It could be the most illustrative example of co-working yet: Technology incubator 1313 Innovation has joined forces with Philly-based Benjamin’s Desk as its operating partner.
The new facility will be known as 1313 Innovation Powered by Benjamin’s Desk.
Benjamin’s Desk Co-Founder Anthony Maher said he was taken with 1313 Innovation’s intentional approach to being more than a office space for entrepreneurs and tech innovators. He said the partnership will enhance their shared strategy: An in-house resource to maximize outcomes for co-working members.
“Their intention was always community based,” said Maher, who added that he met with 1313 Innovation founder Paul McConnell before 1313’s launch, and has followed them ever since. “We knew early on that our values aligned and they were doing the right thing. When we did research on the team and examined what they looked like in the market, we saw good things. That really sold us.”
1313 Innovation already houses private office suites, co-working desks, meeting rooms, and fabrication facilities at Hercules Plaza. Fully renovated in 2013, the office tower is a premier Class A multi-tenant facility and home to many prominent regional and international businesses.
Open since 2014, 1313 expanded its co-working space earlier this year to 10,000 square feet, creating a “quiet space” for members, an alternative to the open spaces and meeting rooms.
In addition to facilitating member services, Benjamin’s Desk will create and host workshops, programs and professional development resources for this community. Existing 1313 Innovation team members will remain on site, and will collaborate with the broader Benjamin’s Desk network on regional programming and development initiatives, according to Lauren Spinelli, director of operations and marketing at 1313.
“Our objectives and goals are really in line with each other,” said Spinelli. “We’re more than just office space.”
According to Maher, the co-working concept has moved from the creating of a “sexy space for entrepreneurs” to community-based co-working that includes measurable incubation.
That means an onboarding process for new members to identify their goals, top-line revenue and funding sources to generate a customized and scalable program, said Maher.
“It’s about function and engagement,” said Maher. “How well do we know our members and what they’re trying to solve?
“We’re trying to become much more than a co-working space,” he said. “We’re growing into an incubation engine where entrepreneurs can thrive with support from experienced mentors and with access to real resources.”
According to its website, Benjamin’s Desk provides mobile professionals, consultants, entrepreneurs and startups across a range of industries with more than just office space. Members are given access to capital resources, economic partners, high-profile networking events, and more — all with the explicit goal of helping them grow.
1313 Innovation co-working members will enjoy reciprocal access to facilities and services at other Benjamin’s Desk locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, including mentorship and benefits from corporate sponsors that include Comcast Business, Pepper Hamilton, GMS Surgent, TriNet, Professional Planning Associates and 2820 Press.
On Jan. 15, both teams will open up slack channels, a collaboration tool, for members.
“So then if you’re at 1701 Walnut [Benjamin’s Desk lab space] or 1313 Innovation and you’re looking for go-to market strategy, you can say, ‘let’s get on Skype and talk it through.’”
Maher said he also looks forward to working with 1313 Innovation founder Paul McConnell, who announced the partnership in a video screened for attendees of the recent Tech2Gether technology conference at World Cafe Live at The Queen.
“Since our inception, we’ve been at the forefront of developing educational programs and fostering economic development in Wilmington. The ability to cross-pollinate with Benjamin’s Desk will open new doors, provide an expansive community for our entrepreneurs and really tie everything together,” said McConnell.
1313 Innovation powered by Benjamin’s Desk offers four core membership opportunities for entrepreneurs and enterprise partners:
The Network — A membership program that includes occasional use of common space and access to special events, professional development courses, and business incubation services.
Part-Time — Flexible access to shared desks and conference rooms for professionals requiring presence in targeted geographic areas.
Full-Time — Around-the-clock access to Benjamin’s Desk facilities, including the option for dedicated desks and virtual office solutions.
Private Offices —Short term, flexible leases for early-stage startup companies and others.