A new coworking community has moved into town.
Launch Pad, a New Orleans-based company with offices in Nashville and Newark, New Jersey, opened a Memphis coworking lab in October 2018.
Launch Pad CEO Chris Schultz said the rich history, dynamic entrepreneurial movement and the millennial-friendly market made Memphis a perfect fit.
The collaborative workspaces are spread over 13,000 square feet in the Toyota Center in Downtown Memphis.
Launch Pad held several community events leading up to the opening in October. (Submitted)
The increase in popularity of collaborative consumption, or the collective sharing of skills, resources and ideas among peers, is a global trend Epicenter president Leslie Smith is glad to see in Memphis.
“The demand and need for these types of flexible spaces is growing, which is why we're seeing new entrants into the market. For instance, we've added something like 25 new members over the last several months, which is a pace far faster than anything we've seen historically,” she said of Epicenter's physical coworking location in Cooper-Young.
“With every new space that enters the market, we're more excited to see that there's a recognized opportunity for coworking to thrive and be successful here. But also just a growing community of folks that are engaging in those types of spaces.”
Epicenter changed the name of the Midtown coworking space (formerly known as Cowork Memphis) to show the nonprofit’s expanded efforts to support Mid-South entrepreneurs.
“The name shift away from being singularly focused on coworking was just in recognition of our broader mission to create this movement here locally," Smith added.
The local movement shows no signs slowing down with new coworking spaces opening around the city over the past several years.
Eric Clausen, Nick Peña and Cat Peña opened Wonder / Cowork / Create in September 2018, several months after hearing about the vacant space at the corner of Danny Thomas and Monroe across from the old Wonder Bread Factory. Through a grant from Memphis Medical District Collaborative and support from the Downtown Memphis Commission, the co-founders launched a coworking community “for creatives, by creatives.”
Clausen said the focus groups they conducted with industry peers including artists, illustrators, designers and freelancers informed how they adapted the building, set rates and built an operational schedule.
Wonder / Cowork / Create co-founder Nick Peña at the Edge District space. (Submitted)
The layout of the 3,000-square-foot facility includes communal and private workspaces, meeting rooms and event space. Members and non-members have hosted meetups, movie screenings and music and art shows since the opening.
Cat Peña said connecting the Memphis creative network is a significant element of their mission, with professional development programs and pop-up shops on the horizon.
“Coworking is very much about community building and the synthesizing of ideas when you work amongst other people taking on a project. It's not just for people who can't afford their own office," she added.
Monday through Thursday | 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (free coworking)
$10 for daily membership
$35 per month for non-dedicated desk
$175 per month for dedicated desk
Private workspace starting at $350
340B Monroe Avenue (Edge District)
The Cossitt Branch of Memphis Public Libraries is closed for renovation, but when it opens in 2019, Memphians will have access to a public space intentionally designed to incorporate amenities that accommodate the sharing economy workforce.
“We've got a range of MacBooks, Chromebooks, tablets, Adobe Creative Suite that people will have access to. We've got the studio space, all of the equipment — hardware, software that you would need to do podcasting, indie albums, voiceovers,” said Cossitt branch manager Shamichael Hallman.
Patrons will also have opportunities to engage in a variety of learning programs. The city secured funding to launch new programs, an innovators-in-residence series and a community-driven program, both of which will feature experts from various industries teaching practical learning classes.
“We invite the community to bring their passion and skills and talents to the library to share with other people," Hallman added.
Opening scheduled for Spring 2019
33 South Front Street (Downtown)
Jake Meeks was a Studio688 coworker for two years before he became the building's co-owner with his wife Emily in early 2018.
“[The previous owner] ran it for five or six years and then just got too busy to keep it going,” Jake Meeks said.
The conference room of Studio688. (Submitted)They decided that in addition to day-to-day coworking, he and his wife would focus more on renting out the 1,000-square-foot event space located in the rear of the building. They rent to a diverse coworking community that includes bloggers, photographers, videographers, a fashion designer and remote employees of large corporation. Renters have used the space for receptions, retreats, weddings, a photography studio, concert venue and workshop facility.
Coworkers have 24/7 access to the building unless there is a private event
$300 monthly for coworking
$450 to $1,200 for facilty rental
$50 per hour (with a two-hour minimum) for photoshoot/rehearsal space rental
688 South Cox Street (Midtown)
Emerge Memphis is a technology business incubator that launched in the South Main District in 1999. When CEO Carlton Crothers came to Emerge in 2013, he recognized that coworking was an emerging avenue as several individual entrepreneurs inquired about workspace.
He started CoWork@Emerge with six desks in a 600-square-foot suite. He said tech startup owners’ needs quickly outgrew the space so Emerge upgraded the coworking area to 2,200square feet and 55 individual and communal desks and sofas.
Now, CoWork@Emerge has a variety of offices, executive suites and incomparable enterprise-class Internet speeds that, Crothers says, are likely not available anywhere else.
24/7 access or daytime business hours, depending on the package
$125 to $175 per month for coworking
516 Tennessee Street (Downtown)
Southern Station opened in the southeast corner of the Collierville Town Square in May, and already half of the 29 coworking spaces are occupied in the 9,000-square-foot building.
“I see a need nationally for coworking space. The way commercial real estate has changed over the last 20 years, I believe this is probably the way of the future,” said Curt Vaughn, the real estate broker and property manager for Southern Station.
Vaughn is a convert to the coworking model. He moved his real estate appraisal firm out of a traditional office building (its location for the past 18 years) and into Southern Station as a tenant.
Not all coworking spaces are in urban areas. Southern Station is based in Collierville.
He said his goal is to fill a void in Collierville and help activate the Square, which is home to retail shops, restaurants and several locally-owned businesses.
24/7 access to tenants
$350 to $2,500 per month
140 South Main Street (Collierville)
The Fruition Complex, located on the fifth floor of the Clark Tower office building in East Memphis, advertises itself as a coworking and support space for women-owned businesses. In addition to work spaces, members have access to administrative and marketing support. The Fruition Complex covers 2,273 square feet and is soon expanding to 1,600 square feet to bring on additional clients and create space for a private meeting room.
Monday through Friday | 9 to 5 p.m.
Saturday | 9 to 2 p.m.
$50 to $110 for daily membership
$375 to $825 per month for dedicated office space
5100 Poplar Avenue, Suite 525 (East Memphis)
Schultz said working with Memphis entrepreneurs is just as important as supporting them with coworking options. Launch Pad Memphis has an open call for local artists to work on paid art and design projects within the Memphis office.
The interior of Launch Pad in Downtown Memphis. (Submitted)
Coworkers: Monday through Friday | 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Dedicated desk and private office members | 24/7 access
$250 per month for coworking (with a month-to-month agreement that requires 30-day termination notice)
$450 per month for dedicated desks (with a deposit equal to one month's rent and a six-month or one-year lease that requires 30-day termination notice)
$800 to $2,200 per month for private offices (with a deposit equal to one month's rent and a six-month or one-year lease)
175 Toyota Plaza, Suite 350 (Downtown)
Epicenter recently announced that it reached a $40 million fundraising goal, which will further their support of Memphis' entrepreneur ecosystem. Smith said because of the funding, Memphians can expect to see a “rapid scaling of programs that have been in pilot or prototype over the last several years,” such as in-residence and fellowship programs for early and mid-career entrepreneurs, and original content that centers around the celebration of entrepreneurs, like the new GRINDSET podcast. The Midtown coworking space offers daily memberships and varying scales of non-dedicated desk (also known as hot desk) memberships.
HoursThe interior of Epicenter Memphis, a coworking lab operated by nonprofit Epicenter, which assists entrepreneurs with resources and capital.
Day membership: Monday through Friday | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hot desk: Monday through Friday | 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hot desk night owl: Monday through Friday | 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Hot desk flex: 24/7 access
Epicenter partners and program graduates: 24/7 access
$15 for day membership
$150 per month for hot desk membership
$75 per month for hot desk night owl membership
$200 per month for hot desk flex membership
No regular fee for Epicenter partners and program graduates
902 South Cooper Street (Cooper-Young)