POLLINATE Davis Seeks to Create Co-Working Space For Startups

Photo from Wednesday's POLLINATE DAVIS open house.
Photo from Wednesday’s POLLINATE Davis open house.

This Wednesday, POLLINATE Davis, a non-profit that seeks to foster “creativity, collaboration, and community through a coworking and event space by providing innovative programming and support for freelancers and entrepreneurs,” held an open house.

Next Wednesday, January 21, at 6:30 pm, the third Jumpstart Davis meetup will be hosted by Sophia’s Thai Kitchen.  The event features three presentations: Ethan Garrett, the founder of “ROOTD,” a social media site for student athletes to connect with alumni after graduation;  Bob Webb, a founder of NextGen Pants, an indie game studio established in 2013; and  Matt Miller, the driving force behind POLLINATE Davis Co-Working Space.

POLLINATE is a non-profit-in-formation, community co-working space. It is scheduled to formally launch in February.

As Matt Miller explained, “POLLINATE, located in the heart of Downtown Davis, is a shared, interactive work environment ideally suited for startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, code writers, and other members of the creative class requiring a flexible space inspiring and promoting creativity, innovation, and exploration.

“It’s designed to facilitate a collaboration, learning, connecting, and growing. Critical to its mission is providing a steady flow of exciting programming (classes, talks, etc.), which will be a great addition to the programming currently being provided by Davis Roots, JumpStart Davis, and others,” he told the Vanguard.

He added, “A healthy community is filled with thriving small businesses and loads of arts and culture! POLLINATE is much more than just a shared co-working space – it’s a game changer and will ensure that Downtown Davis remains a center for creativity and design.”

As Mr. Miller explained he began as a CPA “with an entrepreneurial spirit.” He spent several tax seasons with Newman Associates in Davis, and “I decided to spread my wings. I love the sense of community Davis offers and truly believe that with the right forum (a co-working space), the people here will achieve great things.”

Matt Miller (left) listens as Michael Bisch (far) right speaks with Bill Habicht (center)
Matt Miller (left) listens as Michael Bisch (far) right speaks with Bill Habicht (center)

He said, “I had been eyeing a vacant suite in one of the properties we manage, Regency Square, and thought that it would make a great coworking space as it has four private offices, a conference room, and two large common rooms. “

Furthermore, he explained, “Regency Square is a premier, centrally located property in  close proximity to Davis Roots and Mishka’s Cafe, a coworking space at his location really adds to this startup critical mass developing in The Core.”

So he pitched the idea to Michael Bisch, a colleague of his at Davis Commercial Properties. After some initial hesitancy, Mr. Bisch agreed.

Mr. Miller said, “Low and behold, the very next morning,  your paper published an article by Rob White who listed four ingredients critical to creating a startup scene in Davis, one being a centrally located coworking space!”

Rob White’s article from November 6, 2014, cites an article by David Lum on the Fast Company website entitled, “The Recipe for Building a Startup Scene in Any City.” Mr. White quotes four key ingredients: “There are four things that need to be in place in order to build a startup scene. The first is a venue that is cheap and central, where meetups can take place. The second is a monthly event where all of the startups gather. The third is an established hashtag everyone in the community can use to share photos and event info. And finally, a coworking space that is open 24/7 so that when an outsider lands in the city, they have a place to go and meet tons of people in the scene.”

“Matt is a super sharp, hard-working, innovative guy, with strong financial skills,” Michael Bisch told the Vanguard.  “He is the driving force behind the POLLINATE Davis Co-Working effort and one of the earliest participants in the Jumpstart Davis movement.”

Matt Miller’s advice to other entrepreneurs, “Know your audience and grow your community first. Rather than slapping some paint on our walls and throwing in desks, we decided early on to foster a community of coworkers and seek out their feedback and support. In the end, the crowd always creates the king.”

Matt Miller said, their website should be up and running within the next couple of days: pollinatedavis.org. Upcoming programming in our space: meetup.com/pollinatedavis. For more info on POLLINATE, go to: http://www.loopnet.com/lid/19035626 or attend our bi-weekly open houses announced on meetup.com/pollinatedavis.

Earlier this week, we published an article on ROOTD and its founder Ethan Garrett. By Monday we will publish an article on Bob Webb and his company, NextGen Pants.

In addition to Jumpstart Davis, TEDxUCDavis will be holding its second annual event, “The Year of X”, on January 17, 2015 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. The event will be held at the Odd Fellows Hall, located at 415 Second Street in downtown Davis. The Salon will be entirely student-run by the TEDxUCDavis team, under the instruction of Co-Curators, Chris Myers and David Smotherman. For more information see our article from earlier this week.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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5 Comments

  1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

    Furthermore, he explained, “Regency Square is a premier, centrally located property in  close proximity to Davis Roots and Mishka’s Cafe, a coworking space at his location really adds to this startup critical mass developing in The Core.”

    You might have informed your readers that Regency Square is the weird, no first floor office building at 508 Second Street, at the corner of Second and D*. For many years Regency Square was the home of Hunan Bar and Restaurant (which moved to a nearby location at 207 D Street). Currently, the most prominent tenant in that building is the Golden 1 Credit Union.

    When I was a kid, there was a much smaller building on that 508 Second Street parcel and a parking lot on the south side. It was home to a very small State Market grocery store, run by the famous Gee family of Davis, who owned Mr. Gee’s Restaurant (on G Street) and other State Market IGA locations.

    *There is a half basement garage, the ceiling of which rises well above street level. As a result, the “first floor” is about 10 steps up. RS is not the ugliest building in downtown. However, it is horrible architecture in most respects. It has nothing attractive about its facade, and it has no attachment to the street scene at 2nd and D. It’s just sort of one of those bad 1970s pieces of junk, where the builders had no understanding of what looks good and how a building needs to engage the street. Oddly, before WW2, every architect understood how to accomplish those things. But by the 1970s, every architect apparently was stoned out of his mind.

  2. DT Businessman

    And yet, Rich, the Regency Square is arguably the most successful office property in all of downtown despite the challenges you mention.  Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, not to mention Davis Commercial Properties :), can certainly give Golden1 a run for their money for the title of most prominent tenant. First Northern Bank and Lyon Real Estate among others aren’t exactly slouches either.  A landlord with vision and a willingness to reinvest in the property can make up for a lot of deficiencies.  Support for JumpStart Davis and POLLINATE Coworking is par for the course for this landlord.

    -Michael

    1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, not to mention Davis Commercial Properties :), can certainly give Golden1 a run for its money for the title of most prominent tenant. First Northern Bank and Lyon Real Estate among others aren’t exactly slouches either.

      Golden 1’s prominence, from my perspective as someone passing by, is not a statement about its importance as a company. It’s that, if I am recalling correctly, there is a big Golden 1 Credit Union sign at the corner of the building, right where the stairs lead up to the main entrance.

      In terms of its success as an office building, that is certainly more important than other considerations. But I think it’s the case, as other buildings in Davis have shown*, that a structure can compliment the street scene well and work for its occupants.

      *I’d say The Chen Building and The Roe Building are two newer examples of structures which seem to do that. There are also a number of examples of older buildings, too–some of which have been rehabbed for a new purpose (like 403 G–Village Pizza); and others which have not (e.g., 221-225 G–the old Masonic Lodge).

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