As a startup founder, not too many things are more important than where you and your team will spend most of their time building you world changing, billion dollar company. Before you receive an influx of cash and are able to have your own office space, the choices are basically 1) toughing it out in your home, 2) hopping between coffee shops or 3) spend an arm and a leg for office space in a place you really can’t afford.
Although starting a company today is quite a bit cheaper than it was 10 years ago, square foot for office space is not so much. It’s actually getting more expensive. And it sucks, especially for a young startup that is likely pre-funding and cannot afford much more than cloud hosting.
So what to do?
Well, I’m going SURFing. Since the beginning of the year, SURF Incubator has been quietly building a network of technology focused entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and corporate partners. On April 30th, the SURF community will come to life when it officially launches with fifteen incubating startups. I am proud to say Seconds is one of them, and very excited to be a part of this burgeoning startup community. Located directly downtown Seattle, this is perfect location for startups, as it’s 5 minute walk from Pioneer square, Westlake mall and a short bus ride to South Lake Union.
SURF has also been collaborating with various corporate partners to develop a robust benefits program to aid in the growth of our young companies. By leveraging the support of service providers and larger technology companies, SURF is able to provide opportunities that reduce the costs to start a technology company in Seattle. Bringing down the economic barriers associated with building a technology company has the potential to significantly advance the growth of Seattle’s startup community. SURF has already received applications from entrepreneurs located from Vancouver, BC to South America.
This is exactly what Seattle needed. There are a number of places for co-working and startup office space, but none that were this neutral and spoke with the most potent vision. Most other spaces are in connection to an accelerator, investment or other ties to companies and investors. Not SURF. Their vision is to provide cost effective space (over 15,000 square feet) for innovation and collaboration between tech startups and greatly impact the general startup scene.
It’s crazy because I had this idea last fall and wanted to organise a handful of startups to make it happen, which as I got further into the planning I realised it was a quite a bit larger undertaking than I had time for.
Thanks to the support of some of Seattle’s most respected technology companies and service providers, SURF Residents will not only benefit from subsidized office space, but they will also have access to a suite of free or significantly discounted services. One of the many benefits associated with building a startup at SURF are the free educational workshops provided by corporate partners – covering topics on company formation, intellectual property, fundraising, various programming languages and more.
The monthly SURF membership fee of $300/month per entrepreneur, which nicely suits early startups comprised of 2-4 founders. They even offer evening hours (which would be 5pm on) at $200 per month.
SURF and its network partners are making it dramatically less expensive to start a technology company in Seattle. I now know where I am spending most of my time!
Some of the other startups include:
Shopobot – tracks price changes at major online retailers. Using this data, Shopobot helps consumers get the best price on books, cameras, computers, and video games. Name your price, and we’ll alert you when it’s reached. Shop Shopping in the dark!
BBC Easy – dedicated to optimising the commercial lending process between banks and their borrowers.
Translational Software – simplifies the logistics of genetic testing and transforms test results into actionable guidance for doctors. The cost of molecular diagnostics is falling precipitously but genetic tests are not useful without interpretive information.
Knotis – helps consumers discover great deals from local merchants. Customers can find personalised, location-based offers – happening in real time.