Aug 09 2012

How to create an ideal co-working space:

  • Posted by: admin
  •  Find 1 awesome building in River North
  • Collect brilliant minds, as many as you can find
  • Sprinkle them with kindness
  • Place brilliantkind minds in awesome building
  • Watch for innovation
  • Add in 20 razor scooters, fridges of 312, and overpriced coffee
  • Watch for success
  • Consider lowering price of coffee
  • Find someone to yell at the intern who is complaining about the coffee prices

I think this is how they did it. Whether or not the recipe is exact, co-working spaces in Chicago have been amazing for entrepreneurs. In light of this national holiday, here’s what’s been happening at these awesome offices:

 Home Sweet Home, 1871.

 Those of us who call 1871 home can agree that the past 98 days have been filled with much success, some set backs, but above all, a lot of positive energy. While it takes a ridiculously long amount of time to get an elevator to the 12th floor of the mart, once those doors open, you can’t help but feel great about the place you’re working. The design itself is remarkable, but no where near as remarkable as the brilliant minds we work beside each day.

Since it’s launch in the beginning of summer, many great people have walked and scooted around 1871, including Mayor Emmanuel. New startups have been accepted to the co-working space weekly, making 1871 better with each addition. The space is used for amazing, daily workshops on SEO, Social Media, and Design, and offers office hours with Chicago’s finest. 1871 is home to early stage companies including single founder companies. People usually leave when the team gets to be around 6 people, so is anyone interested in making 1871 the sequel? Dashfire has loved being at 1871.

We’ve been able to attend so many great workshops and connect with tons of amazing people. Rick was on a panel recently, check it out.


Part incubator, part accelerator, the 12,000 square foot co-working space opened in June of this year. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Catapult a couple of times this summer, where I’ve worked with Bucketfeet.While the space is a bit smaller than 1871, that doesn’t mean there’s any less brilliance. Its made up of early stage companies with teams from 1-8 people, and their vision is to create a peer-selected environment, which adds so much to the office vibes. New companies are selected by the existing founders of other companies in the office space, creating a big happy family of entrepreneurs.

The layout of Catapult is a little different; instead of the big, open tables at 1871, each startup gets a private room, which is nice. The doors are always open, unless there is a top secret meeting going on.

Tech Nexus

Tech Nexus is one of the oldest co-working spaces in Chicago. While I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Tech Nexus yet, I’m open to any invitations to stop by. I don’t bite often.   130 companies have been grown out of Tech Nexus, raising over $75 million in capital. It’s a place where entrepreneurs can build start ups, collaborate with all or some of Tech Nexus’s 2,500 techies on board what they like to call the “clubhouse”, and gain the skills needed to pursue their dreams. Tech Nexus feels like a college more so than the other co-working spaces in Chicago, which is very appealing to startups and the companies they have on board.

Because it’s been around for so long, Tech Nexus knows how to do co-working space right. It’s a place to collaborate and network, communicate with peers, techies and advisors, attend work shops and labs, engage in the startup world, etc.


The Coop

The Coop is trés chic! It’s classic white walls, huge windows, unique furniture and art make it a great place to get work done. What’s nice about The Coop is that they’re welcome to showing it off – as of lately, non-members can take free tours of The Coop between 9am and 4pm. Thursday is “free day” at The Coop, which makes it really nice for non-members as well.

It was one of the first co-working spaces in Chicago, inspired by the New York City co-working space, Brooklyn Coworking. It is just an all around friendly place to be, and is inviting to anyone. Home to writers, web developers, acoustic engineers, designers, journalists, students, and entrepreneurs, The Coop serves as a great spot for brilliant people to bounce ideas off of the white walls.

The Coop is home to The Gift Insider, where I had my first internship! It’s a gift giving website that rocks, check it out if you haven’t already.


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