By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Like the entrepreneurs it serves, UpStart Knoxville is constantly changing with the ebb and flow of those who call it their work home.
We first spotlighted the co-working space in West Knoxville in this teknovation.biz post from last September. Several weeks ago, we visited with Jeff Gotcher, one of the two founders – the other is Michael Goldsborough.
“What has made this successful is our relationship with both our landlord and our tenants,” Gotcher says. “This is not a moneymaking venture but it satisfies a need. Michael and I knew we had to step up, so we did.”
The other key success factors are the nature of the tenants and the interaction that exists among those entrepreneurs.
“We are not WeWork,” Gotcher says. “You won’t find disco balls. We’re not in a high rise with floor to ceiling windows that overlook the city. UpStart has one focus, and that’s to push our companies forward.”
He also cites the evolution of the UpStart tenants.
“We have a number of growing companies here,” Gotcher says. “There’s no other self-sustaining space in the area that is tech-centric.”
“Jason has grown, James is growing again, and Tommy is on the verge of growing again,” Gotcher says. As a result, managing the fixed wall office spaces is always a challenge.
“We’ve plateaued in that regard,” Gotcher says of the assigned offices. “We have one space left.”
Where the opportunity exists for entrepreneurs to operate out of UpStart Knoxville is in the individual spaces that rent for $9 a day or $99 a month. Entrepreneurs can be in a focused environment and can feed off the energy of the UpStart members.
“We have room for six to eight more of these co-workers,” Gotcher says. “We’re focused on growing our co-working spots.”
UpStart Knoxville notes on its website that it “is not just a place to work. It is a place to connect with people that have the same aspirations, goals, and hunger for success. It is a place where you can come to learn, grow, and be held accountable.”
Not everyone who applies to join UpStart Knoxville is accepted. Gotcher says they’ve turned away several in the first less than a year of operation. So, what’s a good fit?
“Decision makers . . . those who sign the front of the check,” he explains, adding, “Growth-oriented companies in the tech space who bring something to the table. They provide value to other companies in the space, and other companies can provide value to them.”
Those wanting more information or interested in applying should visit the UpStart Knoxville webpage or reach out to them at 865-384-8803.