Company Culture

Chicago’s Industrious to open massive Philly coworking space, then another

The venture-backed Industrious plans to launch in Center City and Old City. Entering the Philadelphia market is part of an aggressive rollout strategy for the company, which caters to both freelancers and growing startups.

Industrious, a Chicago-based coworking space cofounded by two New York City entrepreneurs, will become the coworking space with the biggest Philadelphia footprint this winter.

Industrious plans to open a two-floor, 20,000-square-foot shared office space in Center City (the 17th and 18th floors of 230 S. Broad St.) in November. It also plans to open another 20,000-square-foot space in Old City in December, said Industrious cofounder Jamie Hodari.

Industrious is still finalizing lease details on the Old City building and could not share the address, he said. If those two spaces open, it will make Industrious the first Philadelphia coworking space with two locations.

Why secure another space before even opening a first?

The demand for this kind of flexible, community-oriented office space in Philadelphia is real, said Hodari, 32, of Brooklyn.

“We couldn’t be responsive to the demand with just one space,” he told Philly in an interview this week.

Industrious is the second large-scale, shared office space to announce a Philadelphia expansion. A company from Miami called Pipeline announced it would open a 21,000-square-foot space in Center City this fall. These efforts dwarf the homegrown options, like Center City’s Benjamin’s Desk (6,000 square feet) and Callowhill’s Venturef0rth (10,000 square feet). Only Kensington’s Impact Hub comes close in size (27,000 square feet).


Industrious’s Chicago location. (Photo courtesy of Horn Design)

Industrious offers a shared office environment that’s a little more corporate than what Hodari calls your average startup incubator (there won’t be any ping-pong tables or bean-bag chairs, he said) but less buttoned-up than your average office park. It’s something in between, Hodari said.

Catering to national tech companies that want satellite offices in several cities and startups that have outgrown their first incubator, Industrious Philly will have communal space but also a focus on private offices.

That’s similar to Industrious in Chicago, where one-third of its roughly 60 company tenants are early-stage startups, one-third are local offices of national firms (which Hodari wouldn’t disclose) and one-third are design firms and later-stage startups.

After launching in Chicago in the summer of 2013, Industrious is planning an aggressive rollout strategy in the next six months. (Industrious first launched in Chicago, not the founders’ hometown of Brooklyn, because New York City is a “cutthroat” place for business with “no margin for error,” Hodari said.) It’ll launch in its second market, Atlanta, within the next month. Philadelphia, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Raleigh, Austin and Nashville are next.

The idea, Hodari said, is that people who have started an office space like this in one city know the ropes and won’t make the same mistakes again. Industrious’s model also involves partnering with national tech companies who will open offices in many of its locations.

“There are a lot of advantages to being part of a larger, national network,” he said.

Industrious is closing a round of venture funding. It has previously raised two rounds from angels and family and friends.

The company will being offering tours and accepting tenants to its Broad Street location next month. Hodari said his team is still finalizing prices but that they will be “competitive.”

Reserve a space

While Industrious is working with a local architecture firm and a local construction group to build out the spaces, it is not working with a local real estate developer. (Miami’s Pipeline is partnering with developer David Grasso.) Industrious plans to hire a community manager. See the Craigslist posting here.

When asked if he thought there was a demand for shared office spaces, Hodari said, unequivocally, yes. That’s not the question, he said. The real question is who will prosper.

“There might be a lot of competition,” he said.

Companies: Industrious

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