River City Labs, the Brisbane-based co-working community and startup hub founded by Shark Tank Australia judge Steve Baxter, is moving to one of Fortitude Valley’s most famous sites, the century-old heritage-listed TCB building, and plans to double in size to 200 members in the next six months.
Steve Baxter says the move is “the natural, next step” to take for the business, which started in 2012.
“This initial aim to double in size is just the beginning – there is up to 10,500m of space available if we move into this new location, and there is absolutely nothing to say that we won’t in time come to occupy all of it,” he says.
River City Labs is expected to sign up for 1500 sq metres in January.
The Valley, as locals call it, is already building a reputation as a tech hub, which makes the new location perfect for River City Labs, according to general manager Peta Ellis.
“There are countless numbers of established companies that have set up here – Orange Digital, Technology One, Uber, Tanda, Tappr, CTO for QLD Health, TrekTraka, Defiant Games, Cohort Solutions, CloudMGR, AECO and Black Sheep Capital – and there is a huge benefit to this concentration of startup activity, where essentially, River City Labs plays a vital, supporting role,” she said.
Many believe the Australian startup scene lacks a centralised community, including director of Spike Innovation and project director of the Startup Catalyst Program, Colin Kinner.
“The startup ecosystems in most Australian cities suffer from fragmentation and lack of scale, and Brisbane is no different,” he said.
“I think doubling the size of River City Labs is a great step towards addressing these limitations and is fantastic news for the local startup community.”
The news comes as Atlassian missed out on turning Sydney’s Australian Technology Park into a similarly styled venue after the the NSW government sold the 14ha site for $263 million to a consortium led by Mirvac and the Commonwealth Bank.
The move into Fortitude Valley has the potential to kickstart Brisbane’s tech scene through clustering.
“The benefit of having a large single space is that you can attract things you otherwise wouldn’t attract, and you can share things you otherwise wouldn’t share,” Murray Hurps, general manager of startup space Fishburners told Business Insider.
“So you get something for nothing just by having that concentration of startups.”
It’s also a big reason behind Silicon Valley’s success. Read more about that here.
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