Canvas Co/work announced today that it has been acquired by HZDG, a design firm based in Rockville, for an undisclosed amount. As part of the move, HZDG will take up 14 spaces in the Dupont Circle coworking space.
Canvas Co/work helped pioneer coworking in D.C., but had to reinvent itself to remain relevant, said nvite CEO Marty Ringlein, who cofounded Canvas in October 2011 with Alex Girón. “Things have changed a lot in a few years,” he said.
"Not only is it great for our existing team to have a place downtown, but we also know we'll attract new creative talent with this opportunity."
After 1776 opened up in February 2013, new UberOffices and WeWork branches began popping up left and right. The 6,000 square feet of shared office space at Canvas began to appear quaint in comparison with those growing networks. “Coworking has just exploded and we saw that the need was no longer there,” said Ringlein.
Though Ringlein decided to step out, the acquisition of Canvas, he stressed, does not presage a looming shutdown. In December, Affinity Lab, another legacy coworking space in D.C., disintegrated when it was evicted less than two weeks after finalizing an acquisition deal. A group of Affinity Lab faithfuls have created an informal “Lab 2.0” at the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory.
On the contrary, Ringlein said the acquisition might lead to an expansion.
No current Canvas members will be pushed out, he added; HZDG will occupy free spots left by the usual lull in membership leading to SXSW. “They have the resources and the focus to push Canvas forward,” he said. Ringlein also believes the presence of the design firm will jibe well with Canvas Co/work’s community of creative freelancers who are often on the lookout for new assignments.
The deal began with HZDG’s interest in creating a presence inside the Beltway. “Not only is it great for our existing team to have a place downtown, but we also know we’ll attract new creative talent with this opportunity,” said the HZDG President Karen Zuckerman in a statement.