Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

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Joe Downtown: Startups sharing offices, skills, ideas

On a tiny slice of street in downtown Las Vegas, in an area south of Charleston Boulevard between Las Vegas Boulevard and Maryland Parkway, startup companies are sharing homes and each other’s technical skills.

The homes currently number about six, said Fodé, a Senegal-born cinematographer and programmer who co-founded, an advertising startup.

“I think what’s going to happen is, you’ll see the whole block full of startups,” said Fodé, who has an office in downtown’s Emergency Arts building but also works out of a home with two to three other startups near Eighth Street and Franklin Avenue.

Working in the homes is advantageous, he said, because entrepreneurs can bounce ideas off each other. They aren’t competing against each other but rather are seeking their own niche in the booming applications arena.

Many are startups drawn to Las Vegas by the Vegas Tech Fund, a venture capital group that invests only in tech startups whose business plans include how they will contribute to the downtown community while also making profits. These small collectives are independent of the Downtown Project or other formalized redevelopment efforts, even though some of the startups began their companies living and working out of the Ogden.

“People get tired of working where they live,” Fodé said.

More co-working spaces on the way

Meanwhile, a company called Work in Progress, funded partly by Downtown Project, is creating five different co-working offices throughout downtown. Zach Ware is one of the company’s founders; he is also in charge of preparing City Hall for the migration of more than 1,000 Zappos employees from Henderson in September.

The first co-working space will open in February, closer to Fremont East at 317 S. Sixth St.

For $50 a month, interested parties can rent communal desks, meeting rooms and tools, including Wi-Fi, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in any of the Work in Progress offices. For an additional cost, which will vary by space, members will have 24/7 access and rent a particular desk.

On his Work in Progress blog, Ware describes co-working space as a place that “connects people and ideas to spaces and experiences. We build spaces and experiences that help people connect with each other and discover new ways to build amazing things.”

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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