Coworking 101

SParkInnovation

People tend to forget that successful entrepreneurs start with nothing more than a big idea they have in an office, in the shower, or working in their basement. Finding resources and relationships to help execute that idea is the exciting challenge.

New Haven is a community where innovative people can grow those ideas into real businesses without the pressures (or price tag) of a big city. Shout out to local tech companies like SeeClickFix, Knock Media and Technolutions, local biotechs like Arvinas and RxGen, and social leaders like Data Haven and the Greater New Haven Community Foundation, which have helped create and sustain a startup-friendly scene.

For the past decade, co-working space has supported creative people in New Haven working toward making those scribbles on a napkin a reality or taking their business to the next level. Besides the pioneers at The Grove, who first brought co-working to the area in 2009, New Haven now has a range of co-working options to consider.

While looking for a co-working solution that’s right for you, keep these aspects in mind:

(Click here for an overview of the questions as a downloadable PDF.)

Network

On your hunt for the coveted co-working space, consider the network it offers. No one achieves anything alone. Even if you’re a self-starter, helping others helps you. Find a work space filled with people who have goals that align with yours. The Grove is an example of a New Haven space that unites people with a desire to create a better world through the work that they do. A collaborative group of nonprofit and for-profit professionals, The Grove hosts events for skill sharing, mentorship and networking. (They sometimes serve pancakes!) Hub55 has a ready-made network that proactively helps its international members leverage professional relationships with local companies and associations.

Ask Yourself:
  • Will there be companies or professionals working in a similar industry?
  • Are there events that foster relationships that could eventually become funders, partners or employees?
  • What is the community feel –– collaborative, utilitarian?
Atmosphere

One thing that pushes freelancers and entrepreneurs to make the switch from a home office, or working at a coffee shop to a co-working space is the need for a professional atmosphere. At home, dishes, laundry and pets are distracting. Coffee shops are nice until you pick up that account that expects an office space for meetings. In that case, you might consider Regus, located in the Connecticut Financial Center. A sophisticated option, it has front door security with sign-ins and elevator banks. Ultimately, you want your co-working space to reflect the culture of the business you are building.

Ask Yourself:
  • Is it there an open floor plan? How loud it is?
  • What desk configurations are available?
  • What kind of environment do I need for meetings with clients?
Services & Amenities

When you are looking for an apartment or house, amenities are typically at the top of the list. Your co-working list of non-negotiables should look no different. Entrepreneurship is challenging –– you need a space that makes a few things easier. DistriCT offers some fun and unique amenities like a kayak and paddleboard launch, bocce court, athletic club, and beer garden. If a must-have is lab space and/or access to other pharma and biotech startups, S*Park Innovation may be the co-working spot for you.

Ask Yourself:
  • What do I get access to?
  • What is included in my rent or membership?
  • What are my priorities –– fun or practical services?
Budget

The early days in business can be tight financially, but keep faith –– no one found remarkable success without taking a risk. Still, mind your budget when looking for a place to work. Deskcrashers welcomes newcomers to entrepreneurship with day passes and monthly membership options. And you know what, the NHFPL (New Haven Free Public Library) is... free. Beyond the books and online resources, it is an accessible place for everyone to take care of business. It has desk space, meeting rooms and, of course, free wifi; it is also fully accessible.

Ask Yourself:
  • Is there flexibility for how long and how often I use the space?
  • What are my hours compared to theirs? Can I access this space 24/7 if I need to?
  • How big of a commitment do I need to make?
Location

All co-working spaces in New Haven are located within 4.4 miles of one another and are all within walking or biking distance of downtown. The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Co-Working Concierge Service is right on the Green offering amazing views of the city.  Urban Collective, a black-owned collaborative space great for hosting events, is in one of the more residential areas of East Rock. New Haven is a mid-sized, walkable city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your commute as convenient as possible.

Ask Yourself:
  • Do I want a neighborhood location or a place downtown among other businesses?
  • Am I walking from the train or do I need to be closer to the Yale Medical School or other businesses?
  • Do I want to drive, bike or walk to my co-working space?

Whether you are starting out as a freelance writer, secured your first round of funding and looking for new recruits, or scaling up your side hustle into a full-time business, there are many options for co-working in New Haven –– each one here to help you grow.

New Haven’s CoWorking Spaces
  1. Deskcrashers
  2. DistriCT
  3. Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Co-Working Concierge Service
  4. The Grove
  5. Hub55
  6. New Haven Free Public Library
  7. Regus
  8. S*Park Innovation
  9. Urban Collective

The ECIC blog focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the New Haven community. Residents, readers, doers: share your entrepreneurial endeavor and include the hashtags #coworking #nhv for a chance to be featured on our social media page or in an upcoming post.

Collegial Collaboration

855SCSU BioscienceCareersForum

Historically known for its collegiate atmosphere, New Haven has more than half a dozen colleges and universities in the area - Albertus Magnus College, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut, University of New Haven, and of course, Yale University.

Today, these powerhouse institutions are helping to make New Haven known for cultivating entrepreneurship and innovation in STEM by creating new programs and collaborating with community organizations and businesses.

Here are just a few of the programs supported by the ECIC that showcase this collaborative spirit, equipping students and lifelong learners to be startup founders and workforce-ready team members:

Health Haven Hub

Bringing together medical device and digital health startups created by student teams from around the area, this new technological hub allows student entrepreneurs focused on healthcare innovation to easily access support from Bridge Innovations Accelerator, HealthVenture Labs, and Origami Innovations. It is a place to share knowledge, where student startups, from early seed to commercialization stages, can also access Yale resources and exchange industry ideas. This Hub will also open its doors to the community with healthtech-related events and workshops. With several student teams already lined up for their programs, Health Haven Hub is slated to open in June 2018 near the New Haven Green at 195 Church St.

Bioscience Careers Forum

In the sciences, a rigorous education is a vital sign. But, great careers are also made on grit and connections. The Bioscience Careers Forum at SCSU, jointly hosted by BioPath and The Jackson Lab (JAX), provides an opportunity for invaluable networking. The Forum features discussions on training needed for a bioscience career and skills employers are seeking. The latest Forum on April 27, 2018 featured JAX President and CEO, Ed Liu, M.D. as the keynote speaker, and panel discussions with representatives from Trevi Therapeutics, BioCT, and Alexion, which were attended by faculty and college students from SCSU and other institutions, industry professionals and leaders, community leaders, and New Haven education leaders and New Haven Public School high school students. Over 20 companies from the area participated in the networking session in SCSU’s new Science Building. The Forum is expected to be offered annually.

Small Instrumentation Fund

The program’s motto is, “Give us an instrument and we will produce students who know how to use it.” The Small Instrumentation Fund supports the acquisition of scientific instruments and equipment used for teaching and research at educational institutions in New Haven, such as the Bioscience Academic and Career Pathway (BioPath) Program at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). This type of hands-on, practical learning gives students the incentive to stay in the area after graduation and find jobs at local companies looking for people with this type of specific experience. The first two purchases made with this funding brought a real-time PCR thermocycler and an automated chromatography apparatus to SCSU. Both are essential instruments that are widely encountered at biotech and pharma companies.

UNH’s Digital Fabrication + MakeHaven

Digital Fabrication is a new course offered by University of New Haven’s (UNH) Department of Art and Design in partnership with MakeHaven - a gathering place workshop for makers, creators, tinkerers and dreamers. By joining forces, they have each broadened their network and pool of resources to support aspiring innovators. The course is part of UNH’s new BFA in Digital Art and Design and includes students from Art, Graphic Design, Engineering and Molecular Biology. Taught by Joseph Smolinski, the course utilizes both the UNH makerspace and MakeHaven to teach various digital design techniques and connects students to a network that engages them even after graduation.

Tsai CITY + StartupGrind New Haven

Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, TSAI CITY, is on a mission to create an inclusive, interdisciplinary learning environment for resilient risk-takers to learn new skills. To achieve this mission, they are co-sponsoring with ECIC events with StartupGrind New Haven that mixes ambitious people and ideas. The New Haven Chapter of Startup Grind is dedicated to building a community where local founders, business people, and students can support and teach one another. The events typically showcase compelling speakers who tell the personal and professional story of how they got to where they are today. Recent events featured Steve Kokinos, co-founder of Fuze, a communication platform that raised more than $30mm in funding and Susan Froshauer, the former CEO of CURE and co-founder Rib-X Pharmaceuticals.

FREE Tech Certificate Courses

Offered through the GREAT Center at Gateway Community College, New Haven residents can receive exceptional free training from local industry experts in fields like Web Development, Web Design, and now, Business Analysis. The ‘TechHire’ initiative was created and adopted by the White House in recognition of substantial growth in the technical economic sector and the surprising number of current job openings. The certificate program allows qualified students to obtain these skills at NO COST to participants who meet the qualifications.

Through collegial collaboration between colleges, universities, non-profit organizations and businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation are becoming a stronger force in our community than ever before. For more information about any of these programs, follow the links or reach out to the ECIC here.

The ECIC blog focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the New Haven community. Residents, readers, doers: share your entrepreneurial endeavor and include the hashtags #coworking #nhv for a chance to be featured on our social media page or in an upcoming post.

New Haven Team Submits Mars Habitat Design

mars

Network Connecticut ran a profile on a New Haven team that submitted a design to a Martian habitat competition run by NASA. Led by mechanical engineer Nick McGhee, the team developed a proposal that uses robots to build housing from materials already present on Mars, literally pulling plastics from the air and baking Martian rocks into walls.

For more – including their application video and an interview where they describe their model – click below:

http://networkconnecticut.com/2018/06/will-nasa-select-new-havens-habitat-for-mars/#.WxigN4Cfc-s.facebook

One of 18 teams competing from across the country, the team developed their proposal, 3D-printed models, and tested their materials process at MakeHaven, a local membership-based makerspace funded by the Elm City Innovation Collaborative, New Haven’s member of the CTNext “Innovation Places” program.  For a full listing of MakeHaven events, visit www.makehaven.org.

Contributed by Michael Harris, ECIC Chair

Photo courtesy of Ann Nyberg's Network Connecticut

Work & Life: A Q&A with 3 New Haven-based STEM Entrepreneurs

   250Erika circle  
Susanne Radke Erika Smith Charlie O’Connell

Place is important when it comes to starting a business. It needs to have networks, resources, support, not only for your business, but for your personal life, too.

For CEOs, Susanne Radke, Erika Smith and Charlie O’Connell, that place may have been Boston, San Francisco, New York City, France or Germany. But all have found a fulfilling personal and professional home in New Haven.

Erika Smith, founder and CEO at ReNetX Bio, Inc. just closed Series-A funding for clinical trials that aim to restore neurologic function after CNS injury.

Susanne Radke, PhD is the founder of MedInContext, a medical affairs strategy consultant for biotech startups. Employed full-time in Germany with a pharmaceutical company, she decided to return to New Haven, where she had lived in the past, to grow her business.

Charlie O’Connell, founder & CEO at Fitscript, LLC launched the first digital exercise solution for people living with diabetes, GlucoseZone™ in January 2018. In February, the company received a patent and has since hired 8 new employees and raised $4.5 million in Series-A funding.

We spent some time getting to know each of these innovators and their stories of putting down roots in the Elm City.

Q: Why have you chosen New Haven as the home base for your company?

A: Erika Smith: When we were starting ReNetX Bio, Inc., there was no doubt we wanted to have the headquarters in New Haven. I love the city. The restaurants, the people are vibrant.
For us, being close to Yale is so important –– our faculty founder works at the medical school. And Boston and NYC are just a train ride away.

A: Susanne Radke: To be honest, New Haven is very similar to the north of Germany where I am from. It’s probably why it felt like home when I moved back here. Now, this is where my community is and I can see a lot of opportunity here. The incubator spaces and shared offices provide a great platform to meet with other startups and motivated innovative entrepreneurs. I can see New Haven emerging as an entrepreneur’s hub with an effective network, tools and experienced partners right on site.

A: Charlie O’Connell: I believe New Haven is ideally located and poised for our company to participate in the global economy. The combination of access to international travel, major centers of business, high quality living and social opportunities, great food and universities make New Haven an up-and-coming location that I, my wife and young family are happy and excited to be a part of.

Q: Where is your office located? Describe your commute and office environment.

A: Erika Smith: As everyone heads into the city and waits in traffic, I’m headed in the opposite direction to New Haven from Westport. The ReNetX Bio, Inc. team works in the Regus Center on the 19th floor. It’s right in heart of the city and has a beautiful view of the water. We love all of their resources: conference rooms, printers, kitchen and the flexibility of office space. It was important to us to have an ecosystem of CEO meetups for biotech + tech groups, and Regus has been perfect for that.

A: Susanne Radke: I live in Hamden and work at The District. It’s only about a 15-minute commute. The District office environment is in the making, and so far it’s great. Everybody is very professional, driven and fun at the same time. Because there is a social aspect of working at a co-working space, I’ve been able to get to know some really amazing professionals who inspire me every day.

A: Charlie O’Connell: We are located at 5 Science Park. Luckily, I live in the East Rock neighborhood, and I can walk to work if I choose, or have less than a five minute drive to work.

 Q: Describe a recent networking event you attended in New Haven. How was it helpful?

A: Erika Smith: Connecticut Innovations hosted a Women CEO meeting at the penthouse space at The Study [at Yale Hotel] downtown. There were amazing women speakers who shared their own professional journey, including Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud, CEO of Cadenza Innovation, Inc. CT Innovations went above and beyond to recognize female leadership, and connected me with a strong network of impressive women based in the city.

A: Charlie O’Connell: I recently attended a ”Meet the Founders” luncheon hosted by ECIC for CT Next (a funding source for companies in CT that we have benefited from) at a new Vietnamese restaurant on the Ninth Square. The food was great, and I met several fellow entrepreneurs doing really cool things, all based in New Haven. We are also members of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, which has been a fantastic resource for us in terms of business opportunities, finding partners, and generally being aware of important trends and events happening in the greater New Haven area. I think we are just at the beginning of New Haven coming into its own and being a really great place to live, grow a business, and raise a family. It’s really exciting.

A: Susanne Radke: The Bioscience Clubhouse CT invites science-based companies to meet once a month at BAR on Tuesdays from 4:30-6 p.m. It’s an investment, but it has been really valuable for connecting with new and potential clients in the field. What I’ve noticed in New Haven is that once you have an established relationship, it lives on. Boston and San Francisco are great, of course, and I see us moving in that direction as the network grows. Meanwhile, what I’ve been able to build here is really sustaining me.

Q: Describe a perfect Thursday in New Haven for you.

A: Charlie O’Connell: A perfect Thursday in New Haven for me would start off with a jog up to the top of East Rock park, followed by grabbing coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops. Then I would go home, spend some time with my young kids and wife before getting to work. Our business is fairly unique in that we broadcast globally live and interactive multimedia videos every Thursday night, so I would be at work fairly late that night. The perfect end to a Thursday in New Haven would probably be picking up food at a favorite quick local restaurant (I have been into Pitaziki lately!) and then home to be with my wife and kids.

Q: What do you love most about the community?

A: Erika Smith: The restaurants are phenomenal. There’s a diversity here, an eclectic community with an international flavor that really comes through. It’s not all one look, or all one taste. It’s international community is such an important part of what makes New Haven unique.

Q: What is something you wish other entrepreneurs knew about New Haven?

A: Susanne Radke: New Haven offers room for growth. You can be a stand-out, the first in your field working in a particular area, whereas in other markets that are fairly saturated it might be harder for your business to capture attention. New Haven is moving. There’s great opportunity to jump on the train and start building something. This city has ambition.

Copyright ©2018 Elm City Innovation Collaborative • PO Box 1576 • New Haven, Connecticut • 203-809-9340 or 203-785-1000 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Join Our Email List