| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Innovation & Job News

Coworking update: Indy Hall readies for expansion; Venturef0rth up to three companies

Coworking is exploding in Philadelphia. Venturef0rth, at 8th and Callowhill, stands apart as an entrepreneurial lab hewn from science. All that's missing are the white coats. 
Meanwhile, the venerable Indy Hall, in operation since 2007, announced on Thursday it is planning on expanding into a street level storefront at 20 N. 3rd in Old City. Alex Hillman, who led the town hall meeting with founding partner  Geoff DiMasi, says, "We've had a waiting list since September, and it's been growing faster than it's been shrinking. These aren't just people looking for an office, they're people who want to join Indy Hall." Now with a total of 153 members at all levels, Indy Hall exudes a clubhouse cool. The lively, art filled space has an underground feel.
The plan, according to Hillman, is to take over the downstairs where Indy Hall now occupies the second floor, and install a staircase connecting the two floors internally. Adding a pedestrian friendly entry will greatly increase eyes on Indy Hall, and potentially attract more members, but the challenge lies in getting the right storefront presence. A cafe and pop up shops were mentioned at Thursday night's meeting. The estimated total cost of expansion is $60,000, according to Hillman, who is aiming for a quick May 1 deadline.
Over at Venturef0rth, which pays tribute to the hacker ethic with a zero in the name, Elliot Menschik, impressively credentialed and successfully exited, has teamed up with Jay Shah and Jesse Kramer to create a soaring, pristine space that currently houses three startups: Lessonsmith, and recent DreamIt grads Metalayer and Grassroots Unwired. "At full capacity we could hold 100 people here working full-time," says Menschik. "That would compromise some of the common space, so a good place would be 60-75 people, with 20 companies or so."
Both Venturef0rth and Indy Hall plan on events to engage the community; Indy Hall's expansion plan includes a classroom and team spaces for companies that have outgrown individual desks but want to stay in the community and act as mentors. At Thursday's town hall meeting, Councilman Bill Green was in attendance; at this weekend's Lean Startup Machine seminar at Venturef0rth, Mayor Michael Nutter dropped by.
Hillman and Menschik exude magnetic charm, albeit in different styles, and it's easy to see why startups would choose either camp. But are there hundreds of people in Philadelphia to populate these and other recently opened, more specialized coworking spaces like Green Village, Philadelphia Game Lab and SeedPhilly?

Source: Elliot Menschik, Venturef0rth; Alex Hillman, Indy Hall
Writer: Sue Spolan

Photos: Indy Hall (top) and Venturef0rth.
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts