Betamore, the new Federal Hill coworking and community education space slated to open in late September, will now open Oct. 2, said co-founder Mike Brenner at Tuesday night’s conversation on coworking at the Windup Space in Station North. The space had been planned to be open this month, but construction delays have set it back, he has said.
The event was sponsored by D center Baltimore, a Station North-based nonprofit that holds the monthly conversations about design on different topics. Tuesday’s conversation was based around the evolution of coworking in Baltimore.
“It’s not an ‘if you build it, they will come’ type of business,” said Brenner . “You have to be a community organizer.”
Brenner would know. In 2008, along with Dave Troy of 410 Labs and Mike Subelsky, he was a founding member in the Beehive Baltimore, the coworking space inside the Emerging Technology Center in Canton, which has, as of late, somewhat fallen off, Brenner said. While coworking spaces are typically run as nonprofits — for the love of working among people, rather than turning a profit — Betamore is for-profit, and Brenner said he and partners Greg Cangialosi and Sean Lane “want to create a sustainable business.”
[Full disclosure: Brenner is a partner with Technically Baltimore, which will have desk space inside Betamore.]
Betamore offers dedicated and community memberships for $400 per month per employee and $200 per month, respectively. But the crux of the facility is the 50-plus-person classroom, where individual classes and multi-class courses will be held. These classes, open to anyone in Baltimore city, will be taught by industry experts and Betamore members. Classes cost between $30 and $200, while courses comprising six classes or more will cost between $900 and $2,000 and will be Betamore-certified using Mozilla’s Open Badges platform.
“We want to create a curriculum that someone can follow,” Brenner said about offering courses as opposed to one-off classes. He also said one of the facility’s first hires will be a community manager to facilitate scheduling of classes and oversee the space.
Other coworking spaces, including Capital Studios and the new 716 Broadway building in Fells Point, have similar membership plans. Membership to Betamore is contingent on an application process, however, and only about eight to 12 startups will be admitted as the first group of dedicated members. These startups will almost exclusively be working on web and mobile products and need to leave Betamore within 18 months.
Brenner said he and his co-founders will measure the success of Betamore in two ways: the number of companies coming out of Betamore that receive capital funding, and the number of people taking classes who then obtain employment as a result.
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