I got to take a tour of the new facility being created by Chicago’s Industrious Office yesterday. From looking at the pictures on their web site, you get the idea that it’s going to be a very cool space. Brick, wood, polished cement, lots of light. I can’t wait to see the final product when it opens in late October (or early November…construction is so predictable). In the meantime we can all speculate on why midtown needs yet another “startup space” in addition to Collider and ATDC (and now Polygon across the highway), both of which are a few blocks away.
The answer is pretty simple. Industrious Office is not geared for startups. They’re targeting small growing businesses who intentionally reject the ideas of silent hallways, closed doors, and long term leases. Small businesses – startups or mature small businesses – are fun and want to be around other people in the same place, professionally speaking. So Industrious Office is for small businesses who want community.
So what’s community mean for small businesses, as opposed to the startup world? Well, go to ATV or ATDC or ROAM and you’ll experience “community”, which I’ll define here as “people in the trenches making a name or a buck for themselves working in the same shared space with other folks doing the same thing.” Cool shared office space not just for startups. OK, not a Webster’s submission, but you get the picture. At my previous startup, we signed 2 medium-term leases from 2007 through our acquisition in 2012. Had there been something like Industrious Office at that time, there’s no way I’d have even looked for anything else.
Shared office space, especially when well planned and designed, is great for startups and mature small businesses of all kinds, not just tech. The 11k square feet of very cool shared office space and community on Peachtree Street will attract a great variety of fun businesses.
Be on the lookout for a grand opening event at Industrious Office in Midtown towards the end of October. You’ll love their space.