Inside the Ultra Exclusive $2,400-a-Year Club for Silicon Valley’s Elite

The Battery is a premiere members-only club that opened its doors to the select few last February in the Financial District of San Francisco.
The architects behind the plan are Michael Birch, a British physics major, and Xochi Torres, a business major from the Bay Area. They met in the summer of 1990 in London’s Southside Bar and have since built a handful of startups including UK social networking company Bebo, which they sold to AOL for $850 million in 2008.
The two have now ventured into a new niche that they are both passionate about — bars and people. The end product was the Battery, a private social club in a renovated marble factory located in the Financial District of San Francisco, according to SFGate.
The luxurious club features five levels covering 58,000 square feet of area that includes a fancy restaurant, four bars, a wine cellar, conference rooms, a gym and spa, outdoor garden, library, 13 hotel rooms and a penthouse suite that offers scenic views of the Bay Bridge.
The club requires wanna-be club members to apply via an application process. Birch explained that the exclusivity of the club is meant to foster familiarity:
“We’re fans of the village pub, where everyone knows everyone.”
“A private club can be the city’s replacement for the village pub, where you do, over time, get to know everyone and have a sense of emotional belonging.”
Prospective members need to be nominated by a current member since the club is not open to the public.
A council then votes on whether that person will be permitted to join the pricey club, with dues set at $2,400 annually.
Though the idea of a private social club elicits thoughts of elitism and snobbery, the founders envisioned the Battery to promote a sort of Silicon Valley-style meritocracy. Those who earn a place in the club will promote diversity, rather than homogeneity.
Birch elaborated: “The reality is, many things in life are exclusive. A job requires qualifications, for instance. So does a credit card, or a bank account. It’s not about being snooty.”
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