When Stephen Robinson began plotting his next move after a decade as Chief Operating Officer of a restoration contract company, he started by taking inventory of his core passions. “I realized what I like most is driving fast cars, grabbing drinks with friends, talking business, and telling great stories,” he says. “So I combined those.”
Enter Twenty7, a members’ club that’s part Soho House, part luxury auto showroom, and part upscale WeWork. Operating from a 26,000-square foot facility in Mississauga, the operation embellishes its freelancer-friendly workspaces, event rooms, and resto-bar with coveted sports cars like a Ferrari F430, a Porsche Cayman S and an Audi R8.
As added perks, the club’s fleet of luxury rides is available for members to rent, and an onsite tire shop in the adjacent garage area can be booked for seasonal flips, complete with tire storage. A collection of custom-built racing simulators are also on hand, ready to provide a high-adrenaline novelty attraction for members booking the club as a corporate reception venue.
Those who use Twenty7’s lounge and boardrooms as their day-to-day office testify that its polished ambiance makes a great impression on clients. “My competition might ask someone to meet at a Starbucks or a Panera bread,” says financial advisor Derryn Shrosbree, who has been a Twenty7 member since its launch in 2015. “I get to ask them, ‘How would you like to meet at a supercar social club?’”
The club’s name reflects its appreciation for fine automobiles by paying homage to an elite crew of Formula One drivers that includes James Hunt, Alain Prost, and Gilles Villeneuve — all of whom, at some point in their careers, raced cars identified by the number 27. To Robinson, these racers possess the same defining characteristics as the entrepreneurs he wants his hideout to appeal to: talent, commitment, and a willingness to take risks and break rules.
Luxury cars are one way to attract that crowd. In Robinson’s estimation, an appreciation for a nice ride goes hand in hand with a desire to live life in the fast lane. “It’s not necessarily that you have to love motosports to join,” says Robinson. “But I don’t think anyone here is going to choose their next car based on some practical spreadsheet cost analysis that they’ve done.”
Adeel Rajput appreciates that there’s this core commonality amongst him and his peers — and that everyone in the Twenty7 network is personally vouched for by Robinson, who meets with each prospective new addition before admitting them. “That way,” Rajput says, “When you’re bouncing ideas off of new members, you know that they have some credibility.”
The impromptu brainstorming sessions that often take place at the club are a testament to the success of Robinson’s strategy. “In my experience, it doesn’t take long for men to ask, ‘So what do you do?’” he says. “So put a bunch of Type A, success-oriented guys in a room, and soon someone in the payment processing industry will be finding ways to reduce the costs of someone else in the packaging industry,” he says. The fact that these people might first strike up a conversation about the engine specs of that Porsche in the corner helps to keep these interactions organic. Member events like scotch tastings or weekend car tour to Niagara wineries offer further opportunities to connect.
Given the club’s close proximity to Pearson International Airport, it also doubles as an effective parking garage. Members heading out of the city can drop off their car for safekeeping, then receive a complimentary ride to the airport. Eventually, Robinson may even be able to dispatch his team to meet members when they land — his long-term ambition is to launch Twenty7 outposts in Miami, New York, and Chicago. By the sounds of it, he’s got his foot planted firmly on the gas.