What is a Coworking Space?

Aug 22, 2016

A growing number of companies in the startup scene around Atlanta are ditching traditional offices for coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are shared spaces for businesses and startups with varying needs to work alongside each other.

The offerings range from individual desk space to office space for a few dozen working on a fast-growing startup.

I went first to Strongbox West on the Westside, Atlanta’s oldest and one of the largest coworking spaces.

As you walk in the door, a “Danger” sign warns of ninjas, pirates and lasers ahead.

Stepping inside, there are no lasers, but 48,000 square feet of shared table space, eclectic-colored private offices, and Amy Hoover.

She started Strongbox West and says coworking spaces are less expensive for those starting a business.

"It’s a low-cost entry point to have an office for a startup or even a freelancer where you have shared resources."

Atlanta has over 450,000 square feet of coworking spaces, each with their own focus.

There’s popular tech hubs like Tech Square and Atlanta Tech Village, Foster, a space for creative and Switchyards, which focuses solely on business to consumer startups.

Hoover says Strongbox West’s focus is on filling the space with good companies.

"It’s very large so we can accommodate a lot of different types of companies and people. We don’t try to have one specific niche or focus."

The entrance to Industrious Office in Ponce City Market
Credit Jonathan Phillips

Above the food hall and trendy shops of Ponce City Market, the eighth floor has been reimagined into Industrious Office.

Floor to ceiling glass walls divide the offices, modern furniture fills the giant shared space and a view of the Beltline makes for a slightly different vibe than Strongbox.

The community manager at Industrious, Lexi Irvin, points out the reimagined space on Ponce has drawn all types of companies to cowork.

"We have companies like Pinterest and Instacart, we have a company called Cloud Tags which is retail tech all the way to three mortgage companies here, we have attorneys, we have real estate."

With over dozens and dozens of coworking spaces around the city, collaboration and coworking are helping Atlanta’s startup ecosystem constantly grow.

For Shantel Khleif, who runs boutique social media agency Imagine Media Consulting out of Industrious, the collaboration and environment pushes her team to always do better.

"Truthfully, seeing other entrepreneurs working just as hard, there’s a certain energy to that too."