Starter Space, an organization that provides collaborative work space for Gainesville’s innovators, artists, and early-stage entrepreneurs, will be the newest constituent of the growing Innovation Square area between University of Florida campus and downtown Gainesville. The company will neighbor Parisleaf and Fracture in a newly renovated commercial building just steps from the new Nimbus office building and UF’s Innovation Hub.
“Our number one focus is the community aspect, and creating something that’s more than just an office,” said Quang Tran, who co-founded Starter Space with Payal Khurana. Tran mentioned the two were attracted to the modern designs and amenities of the new Gainesville office space as well as the vision behind Innovation Square. “With other successful, like-minded companies as neighbors, it seems like we all really have something to build around.”
Previously located in the Firestone building in downtown Gainesville, the historic building became too small for its growing tenants, Starter Space and neighbor SharpSpring. SharpSpring will take over the lease for the entire building with Starter Space’s relocation to Innovation Square.
“I’m excited that Starter Space is in our town and that we were able to work with them while they were first getting started,” said Phoebe Miles, owner of the historic Firestone building and founder, President, and CEO of the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. Miles, whose family’s involvement in Gainesville’s entrepreneurial community goes back to her grandfather’s invention of Gatorade, has collaborated with both companies and has spoken at past Starter Space events. “We’re really seeing a beautiful symmetry here.”
The relocation also puts Starter Space just a couple of blocks from UF’s Infinity Hall, where its student focused community organization, Launch Pad, assists with the mentorship and development of University of Florida’s student entrepreneurs.
“We wanted not only an office space, but an environment around us that matched what was in that office space,” Tran said on the relocation to Innovation Square.
Starter Space’s new 2000 square-foot building, owned and managed by Trimark Properties, is one of a growing number of revamped commercial properties accommodating the influx of companies moving to Innovation Square. The newly renovated space will include a large communal area that encourages collaboration between members, a large conference room, and three offices for private meetings and conversations. The modern industrial design of the new office space also incorporates exposed 16-foot-tall ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
“We are extremely excited, and moreover privileged, to be working with Starter Space,” said Trimark Properties managing partner John Fleming. “The expertise that [co-founders] Quang and Payal possess is a major part of Gainesville’s future. Innovation should be a top priority for every company, industry, and public institution, and Starter Space brings that excitement and thirst for knowledge to the startup community.”
The relocation of Starter Space is a testament to the company’s growing footprint on Gainesville’s entrepreneurial development. It is also a step forward for the reputation of Innovation Square, and Gainesville as a whole. Fleming also expressed eagerness in bringing Gainesville from a “College Town” to a “University City”, a goal shared with others involved in the local entrepreneurial community, Starter Space included.
“Of course, you can work alone,” said Tran. “But we are more interested in working collectively, integrating students and young professionals, and creating a destination here.”
Starter Space has begun moving into their new location. Their first Gainesville Tech event is scheduled for the week of November 16th, with a grand opening following in early December.