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Startup Success Stories from Early Beginnings in Coworking Spaces

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Startup businesses from all sectors have enjoyed enviable success in recent years, with coworking spaces playing a vital part in springboarding growth.

By the end of this year, there will be 1.2 million people working in at least a one of the 14,000 coworking spaces worldwide. Clearly, coworking is a global trend that’s reshaping the way people work. The perks of coworking for Freelancers, SMEs and even corporates are well-documented, but what about for startups?

Early stage companies can benefit greatly from utilising shared workspaces. First, coworking frees them from fixed costs and lock-ins that are typically associated with renting or buying a whole office space. It further reduces their operating costs by sharing resources such as printers, meeting rooms, kitchen, facilities and reception desk and much more.

In addition, coworking enables startups to be more flexible as they can adapt their space needs and costs according to their growth rate, which any entrepreneur can tell you vary greatly. It also vastly boosts recruiting efforts as coworking offers a cool office to “sell” potential employees instead of a garage or warehouse space in the outskirts of town.

Flexibility and Connectivity Are Key Factors to Successful Coworking for Startup Businesses

The environment of a shared workspace makes startup employees more productive as they’re working alongside like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs who have boundless passion and energy that tends to motivate everyone around them. Coworking also creates a lot of opportunities for business development and partnerships as its community itself offers a great place for startups to network, test their product and receive feedback from professionals from several industries.

However, coworking doesn’t just look good on paper! Here are five mighty startups you will recognise that took their first strides towards success working from coworking spaces:

Instagram

Founded in 2010 and sold to Facebook for $1 billion two years later, Instagram is one of the biggest startup success stories of the decade. However, few people know that the company started out in Dogpatch Labs, a coworking space in San Francisco, California.

As co-founder Mike Krieger points out in his blog post ‘Why Instagram Worked’, at the very beginning everything wasn’t all that easy. In fact, initially they were working on a location-based social network called Burbn that gathered a solid, but not spectacular user base.

It was through brainstorming in a conference room of their coworking space that they shifted focus of their business model to ever popular photo filters. Within two months they redesigned and launched a new app called Instagram and the rest is history.

Uber

On a cold winter evening in Paris in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp struggled to hail a taxi and invented the idea of getting a ride by simply clicking a button on your smartphone. Uber was born. While many people probably know the Uber startup story, few are aware that Uber launched a big part of its operations and nurtured the startup in coworking space “The Yard” in New York.

Needless to say, coworking worked exceptionally well for Uber, which now operates in over 250 cities from 51 countries and recently achieved a valuation of $28bn.

Charity: Water

While the story of founder Scott Harrison going from nightclub promoter to social entrepreneur is a great read on its own, this social startup is also a particularly fascinating example for a successful venture originating from a coworking space.

Charity: Water was founded at a WeWork community in New York in 2006 and is an NGO focused on ensuring that every person around the world has access to clean water. Within a decade the charity managed to provide over 7 million people in 24 countries with clean water, thanks to funding more than 22.000 projects.

The non-profit organisation is a great case showing how high-growth startups can benefit from coworking, as the firm used shared work spaces in a smart way to expand into other cities at low cost.

Wanderfly

This startup which disrupted the travel industry ranks among the fastest growing ever. They were founded in 2009, achieved $1M funding in 2011 and were acquired by TripAdvisor for an undisclosed amount one year later. Without a doubt, launching their company in the shared office called Projective Space in New York was a major success factor.

What is interesting about Wanderfly is that its founders knew from the start they wanted to launch the company in a coworking space due to three main reasons:

The founders were convinced that working from flexible coworking space provided the best chances of success.

They wanted their team to be consistently stimulated and motivated by taking advantage of the collaborative environment, with the opportunity to work alongside high-performing and creative coworkers.

Wanderfly wanted to leverage networking and collaboration opportunities from the very beginning.

d+b Intersection

Barcelona-based d+b Intersection is an interesting case as the founders took a slightly different path. Alexandra Rodríguez started the business in her own flat, before figuring out she needed a more inspiring coworking space to take it to the next stage. For her innovative design visualisation company, the main advantages of coworking were that Rodríguez needed a place to share the project idea, meet other motivated and outstanding professionals and boost creativity.

When launching a project from zero, the garage or flat seems like a great place as it basically doesn’t create any costs. However, what a lot of entrepreneurs and self-employed people quickly discover is that they are not being exposed sufficiently to an external network that can contribute significantly to future success.

Have you got a great idea for a new business? Signature Works provides first class coworking environments for the businesses of tomorrow. Get connected for faster growth with Signature Works.

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