Balancing Startups and Service Providers in a Coworking Space

Community support and interest has been amazing at the Atlanta Tech Village. As expected, startups and service providers have enthusiastically wanted to join. One of the items we’ve been trying to figure out is the right balance between startups and service providers renting desks in the coworking space.

We already have five categories of full-time members:

  • Tech companies (headquartered in a different city or another part of Atlanta)
  • Tech startups
  • Independent freelancers (software engineers, graphic designers, consultants, etc)
  • Investors including venture capitalists
  • Tech-related service providers

The current thinking is to have 80% of the members in the first four categories and 20% of the members in the tech-related service provider category. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue learning and figuring things out.

What else? What are your thoughts on the balance between startups and service providers in a coworking space?

3 thoughts on “Balancing Startups and Service Providers in a Coworking Space

  1. First, I think the service providers need to be hand-picked. There are plenty of potentially bad actors (wolves) that need to be kept out of the henhouse.

    In particular, and this may be harsh, I don’t see ANY place for recruiters in such an ecosystem. Recruiters are pretty reliable – when you need them, they have a habit of calling back, because they want to claim that 20% of 1st year salary by placing candidates with companies. Most seed stage companies shouldn’t be paying this fee, and later stage companies can find recruiters when they need them.

    Furthermore, I’d be concerned about recruiters contributing to poaching, unless you get them explicitly under a no-poach deal. Startups are filled with smart people, often at below-market salary, and with many highs and lows. Putting recruiters in easy proximity to extract them doesn’t seem helpful to the community.

    Put more succinctly, the best early-stage recruiters I know can help without being in the building.

  2. Rob –
    Please keep in mind that recruiting firms begin as start-ups too. You’re right in that a technology recruiting firm’s ideal market isn’t seed stage companies, and I agree there are some smart people working in the ATV building. We are not actively pursuing companies or people working in the building as we understand this would create a tenuous relationship.

    The reasons we are in the building are similar to the other tech start-ups, tech companies, independent freelancers, investors, and service providers. We enjoy the energy and camaraderie the ATV brings. As Entrepreneurs, we enjoy working around fellow Entrepreneurs that we can learn from and grow with. These relationships benefit everyone who is open to them. We bring market knowledge, our network, and the same enthusiasm to the ecosystem as any other start-up company in this building.

    I agree with David, that we can’t have 100% of the building full of service providers. Perhaps with great foresight …the 90 day lease period benefits startups in another way, allowing for a quick exit of any “bad actors”.

    I know not all “recruiters” are like us, but we are hoping you will see the value in us working in this community as well.

    -Melissa

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