It was a hot day in late May when a moving truck pulled up to the Library Lofts building in downtown Kansas City and unloaded a rag tag bunch of entrepreneurs with all their chairs, tables, TVs, and whiteboards. After two SparkLabKC classes and nearly a year in our office space across from Union Station, it was time for a move. You can now find us at our new, collaborative office on the bustling corner of 10th and Wyandotte.
What’s Happening Inside?
Currently, our flexible, open-plan office space houses five companies from the SparkLabKC Class of 2014, which completed in April 2014 with our Demo Day. Within designated areas spread across the large space, these five companies have hit the ground running. They find the modern, industrial space to be an exciting place to grow, collaborate, and thrive.
On any given day you can hear deals being made, see meetings between business owners and potential investors, or even see a promotional video being filmed. To call this a hub of startup activity is an understatement. Our new offices provide a home base for our recent graduates as they continue to engage with SparkLabKC as a valuable resource for their growth and development.
Engagement with the other businesses is one of the most important aspects of the new space, according to Kyle Fitzgerald, CEO of Life Equals. “You definitely learn from each other. You hear where someone had a problem with something and then avoid that problem, or where someone had success and learn from that to figure out how to apply it to your own business,” he says. “That’s the benefit of having this many businesses in the same space.”
Fun Times at SparkLabKC
The new space isn’t just a great place to get work done. It’s also a great place to play! At any given moment, a Nerf Gun war can break out between businesses. Please don’t mind the Nerf missiles scattered across the floor if you stop by to visit, and be prepared to duck.
Recently, Life Equals provided five large plants (four Big Palms and one Bird of Paradise) to energize the space with greenery and life. Not only are the plants beautiful to look at, but they also provide great cover for friendly Nerf sniping.
CouponCloud brought in a Ping-Pong table, which often serves as a work surface for their team, but frequently gets cleared off for a refreshingly competitive game or two.
In our kitchen space you will find a fridge stuffed with lunches, a Keurig machine for quick caffeinating breaks, and plenty of Boulevard beer for when happy hour rolls around. There also are plenty of couches and comfy chairs in the lounging areas for those who like to recline while coding.
The Collaborative Spirit
At SparkLabKC, we believe that collaboration between entrepreneurs is vital for startups to thrive. When people exchange ideas, everyone wins. Our goal is for KC startups to help each other get their feet off the ground. Our new space reflects this belief.
Adam Coomes, Co-Founder and CPO of CouponCloud, loves the energy of the space. “The collaborative nature of the environment has helped to create a fun space where we’re all working on our own things but we’re all trying to accomplish similar goals,” he says. “You can feel a lot of energy. It’s really awesome.”
Formerly a bank location, the currency being exchanged here now is collaborative creativity. With five startups cohabiting in the same space, cross-pollination of ideas and strategies is bound to happen. Many of our graduates help each other in more ways than sharing ideas - they also do business with one another.
We couldn’t agree more with Jennifer Ong, Co-Founder and COO of Hello Fearless, when it comes to our new space: “It embodies the fun, new 21st century work life, and it breaks the traditional corporate model.”
We can’t wait to see how these businesses sustain long-term growth after working in our SparkLabKC space.
This winter, our current companies-in-residence will leave the nest and we will transform the space again in anticipation of the 10 new startups that will make up the SparkLabKC Class of 2015. We’re excited to provide them with an energizing place to accelerate their growth in the heart of Downtown KC.
Come check out our new offices on 10th and Wyandotte. We love visitors. You will find us across the street from the iconic Kansas City Downtown Public Library parking garage. We’d love to show you this great new space for work and play.