Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
March 18, 2020 | Tom Ballard

One Knoxville co-working site expands, another preparing to open in West Knoxville

One of Knoxville’s oldest co-working spaces has expanded, a new one is preparing to enter the market, and several others continue to execute methodically on their plans.

UpStart Knoxville, the brainchild of Jeff Gotcher and Michael Goldsborough, has expanded recently to about 7,400 square feet while also morphing into more of an incubator, according to the two Co-Founders. Meanwhile, Nashville-based E|SPACES is preparing to add a Knoxville location to five existing facilities – one each in Chattanooga and Orlando and three in the Nashville area with more planned.

In addition, three other Knoxville co-working spaces that we have previously spotlighted in teknovation.bizGirl Boss Offices, Sky City Entrepreneur Center, and CoWorking Knoxville – continue to market their spaces to potential users.

Launched by Gotcher, Goldsborough and their founding tenants in early 2017, UpStart Knoxville has grown from its initial 900 square feet at 110 Center Park Drive to 2,700 square feet by the time they decided to relocated in September 2018. The new location at 408 North Cedar Bluff Road, Suite 140, provided about 5,600 square feet.

Now, because of the growth of the start-ups that were part of the founding group, Gotcher and Goldsborough have moved out of the existing suite to allow companies like Reviewbox and Entreos to expand. UpStart Knoxville is now on the second floor, bringing the total square footage to 7,400, more than eight times the co-working space that was available a little more than three years ago.

And, that growth does not reflect an anchor tenant that has moved into its own space on the third floor of the building. That is Tommy Nguyen and StoragePug, winner of the “Judge’s Choice” award, as determined by a three-person panel, and the “Crowd Favorite” award, as voted by the fans, at the September 2018 “Startup Day Knoxville” event.

“Tommy has left the nest,” Gotcher says, something that he and Goldsborough celebrate as the company helping small self-storage operators continues its growth. “We are focused on the (UpStart Knoxville) community. Our singular goal is to help them grow their businesses.”

What has been a key to the success of these start-ups and the expansion of UpStart Knoxville?

“We believe having all of the community (of entrepreneurs) together led to their growth,” Gotcher says. “They are all a bunch of go-getters.”

The new second floor suite is home to the start-up activities of Gotcher and Goldsborough as well as UpStart Knoxville’s dedicated cubes (see photo at left) and a community table for day raters (see photo at right). When we stopped in for a visit recently, UpStart Knoxville had two dedicated cubes available at $250 a month and about six or seven day rates spaces available for $10 a day or $150 a month.

“We’re very comfortable with where we are with UpStart,” Gotcher says, noting that he and Goldsborough bear all the financial risk for the space.

We also checked in with Erika Biddix, Founder of Girl Boss Offices. “Things are going great – and yes, we are mostly full,” she says. “Because the women sign contracts of varying lengths, it really depends on the month. But right now, we do have some assigned seating availability, and the private and shared offices have waitlists.”

As far as CoWorking Knoxville, Frank Ramey says the tenant occupancy continues to grow and, in anticipation of that demand, the parking area is being expanded to accommodate 40 vehicles (up from 19).

“I don’t think we’ll hit peak capacity until the end of this year, but happy if we do, sooner,” he said. “The main thread of member commonality so far is that most are service-based businesses” like bookkeepers and marketers.

The Sky City facility also has dedicated offices, dedicated desks and day spaces available.

Speaking of the forthcoming E|SPACES location in Knoxville, the sign is up on the building at Western Plaza where the upscale co-working site will be housed (see first photo below). We had a chance last year to tour the E|SPACES site in Downtown Franklin, and several photos from that visit are spotlighted below showing community work spaces, the break areas, and private offices.