Let's work together

By PHILIP EIL  |  March 12, 2014
 

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A PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE Hatch Entrepreneurial Center. [Photo by Richard McCaffrey]

FOUNDERS LEAGUE

LOCATION | Jewelry District, Providence

OPENED | January 2013

SQUARE FOOTAGE | 9500

RATES |  $150/month (“gym-style” basic membership), $225/month (“Residence” membership), $300/month (“ResidencePlus” membership)

ONLINE |  foundersleague.co

OUR TAKE |  What’s the atmosphere like at Founders League? Last Friday afternoon offered a pretty good sample. There were long tables stacked high with freshly-delivered pizzas. There was freely flowing wine and beer. There was a guy strolling around wearing Google Glass. And, eventually, the crowd congregated in one corner of the room for the main event: a American Idol-style PitchOff, designed to help contest entrants hone their two-minute sales skills. The winners, who each took home a crisp $100 bill, persuasively described non-toxic, anti-dandruff cream; a video game controller designed for use with only one hand; and an app called Splitwise that helps friends and roommates track shared expenses.

Commenting on one of the presenter’s tendency to point her fingers at the audience, as if she were firing guns, PitchOff judge and partner at Betaspring (the startup accelerator that runs Founders League) Jack Templin suggested it might be more effective to shoot those imaginary guns skyward, cowboy-style, as she talked.

WHY COWORKING? “In a community that hasn’t done this before, how do you do it for the first time? It’s not like [how] when you open up a coworking space in New York, there’s pent-up demand. Coworking spaces in New York fill up [instantly], no problem. Same thing in Boston, same thing in San Francisco.

“In a second- or third-tier city, it’s different. You’re creating your own market. You’re creating awareness of why it’s better to be in a community of entrepreneurs than it is to be in your basement or your spare bedroom. . . or why it’s better to be in a community than go to the old-style networking events. So it’s a different kind of market creation activity. And it’s not competition [among coworking spaces in Rhode Island]; we’re all doing the same thing. Our competition is the status quo. Our competition is the way that startups worked here [in Rhode Island] for the previous 20 years, which is kind of ‘small business mode’ and not ‘startup mode.’ ”

_Betaspring co-founder and Founders League manager Allan Tear

 

THE HIVE RI

LOCATION | North Kingstown

OPENED | September 2013

SQUARE FOOTAGE | 2500

RATES |  $15/day, $55/week, $190/month

ONLINE | thehiveri.com

OUR TAKE |  The Hive may seem like a haul for Providence residents. But consider this. It’s a mile from the new Wickford Junction MBTA train stop. It’s minutes from the Quonset Business Park. It directly abuts the 350-acre Ryan Park, which boasts miles of hiking trails. And it’s “10 minutes, tops,” from the nearest beach, says Hive co-founder Tuni Schartner.

These factors — and the space’s location inside a repurposed mill complex — lend a low-key spontaneity and outdoorsy feel to the Hive. “We’re all about balance,” Schartner says. “If you want to come in and bang out some work in your flip flops, go for it. If the waves are big, we’re going surfing. Or, if it’s a summer day, [I’m] gonna go swimming.

“It’s got that Southern Rhode Island vibe,” she says.

 

HATCH ENTREPRENEURIAL CENTER

LOCATION | Weybosset Street, in Downtown Providence

OPENED | September 2013

SQUARE FOOTAGE |  6000

RATES |  $100/month (“gym-style” basic membership), $250/month (residence membership)

ONLINE | hatchri.com

OUR TAKE |  Uh, did you see the panoramic Providence views on our cover this week?

WHY COWORKING? “The reason why I created this space specifically in downtown Providence was to combat the brain drain, that human capital that leaves [Rhode Island] every single year. So what I wanted to do was provide a space that was attractive enough to this entrepreneur that makes them realize, ‘You know what? I could be professional. I am professional. I am this entrepreneur that everyone keeps talking about, that I keep reading about in The Wall Street Journal, Providence Business News, the Phoenix. I am that guy!’ We really are a resource to help you make your dream a reality. All you need to do is raise your hand and tell me what you need.”

_Hatch co-founder and vice president of sales and marketing at Ocean Capital Daniel Murphy

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