In Detroit, coworking spaces aim to bring startups together

Feb 25, 2014

Life for a startup company is tough.

But life for a startup in Detroit may be getting a little easier.

Coworking spaces are sprouting up around the city. They've become increasingly popular across the country in the wake of the recession, according to this video from office furniture company Turnstone: 

They're primarily geared toward specific industries: hackers, artists, designers, environmentalists, techies – whatever you are, or trying to be, there's a Detroit space where you can be among your kind.

Some of them run on the strength-in-numbers strategy: You rent a desk next to other entrepreneurs in your field.

Prices for that start around $30 a month at the aptly named An Office in Detroit. Others, like the arts and activism-focused PonyRide, offer studio space at just pennies per square foot. 

Still others say they do far more handholding, like NextEnergy.

The company aims to be part business “accelerator,” part mentor, and part Grand Central Station for “advanced energy” businesses in the Detroit metro area.

NextEnergy's Amanda Roraff says it's about getting connections for Detroit startups. 

"Maybe a small startup company, or an early-stage company, (connect) with an established company, and maybe the Department of Energy or the Department of Defense. And it's amazing what you can do when you bring all these parties together."

Roraff says NextEnergy measures its success in part by how much money companies bring in from state, federal, and private investment while it's working with NextEnergy.

"The companies we helped were able to secure, in new funding, $115 million, in that two-and-a-half year span."

Most of the coworking spaces appear geared toward tech companies.

At last count, more than a dozen total spaces were available in Detroit. You can check out a partial listing at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation