How Nikolas Woods Makes Sleep More Accessible Everywhere

On-demand sleep pods at universities, hospitals, and airports across the nation

When Nikolas Woods began conceptualizing Hohm, he wanted to make napping more accessible. Now his company manages sleep pods across the nation. 

Woods is the founder and CEO of Hohm, creator of custom-engineered, on-demand sleep pods that provide users with a private and safe place to rest, nap, meditate, and beyond.

Nikolas Woods, founder and CEO of Hohm.
Nikolas Woods, founder and CEO of Hohm.

Hohm

The idea for his company sparked from his struggle with finding space to rest on the go. 

"The start of this came from me experiencing the issue of being exhausted at the office," Woods told Lifewire in a video interview. "If you need food on the go, there are so many options, but if you need sleep on the go, what are your options? I saw that there was an opportunity and started designing and building what Hohm would look like."

Launched in 2017, consumers can book a Hohm sleep pod online or through a forthcoming mobile app for anywhere from 30 minutes up to four hours at a time. Hohm can now be found in hospitals, universities, and airports, but the company first started with three sleep pods at the University of Arizona in the student union.

Hohm sleep pods are equipped with a twin-sized bed, charging ports, a mirror, skylights, and more. Think of Hohm sleep pods as mini-hotels on the go when you need a quick place to rest or unwind.  

Quick Facts

  • Name: Nikolas Woods
  • Age: 29
  • From: Sacramento, California
  • Random delight: Woods was a DJ and produced music in his teen years.
  • Key quote or motto: "Never quit or give up."

Sleep Is a Necessity

Sleep is a basic human necessity, and Woods felt like there just wasn't enough access to safe spaces to sleep when he was conceptualizing Hohm. When the company first launched, Woods said his goal was to land 10 bookings in the first week at the University of Arizona, but students exceeded that expectation with 13 bookings in the first day alone.

After landing nearly 40 bookings in the first week, and 225 bookings over 10 weeks, Woods expanded Hohm's sleep pods to more universities, including UCLA and San Diego State University. 

"It was just a hit on campuses, and we had students coming back every single week," Woods said. 

Since the pandemic moved students online, Woods said Hohm had to make a pivot that focused more on getting sleep pods into hospitals. The company reached out to more than a hundred hospitals before landing a partnership with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center that launched in October. 

"It was super successful among the staff," Woods said. "We talked to one ICU nurse who said sleep pods were a Godsend because she used to have to sleep in her car on breaks."

Nikolas Woods with a Hohm sleep pod in the background as he talks to a group of people.
Nikolas Woods with a Hohm sleep pod in the background.

Hohm

That same ICU nurse told Woods that she used Hohm sleep pods more than 40 times across 70 days. Hohm has since expanded to a hospital in New York City and secured more than 1,500 bookings with medical professionals. 

Changing the Norm

When it comes to Woods' approach to overcoming challenges as a minority founder, he said he tries to go into every meeting open-minded. With the lack of funding going into Black-led tech companies, Woods hopes to see more Black entrepreneurs break into the industry to change the norm.

"I just try to focus on the product I'm building and making it the best that I can," Woods said. "I try not to focus on the fact that I'm a different skin color from other founders."

Hohm has raised roughly $786,000 from a portfolio of 51 angel investors. Woods said investors are showing more interest in Hohm since the company made the pivot to serve hospitals and the healthcare industry primarily. Even with this good chunk of funding, Woods said the company has had to be "scrappy" to pull together funding to build its sleep pods, so he's eager to land some more promising venture capital. 

"I just try to focus on the product I'm building and making it the best that I can. I try not to focus on the fact that I'm a different skin color from other founders."

"We sometimes run really low on overhead costs, we don't have an office, we all work remote, and some people are part-time," Woods said. "We're at the point now where we've built the product out, launched it, and we're getting good reception in the space we're in, so we're looking to scale."

Woods hopes Hohm has proven the company's viability to venture capital firms as he wants to secure a $2 million seed round. Looking ahead, the founder's primary goals are securing a lead investor and expanding Hohm sleep pods to at least 10 hospitals by the end of the year. Woods also wants to grow Hohm's team of six employees. 

"I want to take off this year. We've worked so hard," Woods said. "We want to explode next year and expand to 50 hospital locations or more. Our goal is to make Hohm a nationally recognized brand, so when you think of sleep pods, you think of us."

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