Flexible, shared office spaces have changed the way people prefer to work. Although the coworking concept was brewing in America and Europe before 2005, it was that year that Brad Neuberg coined the term for his shared space concept in San Francisco. His idea involved more than just sharing desks in office spaces, the community concept spurred a built-in potential for networking, community, and collaboration. Another attractive aspect of coworking revolved around the significant savings for startups and small businesses. With flexible, monthly contracts, growing companies could focus on their core business initiatives, instead of sourcing, outfitting, and maintaining expensive and often lengthy commercial leases. Combined with the convenience of a turnkey office setting, a professional address, and all of the services and amenities you need to conduct business each day, coworking took off. After growing into a major game-changer in office settings, many coworking spaces outgrew their reputations as hipster hangouts as larger companies and corporations started seeking the social and community interaction in their workspaces. Recently, we took a closer look at Venture X Durham- Frontier RTP.
Located in the Triangle region of North Carolina, which refers to the triad of Duke University, UNC-Chapel-Hill, and NC State University, Venture X Durham-Frontier RTP is near the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Opening on January 1, 2020, franchise partner, Tyler Evans and business partner, Michael Hicks initially “started looking in the Research Triangle after our team at Cushman and Wakefield brought a demographic and CRE report to us for the Carolinas.” Due to the explosive growth trend in the Raleigh-Durham area, Evans and Hicks said, “We knew our concept would be a great fit for the innovative tech community.” Here’s what the franchisees had to say about their RTP location:
What has been the most interesting or exciting part of owning a Venture X location? The most challenging?
I would say the most challenging part so far has been getting people into our space to appreciate it. “Coworking” already has a mind’s image for most people and so when they hear about us, see an ad, or call on the phone, they are not able to see what makes us different. That leads right to the most exciting part which is the look on people’s faces when they step in for the first time. So great to see our hard work appreciated.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur and business owner?
Agility, passion for your product, and a true love for people.
How did you hear about Venture X? What makes this an ideal location for a coworking space?
At a real estate trade show in Florida. We were already looking for a franchise concept to invest in and grow to a multi-unit company. This was the perfect fit for us with our operational backgrounds. “After digging in and attending Discovery Days in Dallas and West Palm Beach, we were sold and knew we wanted to start our next chapter here."
What kind of feedback have you gotten from members?
The staff has been very helpful and key in keeping members and non-members happy, and they let us know when the staff has gone above and beyond to help them and their business.
Have you found that people are familiar with the concept of coworking or have you had to explain it?
Probably 80% of the time people know what coworking and flex office space is. It helps a lot that WeWork has been in the news so much, even though it’s negative for them, it helps get our industry out there and helps us get known.
How would you describe the business community in your area?
The Research Triangle area is very tech and medical focused, but that doesn’t mean that is all that is here. There are loads of startups and entrepreneurs in RTP Research Triangle Park and in the surrounding cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
What does your Venture X community look like? Similar industries? Varying ages?
Varying ages and all sorts of industries such as regional sales, medical operation executives, business consultants, private investment firms, software developers/tech companies, app developers, business lawyers, realtors, and the list will keep expanding.
Have you noticed any interesting work habits amongst your members?
Some members love to write all over our whiteboard walls in the conference rooms. Some have to come out to the open area to pace while they talk on the phone. One of our teams eats lunch at the same time, and altogether in our café area every day.
What is unique about your location?
On the other side of our parking lot, there is a venue called Boxyard RTP. It is only the second Boxyard location in the nation, and what they do is take old shipping containers, retrofit them, and turn them into restaurants, small retail stores, coffee shops, breweries, and all sorts of other things. Plus, there is room for live music in the open area in the middle of the venue.
How much square footage do you have? How many conference rooms? How many private offices?
Just under 22,000 square feet. Three conference rooms. 62 private offices.
What types of events are held at your location? Any upcoming events?
Networking events, seminars, lunch & learns, dinners, offsite business lunches/meetings, holiday parties. No upcoming events right now due to COVID-19.
A native of the Carolinas, Evans is married with two children and comes from a background in franchising in the fitness industry. Hicks, a Charlotte, NC native and successful entrepreneur with commercial construction and real estate holdings, is married and has three children. The two see the Durham - Frontier RTP space as their first Venture X location, with plans to add more locations in the next several years, saying that they have a growth mindset for themselves and their clients.
And we can’t wait to watch them grow with Venture X!