Austin Cospace’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem-as-a-Service Supports Accelerator in Serving Entrepreneurs Downtown

Post Author: Paul O’Brien.

cowork in austinEntrepreneurship took a leap forward today in Austin, Texas with the announcement by Cospace of their partnership with Capital Factory, a leading startup accelerator, in managing a new facility sponsored by the City of Austin through Austin Tech Live, downtown. Cospace recently reached an agreement with Capital Factory to manage operations of the 22,000 sq ft startup space and provide the entrepreneurial classes and events there to Austin’s startup community and entrepreneurs.

Austin Tech Live

An initiative supported with staff and resources through the Austin Chamber’s Opportunity Austin funding and executed through the Chamber’s Technology Partnership team, Austin Tech Live is the local initiative to develop a community of entrepreneurs working in a state of the art environment and coworking space in the core of Austin’s creative center – the downtown central business district of Austin.

The partnership is the first of many changes for Cospace in the expansion of it’s entrepreneurial ecosystem-as-a-serviceworkplace, business networking, resources, educational programming, and lean product development services — which helps entrepreneurs start, build, and grow companies.  Akin to SaaS (“Software as a Service”), Cospace serves members and entrepreneurs with the familiar meeting space, workplace, resources, as well as educational programming, project management and product development services, and business networking.

“We are excited to partner with Capital Factory to support the goal of furthering entrepreneurship in Austin,” Shared Kirtus Dixon, Co-founder of Cospace. “At Cospace, we believe that ‘Entrepreneurs Live and Work Everywhere’ and creating a hub of activity in downtown Austin will ignite the downtown economy and give startups and entrepreneurs the resources they need to build amazing businesses in Austin.”

Home to Austin Entrepreneurs

Cospace, known in Austin as the home to entrepreneurs focused on Lean business and product development, is a collaborative business community that has facilitated the launch of more than 50 products, supported nearly two dozen startups, and hosted over 1500 students through classes in technology and entrepreneurship. Cospace has reached more than 5000 entrepreneurs and professionals throughout the Austin community with affordable workspace solutions and meeting space, highly accessible event space, and classes and programs to help entrepreneurs build businesses.

Via the partnership, Cospace and Capital Factory will take coworking to the next level and ensure that startups have the space, resources, and training they need to succeed.

“Today more than ever, executing on ideas is key to success,” added Dixon. “Cospace increases your odds of success by bringing critical elements together: space, people, education, and resources.”

Coworking in Mainstream Media

Over the last couple weeks coworking and some of the coworking fascilities in North America have been featured in traditional media.  And those of us with the ability to update this blog have been tardy in reporting this.  The news did make the rounds of the Coworking Google Group, which anyone really interested in coworking should consider joining.

It was previously reported that coworking@BOB, the newest coworking space in Vancouver, was featured in the Vancouver Sun.  However, Jane Hoges has written a lengthier piece where she visits four coworking spaces in four major US cities for the Wall Street Journal online edition.   New Work City is again featured on the NPR website in an article by Kaomi Goetz.  Finally on is a story on Working in Wi-Fi Limbo which would have been improved with more information on coworking options available in most every major city.

In related news i/o Ventures a tech start-up accelerator/incubator with elements of coworking, ie shared office space, combined with mentorship and capital investment, has opened in the Bay Area by one of the founders of MySpace and his partners.  Organizations like this have popped up in Boulder Colorado, Seattle, and Vancouver BC.  Their founders see them as a better way to bootstrap an organization and an alternative to traditional Angel and Venture Capital financing, especially in the seed stage.

Finally for those that have read down this far is an excellent article articulating the Five Things Necessary for a Local Startup Ecosystem.

How is coworking doing in Argentina?

Coworking in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Coworking in Buenos Aires (Argentina)

It’s been a long time since my last post on the blog, so for those of you who don’t know we started Cowork Central back in November 2007, we were the first coworking space in Latin America and it is located in downtown Buenos Aires. Much has happened since our opening almost a year and a half ago and we wanted to share some of those thoughts and plans for the future with you.

Many spaces were created in Latin America during this time in the cities of: Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Montevideo (Uruguay), and as I can see from the Wiki right now, a lot more are being planned. This leads me to believe that the coworking movement is actually fitting very well into a very different culture as the northern countries (US, Canada, Europe) have.

Although during this time we had the pleasure of being interviewed by very important national and international press (NYTimes, The Globe and Mail, Clarín, El Cronista, La Razón, etc.) we had a somewhat difficult time trying to attract and evangelize local geeks to the coworking idea. Because of this, most of our members are international visitors that are staying for just a couple of months and then move on. On one hand this is actually pretty cool since it adds a lot of cultural value to the space and it’s members but on the other hand it’s not that good in the long term creation of the community. Reaching local individuals has been one of our most challenging tasks.

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure to visit some coworking spaces in the US (New York, San Francisco and Austin), had the chance to talk to the founders and members of such spaces and I came back with several ideas to implement here in the end of the world.

Open House (Jelly!)
Open House (Jelly!)

For the time being we are setting up our very first Jelly event. Again, this would be the first of it’s kind in Latin America. This event is scheduled for June 16th and our idea is that if this goes well, we might start hosting more Jelly’s to attracting more people to the coworking community.

Of course, if you happen to visit Buenos Aires, don’t forget to drop by, remember we are participating on the “coworking visaproject.

Smart Worker

I recently read an article about a man who was working from Indy Hall in Philadelphia for a company in Vancouver. Teleworking is not new these days and even working for a company located elsewhere on the globe isn’t that earth shattering with the technology for communicating 24/7. What was brilliant about this man’s story was that he had figured out how to get his corporation to pay the $275/month membership fee for him to work their full time. It’s a win-win for the corporation and the employee. Let’s do the math:

I recently read an article about a man who was working from Indy Hall in Philadelphia for a company in Vancouver. Teleworking is not new these days and even working for a company located elsewhere on the globe isn’t that earth shattering with the technology for communicating 24/7. What was brilliant about this man’s story was that he had figured out how to get his corporation to pay the $275/month membership fee for him to work their full time. It’s a win-win for the corporation and the employee. Let’s do the math:

A corporation typically pays for about

  • 200 sq. ft. for each employee – cubicle + hallway + breakroom + cafeteria + restroom + dead space like lobbies.
  • $4.00/sq. ft (minimum/month) – Rent + taxes + utilities
  • 200 sq. ft. * $4.00 = $800/month per employee
  • $800/month per employee – $275/cost of employee working in coworking space = $525/month savings

Now a company that employs 1000 people, if they had just half of the space in corporate office and let their workforce telecommute 50% of the time they would save $262,500/month ($525 * 500 employees) and $3,150,000/year. $3 million per year is not small potatoes and a great way to cut back.

The employee also saves money on gas But more importantly this employee benefits in intangibles such as lack of commute stress, living where his spouse needs to for her career, the community created in a coworking environment, and as a result is happier and more productive for his company. We would all benefit from more people using coworking spaces (checkout a list of my favorites). Of course, as the owner of Cubes&Crayons that’s my favorite for coworkers with and without kids.  I love it when everyone wins!

Coworking on NPR’s Marketplace


NPR’s Marketplace aired a short piece on Jelly and coworking on Monday, along with the above video.

I’ve always liked the synergy and compatibility between Jelly as a gateway to full fledged coworking, and that this story blends the two initiatives speaks to fact that on ramps like Jellies and Juntos (in Philly) are great ways to coalesce the ingredients to coworking communities.

It happens in Milano.

44 days afrter opening, Cowo Milano sees some interesting facts happening.

1- Mostly small groups seem to be interested in our coworking initiative. First a group of architects, then a group of 4 designers, then again 3 professionals… it made us think. Having 5 desks to offer, would we rather go for a rather nice monthly income, settled for a long time (all of them needed a place for the long run) and practically abandon the coworking idea, or refuse these offers to stick to a more open way, allowing only single or mini-teams of professionals, and leaving the coworking door open? Well, we chose the latter, both because we want to give a try to coworking (otherwise we wouldn’t be here) and also because we don’t feel like hosting groups that are larger than ours (we are 3).

2 – Coworking is raising interest in the italian media. On radio and national press (D di Repubblica recently published an article about cw, I’m trying to find it to post it). A couple of journalist have called to get info and get in touch for future interviews.

3 – Coworkers are finding us. Actually we have two regulars (a yacht designer and a new media consultant) and a third one should arrive in the next few days. All of them are interested in staying for a medium-range period and maybe longer.

4 – I really wanted a video to show what the Cowo is like, so ? pikced up the videocamera and did it. Here it is. Ciao from the Cowo!


They’re Working on Their Own, Just Side by Side

They’re Working on Their Own, Just Side by Side

Yesterday, an article about coworking was published in printed version of The New York Times (written by Dan Fost).

Coworking sites are up and running from Argentina to Australia and many places in between, although a wiki site on coworking shows that most are in the United States. While some have grown-up-sounding names, most seem connected somewhere between the communalism of the 1960s and the whimsy of the dot-com days of the ’90s, like the Hive Cooperative in Denver, Office Nomads in Seattle, Nutopia Workspace in Lower Manhattan and Independents Hall in Philadelphia.

Click here to read the full article.

Office Nomads in FORTUNE Small Business

Small business advice - FORTUNE Small Business on CNNMoney

Berkeley Coworker Sean O’Steen pointed out a great article about Seattle’s Office Nomads space over CNNMoney/FORTUNE Small Business, including a great quote:

[Office Nomads founder Susan Evans] has found that the benefits of coworking go well beyond getting people out of their cars. “It’s about having a work community and being around people who are also interested and inspired.”

Recent press about Coworking

There have been a number of really good posts about coworking that should be mentioned here, even though they’ve all been adding to the Ma.gnolia Coworking Group.

  • Shared offices growing in S.F., Peninsula –

    For some entrepreneurs, the idea of managing their own offices just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, they’re consultants sick of working from the dining-room table or buying endless cups of coffee in a cafe. Sometimes they’re bigger startups or satellite offices that just don’t want to deal with buying furniture, setting up fax machines and hiring someone to man the front desk.

    So another set of entrepreneurs has sprung up to meet these needs by providing shared office space. A diverse bunch, ranging from multi-state corporations with “plug and play” environments to small companies offering one large workspace, these businesses are growing in both San Francisco and the Peninsula.

  • Coworkers of the World, Unite! in The American Prospect: The always-on, perpetual freelance culture of Web 2.0 has spawned its own “coworking” spaces, but are these new techno-optimists building sustainable communities?
  • Co-working can solve non-traditional office issues from the “The majority of the people that use this space are making a living doing what they love,” said Alex Hillman, 24, who helped launch Independents Hall, a co-working space in Philadelphia, earlier this month. “This is a happy medium where you maintain your independence, but you get a little of that office backchannel.”
  • Resident plans shared space for creative work in The Daily Tar Heel: A solution is on the way for local freelance workers, startup-business owners and even students who need a place to call “office” without shelling out hefty rental fees.

If you’ve got a quote or other good press for coworking, definitely share it with Ma.gnolia group and tag it with !