over $500
– Have bills that get paid by somebody else
– Drive a vehicle that was given to you by your parents
– Get regular spending money or gifts from your parents
– Have more than one internet app date per week
– Have a complex diet that requires lots of refrigerator space
– Drink alcohol more than 3 drinks per week
– Use marijuana more than twice a year
– Have been prescribed anything by a psychiatrist more than once
– Use any other drug more than twice in your entire life

The house might want to consider having a lawyer move in, since there is some potentially problematic language in the post, such as discouraging frequent make-up wearers and people with diagnosed mental health conditions from applying. John, a resident of the Startup Castle (who declined to give his last name), told me in an interview that he didn’t consider these rules discriminatory, and that the housemates were just “trying to get away from people who were obsessed with themselves.”

“We could just say that we want smart, nice low-maintenance people…but I think everyone would say that,” he added. “We had to be a lot more specific.”

So if you can pass the Startup Castle’s character tests, congratulations! You may be eligible to live in a house with perks that include fitness challenges, bike rides, and a “generosity kitchen” stocked with free food, and that promises its residents “geometric scaling of success for everybody.”

But if you enjoy marijuana, make-up, or psychiatric care, well, have fun looking on Craigslist!

Here’s the full posting:

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