Plans are in the works to open an "entrepreneurial center of gravity" in the Midland Building at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Mulberry Street.
Geoff Wood, a local entrepreneur who serves as the chief operating officer of Startup Genome and founder of "Welch Avenue Show," a weekly webcast focused on startup news, announced a plan Wednesday to open the center. The center would serve as a coworking space for entrepreneurs and startup companies, as well as a space where established businesses could interact with local entrepreneurs.
Wood came up with the idea as a way to replace many of the functions that StartupCity Des Moines currently serves in the community. StartupCityannounced to The Des Moines Register last month that it will close its space on the fifth floor of 317 Sixth Ave. on Sept. 30.
StartupCity originally opened as a business incubator, but has turned into the equivalent of an entrepreneurial center, Wood said. The space houses a number of businesses that use it as a coworking space, and it also serves as a place for lunch and learns and other events for people in the startup community.
Wood doesn't want to lose those aspects of StartupCity, and is proposing to lease a 6,600-square-foot space in the building that will lease coworking space, offer day-to-day programming, events, and be a "physical door to the Des Moines startup community," Wood wrote in a blog post.
He also would like it to serve as a space where more established businesses can have teams of people work, to create synergies between entrepreneurs and established companies.
"I want (established companies) to be active members of the community, the tech startup community, in a way that maybe they have knowledge that will help with startups," Wood said. "Maybe the startups will have a different way of looking at a problem that will help them."
Plans to open the space aren't set in stone. Wood's business plan calls for entrepreneurs and startup companies to pay to be a part of the space. Wood said he has interest from a number of people and will start signing people up as soon as possible. He is in the process of looking at blueprints for the space and determining how much money residents will have to pay to make the business model work.
Wood is aiming to open the space by the fall to succeed StartupCity.