by Daniel Parrella, Michael Bisch, Bill Habicht, Matthew Miller, and Alex Rossbach
Startups frequently clash with the monolithic commercial real estate industry when it comes to leasing office space. Dorm rooms and coffee houses are suitable for the idea phase of a startup, but eventually access to office space becomes critical. Once a company receives its first round of funding or generates the revenue to hire its first employee, many startups find themselves struggling to find space that meets their needs.
A startup wants maximum flexibility in the first lease they sign, preferably on a month to month basis. Most landlords want companies to commit to at least six months before they agree to rent out an office. Six months can be a lifetime for a rapidly growing company. Many startups find themselves boxed into a lease that drags down capital, and is no longer filling their needs.
While large companies seeking office space have tremendous leverage to negotiate rates and concessions, startups receive little sympathy from landlords. Not only can relatively small amounts of office space be hard to find, but the ones that are available typically have very rigid leasing agreements with no buildout costs included.
The past few years has seen the rapid proliferation of coworking spaces, particularly in locations with heavy startup activity, such as New York City and the Bay Area. Coworking spaces offer flexible leasing terms month to month, or in some cases, day to day. Shared desks, conference rooms, and office spaces allow for a professional setting while at the same time keeping costs low for tenants. Some offer creative financing for startups through payment in equity rather than cash.
A non-profit community coworking space, POLLINATE Davis, is opening its doors this month to local startups. POLLINATE is located in the heart of Downtown Davis, at Regency Square, 508 Second Street, Suite 208. POLLINATE Davis has four private offices as well as a conference room and desks, which can be rented by individuals. They will be hosting classes on marketing, business, and programming for both their tenants as well as members of the public.
JumpStart Davis will be having its monthly showcasing event at 6:30pm on February 18th at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen in Davis. JumpStart Davis is highlighting three local companies that work in Biotech or Medtech. Speakers include Sudhee Lakshmana, co-founder of SonanuTech, Paul Henderson, from Accelerated Medical Diagnostics, and Charles Lee, who is the founder of Molecular Matrix. SonanuTech is a Davis Roots company.
A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is not something that will happen over night. However, a sustained effort to grow the startup community can yield dividends for the entire city and region of Davis, and have us continue to be leaders in innovation.
If you have questions about the events or wish to join the effort, contact Daniel Parrella (firstname.lastname@example.org), Michael Bisch (email@example.com), Bill Habicht (firstname.lastname@example.org), Matthew Miller (email@example.com), or Alex Rossbach (firstname.lastname@example.org).