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16 Cool Coworking Spaces
They're affordable, full of start-up geeks like you, and way cooler than any office you could afford.
By Christina DesMarais
Christina DesMarais is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech startup community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. On Google+, add her to one of your circles. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com.
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16 Cool Coworking Spaces
Ready to get out of the basement and into a real office? Before you strike out on your own and get locked into a lease, consider a coworking space. They're more affordable, full of start-up geeks like you, and probably cooler than any office your start-up could afford. Here are 17 spaces to check out.
Monthly memberships start at $99, but you can also get space by the day or week.
is a boutique shared office and coworking space located in the center of the vibrant and historic Back Bay neighborhood in Boston. By day, Oficio hosts a diverse group of freelancers and entrepreneurs as a coworking space, and by night transforms into a multifunctional event space. It is footsteps away from the Boston Public Garden and Arlington T station. It opened only three months ago and already has 60 members.
Monthly memberships start at $200, plus a one-time $200 membership fee. Considering that Austin averages 300 sunny days a year, it makes sense that this
gives people who work there free run of its outdoor space"”"rogue squirrels and birds that are fun to watch" are complimentary, says owner Liz Elam, who also rents it out for events. Inc. heard from several Link users who raved about coworking there, including event planner
who particularly likes the
Elam often makes to the dÃ©cor just to keep things interesting. Oh, and the red step-in phone booth comes complete with a Superman cape.
Memberships start at $50 a month. LiquidSpace CEO Mark Gilbreath calls
"a dramatic one-of-a-kind workspace." He's got that right. CoCo is a 16,000-square-foot, sunlit space that makes use of the architecturally-interesting and historic trading floor once used by the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Now instead of traders yelling bids and waving arms around, the place is serene"”khaki or jeans-clad entrepreneurs work quietly at their laptops while Pandora plays softly in the background. There's a concierge who makes sure coffee and pastries are well-stocked and will order you lunch and introduce new members to others.
Memberships start at $69 for eight hours a month and go up to $369 for 80 hours. This
spa-like coworking space
is different because it's only for women and includes feminine touches such as soft lighting, fountains, candles, relaxing music, inspirational quotes on the walls and chair massages every Tuesday afternoon. The women-only angle seems to be getting some traction; in only four months Hera Hub already has more than 100 female-owned businesses working from the space. Felena Hanson says she created Hera Hub because she believes that women interact differently than men and are instinctively more collaborative in their approach to business.
Free, but you have to work for it
lets people use its coworking space and conference room for free. Instead of paying to work there, users pay with their time and help out with projects mostly handed down from the city government. Full-time members who use a permanent desk do more, such as writing blog posts, cleaning up after events and organizing the work space. Not a bad deal if you're really strapped for cash. And the idea is catching on: Phoenix and Tucson will soon be getting Gangplanks of their own.
IMAGE: Chris Gallegos
East Grand Rapids, MI
Rent space by the month ($150), week ($50), or day ($10). This one is
more cottage than office
, complete with a fireplace, and that's what people who work there like about it. It also features a rotating gallery of work by local artists, and frequently sponsors artist receptions or visiting artist events that are open to the public. 654 Croswell is located in the heart of Gaslight Village in East Grand Rapids, a charming community that's home to a variety of small businesses including restaurants, bars, shops, and a popular ice cream parlor.
A lot of different plans, but the basic rate for full-time space is $250 a month.
is strategically located next to a major Boston transportation hub and combines the professionalism of a managed collaborative workplace with a raw start-up vibe that creates an atmosphere that members say is invigorating. "With so many different types of people and skills represented, there's a natural ecosystem where sharing knowledge and resources is encouraged and an organic camaraderie sparks, leading not only to business exchange, but to friendships that span beyond the office," says Evona Niewiadomska, director of marketing and operations for WorkBar.
From $20 a day to $300 a month, with flexible options in between.
is like a hip and airy downtown Chicago loft and it's located in the same block as the train and is in an area full of restaurants and stores. It has a "Chief of Happiness" who makes sure everyone has beverages and snacks and every Friday members wind down with Happy Hour. The Coop also hosts a bi-monthly "Lunch & Learn" session led by a Coop member and during warmer months they hold it on the building's 8th floor rooftop. "The founder of The Coop is a great guy who helps support the local artists by hanging artwork all over the space. It's a great place to get work done and mingle," says Tim Skaggs, founder of
, a commission-free service connecting empty desks with individuals and teams.
Memberships are available by the month ($300), week ($100) or day ($20).
is a creative design and media house that specializes in web, photography and video production. But owner Chelsea Sanders doesn't want to work alone and has opened her space to others, including programmers, copywriters, and artists. According to DeskHero, it has a unique boutique style and great lighting, excellent music and interesting people. Notable members include clothing company Dope Couture and fashion writer
. Blueline also holds movie nights for members and hosts monthly art shows to support local artists.
Coffee & Power
San Francisco and Santa Monica
Free, but you have to work for it. This coworking space is free to use"”the only requirement is that members need to be active in its online exchanges for services, similar to how
works. In addition to providing a physical place to work,
Coffee & Power
posts "missions" that buyers and sellers can help each other with. Another thing adding to the cool factor here is the investor roster, which includes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. A third location will soon be popping up in Portland, Oregon.
Memberships range from $100 to $545 a month. The mix of creative workspace, events, classes (over 175 in 2011), and advisors from places like Andreesen Horowitz, Blue Run Ventures and Twilio give
members a rewarding work experience. The space features a wrap-around mezzanine with permanent desks that look over the main area, and more flexible, open space. Other cool factors: A hanging casing of a 737 jet airplane, a vintage Bell Atlantic phone booth, and a couple of Google bikes for coworkers to use. The pariSoma facility is used by more than 120 members and 60 companies, most of which are tech start-ups. PariSoma is owned and operated by faberNovel, a consulting company that helps big companies think and act like small start-ups.
Membership is $200 a month. This newly renovated shared office space is in the heart of downtown LA near Pershing Square Park with parking and a Metro station across the street. And according to
, a coworking site finder,
knows the value of making work fun. It includes a "Decompression Room" with pool, air hockey, and foosball tables as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant.
Denver and New York City
Full-time memberships start at $325 a month in Denver and $550 a month in New York. These coworking spaces come highly recommended by DeskHero because of their focus on sustainability and the environment. The
has 40 businesses working from its solar-powered facility, replete with soft cork flooring in the restrooms and original concrete elsewhere, all-natural clay walls with no VOC paint and solar tube light fixtures. It also hosts events that raise social awareness, such as a monthly vegan supper club and a "Handmade Homemade Market" that features local vendors. Sixty businesses work from the
New York space
, which brags of composting, eco-friendly cleaning products, and efficient energy sources.
Memberships start at $50 a month. While you may not think of Miami as a hotspot for tech start-ups, this
is doing everything it can to foster an environment of innovation there, starting with offering memberships for as low as $150 for three months. When it opened two years ago it let local tech groups use its space for meet-ups without charge. Now that it has 60 members made up of small tech start-ups, creative professionals and new media, it hosts workshops, speaking events, and networking mixers to grow the Miami tech community. Other kinds of entrepreneurs"”such as lawyers, financial advisers, and real estate brokers"”also like to hang out here because of the coworking vibe.
New York City
Rent space by the day ($35) or by the month ($500).
encourages collaboration in both its physical and digital spaces. Each of its 300 members has a profile online that lists what they can do, what kind of help they need and contact information. The physical space is also high-tech and sustainable. A wave of a membership card opens a member's locker or broadcasts a portfolio on the monitors. And its Tru-stile doors are made out of 82 percent post-industrial waste and the faucets use 30 percent less water.
IMAGE: Jaeger Sloan
Los Angeles and Santa Monica
Memberships start at $75 a month for a "Virtual Office" plan that includes part-time office access, or $99 a month for full-time office access.
These coworking spaces
are different because they were designed by architect Jerome Chang who intentionally created them to address how people actually work and collaborate. "People treat our "˜architect-y' offices like a destination so they really want to come in and work and visit," he says, adding that 200 businesses work from his two locations. MySpace CEO Mike Jones used to work from the LA spot. "”
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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