Phoenix co-working spaces help local startups thrive


    The Phoenix-area entrepreneurial community has seen more and more startups pop up in recent years. While these talented business owners have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are now, many of them have enjoyed the privilege of having help along the way. Accelerators and incubators helped many of them get off the ground, and other organizations and people have been generous investors.

    But perhaps the thing that most brings the Phoenix startup community together is its co-working spaces. Places like CO+HOOTS, Galvanize, and soon, The Pen & Barbell, offer collaborative spaces for local businesspeople to exchange ideas and strategies among other services.

    CO+HOOTS, located at Indianola Avenue and 3rd Street, was named the best co-working space in the state and placed ninth in the world, according to its website. It recently announced some successes for the startups that use its space—since CO+HOOTS’ current office opened in April of 2016, it has helped its member companies create more than 200 jobs, according to a press release.

    The press release mentioned business technology company Ackmann & Dickenson as a member company that has excelled, and the company credits CO+HOOTS for helping them expand. The project began as a one-man show and is now a team of six.

    “CO+HOOTS had all of the offerings and services to get us up and running from day one,” said Mark Schumacher, Ackmann & Dickenson’s manager of interactive design, in the press release. “The open and welcoming community of people helped integrate our Minneapolis transplants into the Phoenix tech and startup world instantly. From networking events, weekly member socials, community speakers, tech talks – there’s always something good going on at CO+HOOTS.”

    Galvanize, located at Grant Street and 7th Street, also offers opportunities like these. It bills itself as a “21st century school” for entrepreneurs and offers a collaborative space for training and skill-building. General Manager Diana Vowels said in an email that after opening in February, Galvanize already has 100 companies with 275 employees working from the campus. She said their web development program has had 50 students, while a new data science program begins this month with a dozen students.

    Vowels sees co-working and learning spaces like Galvanize as essential to the future of Phoenix’s business community.

    “The warehouse district is getting more vibrant every day,” she said. “Several tech companies have opened or relocated to the district recently, and it is now home to dozens of creative and tech businesses. With the continued shortage in tech talent, we anticipate Galvanize growing as well as others. The talent gap is so large that it will take multiple players to close the gap.”

    The Pen & Barbell
    Adding to the fight to close the talent gap, a new co-working space is opening later this year: The Pen & Barbell. It will be located in the downtown Phoenix area, and it offers more than just a workspace—besides a big room for collaborative working, it will have a full gym along with a kitchen and showers. According to the website, services like personal training, nutrition coaching, and physical therapy will be available to members.

    “In creating The Pen & Barbell, my hope is that it becomes a place connecting the communities I’m involved with, from the entrepreneurs and designers to the fitness and strength athletes,” said founder Dorothy Huynh in an email. “A year from opening day, aside from being profitable, I envision The Pen & Barbell to be pillar of creativity and strength in the community, providing the programming and resources necessary for its members to learn and develop their skills.”

    Interested parties can sign up on the company’s website to become a founding member and support the space’s construction and early operations.


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