Think frat house for techies—with a twist of high-end coffee—and you’ve got the picture at CoHabitat. Ensconsed in an old house with sloping wood floors, left-over pizza in the fridge, and a kegerator to keep the beer cold, the State-Thomas co-working outfit is where several technology start-up companies are working on the next greatest apps for the iPhone, among other things.
It’s 10 a.m., and Ross Bates is one of the few CoHabitat diehards at his desk. Hey, it’s Friday; more will trickle in later, he says. Some nights, they’ll work through the wee hours if the creativity is flowing. Bates, who’s starting a business analytics software company, has been paying $275/month for a permanent desk at CoHabitat since March 2009. He likes the location, the synergy of working alongside other entrepreneurs, and the price. Desks on a first-come, first-serve basis in another room are available for $100/month. Twenty bucks gets you a day pass.
Upstairs, Christopher St. John with startup Pure Discovery says he likes that he can head out the door and walk to the Dallas Arts District—or downstairs to the kitchen for a bite to eat.
i-Welcome to “co-working,” a concept gaining traction in Dallas-Fort Worth with at least a half-dozen local sites. The idea is to bring together entrepreneurs seeking a sense of community and a synergy to propel their businesses forward.
Trent Clark, an independent architect, has opened one of the newest locations: SmartOffice in Flower Mound. “I got so tired of the isolation and lack of interaction that I needed to find a solution,” says Clark, who spent eight years working from home. “When I found co-working it rang a bell, so I bought some property and renovated an old home into a commercial space. It’s a great place to work.”
In Dallas, CoHabitat co-founders Blake Burris (with startup Dynamo Labs) and Dave Copps (with Pure Discovery) have spent about $50,000 so far on renovations to the old home they lease. They had a launch party last April and expect to break even their first year.
“People here are working independently, but are not isolated,” says Burris, who’s opening another co-working location in his hometown of Shreveport, La. “You create this habitat, if you will, for innovation. It’s a breeding ground for ideas.”