Real estate

4 perks to using coworking space

From cost benefits to collaboration opportunities, here's why startups are flocking toward coworking spaces. Getty Images

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in a new form of loosely structured, open-focused offices known as coworking spaces. These spaces are changing the way that entrepreneurs are approaching business, proving to be a valuable alternative to the traditional office setting.

Coworking spaces differ from conventional office spaces mainly due to the fact that they are often occupied by a multiple of different companies. Usually startup and small business focused, coworking spaces can house companies anywhere from individual freelancers working solo to teams of 20, 30, or more. While every tenant has different needs and priorities when it comes to office space, there are a number of advantages to the coworking model that any entrepreneur considering a change in scenery should consider.

1. Cost effective
Startups and entrepreneurs are frequent tenants of coworking spaces, leading to managers of those spaces understanding the frugal nature of their potential tenants. Coworking spaces will often be flexible in providing a package that fits the entrepreneur's schedule and budget. While a traditional office space might force you into a long-term lease on space, coworking spaces will likely offer a number of membership packages, including day passes, open desk seating, dedicated desk seating, and private offices.

2. Collaboration
Traditional office spaces carry a stigma of individualism and private focus that can hinder collaboration among tenants. Coworking spaces thrive on the opposite approach, establishing a culture of collaboration and community. For example, imagine an entrepreneur fresh off exiting their 8-5 corporate job and agonizing over the scary new world of startups. A quick walk into the kitchen can lead to striking up a conversation with a fellow community member, potentially securing an immediate connection to a mentor, investor or service provider. While those sorts of interactions may seem impossible in office, it is common for individuals from multiple companies with multiple strengths to interact and help each other.

3. Resources
In addition to merely encouraging a collaborative atmosphere, many coworking spaces will put the idea into practice themselves by offering a number of services in addition to office space. Some will offer educational speakers and workshops to come for a period of time to inform community members on a variety of topics. In addition, many have preferred service providers who can give discounts to community members.

4. Energy
Arguably one of the most important factors when considering coworking versus a traditional office is the enthusiasm and energy of the space. While potentially difficult to put into words, the atmosphere can have a powerful impact on how you approach new challenges and solve problems. The feeling of electricity in a coworking space when a fellow member signs a major client, closes a round of fundraising, or finishes a crucial project is contagious.

The future of work is changing every day. Digital collaboration is increasing exponentially and reducing the need for everyone to be in one room. Laptops are more popular than ever, allowing the flexibility to work wherever you have fast wifi and a strong cup of coffee. As these changes become more commonplace, coworking will likely continue to be a popular solution for entrepreneurs across the world

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Jake Askew is the director of member relations at The Cannon and Cannon Ventures.

Capital Factory will have a branded area in The Cannon when it opens its new facility. Courtesy of The Cannon

A major Texas innovation player with roots in Austin has now staffed its recently announced Houston outpost in partnership with The Cannon Houston. Capital Factory hired two Houstonians to help provide resources for its growing Houston-based portfolio companies.

Kendrick Alridge has been hired as mentor coordinator, and Brittany Barreto, who founded Pheramor and WeHaveChemistry, has been named the venture associate. Aldridge will focus on growing and cultivating relationships with Houston mentors, and Barreto is dedicated to reaching out to Houston startups to gauge their potential for Capital Factory participation.

Hiring these Houstonians and having these new boots on the ground is a key factor for Capital Factory as it grows its Houston presence, says Gordon Daugherty, president at Capital Factory.

"It's important for us to think Texas, but act local," Daugherty says. "What that means is we can't just assume that the way we do things and the things that made us successful in Austin will directly translate to Houston. Houston is a different market. That's one of the things we learned from Dallas."

Acting locally entails listening and learning to what the community wants and engaging with local organizations to contribute value to the market.

"We don't know how or in which ways, but we know Houston will be different from Dallas and Austin," Daugherty says. "In this way, we are advantaged by our two employees being from the Houston area. They're our eyes and ears, for one, but they are also the voice of Houston to us along with other ecosystem players."

While local resources and personnel are both new for Capital Factory, the organization already has over 20 portfolio companies that are based in the Houston area. Now, these companies will have new resources close to home and can also act as Capital Factory representatives in the community, Daugherty says.

One of the biggest benefits Capital Factory is bringing into town is investment opportunities. Daugherty says that he predicts that Capital Factory, which tends to invest many small-sum deals, will quickly become the most active early stage investor in Houston. The organization has already made a few investments in Houston companies — and this isn't even counting the dollars invested by the investment partners.

"Our mission, as it pertains to Houston, is to help the best Houston startups get funded. We will tap into our network of investors across the state and country to try to find the best matches."

If Houston can take any indication from Capital Factory's Dallas location, which opened earlier this year, Capital Factory will be making a big impact on Houston startups.

"In 2018, 25 percent of the startups we onboarded into the accelerator were from outside of Austin," Daugherty tells InnovationMap. "The first half of this year, a third or more have come from Dallas alone. And I expect the same from Houston. Next year, easily more than half of our new accelerator companies will be outside of Austin."

Capital Factory will have branded space in The Cannon when it opens its new facility later this month.