Andrew Bushnell of Cospace Talks about Coworking in Austin
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah
What university did you go to?
I attended the University of Utah. I earned a B.S. In Finance in 2003
What brought you to Austin?
A combination of factors. I like that Austin is a small city. The talent that is in the city is also amazing, both in the tech and business areas. I love the entrepreneurial spirit that everyone has here. The lack of snow in the winter is also a huge plus for me, coming from Salt Lake.
What is the idea behind your startup?
Our idea was to take coworking, and expand on the idea. Coworking has become an acceptable form of working in the last couple of years, and we saw the benefits of it immediately. What we aim to do is make Cospace the intersection of people, space and resources. A person can come here and have the space they need to work effectively. That person will also have access to the resources he or she needs to grow as a professional, either through training classes, workshops, or, the most important part, the people around them.
What need does it fulfill?
We fill many needs. The most obvious is the need for space to work. We have a place that you can come to and know you will be able to get work done, and have the standard office resources you need to get that work done. If you need to meet with a client that day, we have space for that. You don't have to worry about who is around you, listening to your conversation, because we have private meeting rooms.
We also fill the need for interaction. Too many times I've heard people say they thought working at home or on their own would be wonderful. They can set their own hours, not have to commute, etc. But what a lot of people find out is they miss their coworkers. Just basic interactions with other people can make a huge difference in your day. So that is definitely provided.
We also aim to create an environment where the people working around you are always improving, always striving to be better. That can have a great effect on the other people in the space. We are lucky to have a few people like that as members of Cospace right now. You can just feel that they have a certain 'buzz' around them, and they do push, in positive ways. Usually it's because they have experience in an area, and want to help you to make the right decisions.
What exactly does your product do?
Cospace provides the physical presence that combines people, space and resources.
Who is it for?
Cospace can work for anyone who needs a space to do their business. Cospace works best for people who are looking to further their business or entrepreneurial skills. The intangible benefits a person can get from Cospace are much, much greater than what the actual physical space you get from being a member.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting up a business?
Wow. How do I pick the most challenging aspect? I would say it is believing in your idea. Believing that your idea will work to the point that you are willing to work all day, everyday on it, without compensation. Channelling all of that work is equally as challenging. Since you are starting something new, you can do whatever you want. That makes it very difficult to know which direction to focus all of your efforts.
What is the next step for you and your startup?
Our next step is to start rolling out the resources phase of Cospace. The space is open now, and people are starting to join. We have room for more people though.
We are currently collecting data from the community about the areas of business where they have questions. We want to make sure we are giving them the advice that they really want. We are also in the process of meeting with subject matter experts in the community. These will be the experts we turn to in these fields to provide the resources for our community.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Don't be afraid to try new things. If you really want to be an entrepreneur, nearly everything you do will be new to you. So don't worry about being bad at something. It's okay to make mistakes. You learn so much more from mistakes anyway.
What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?
The people of Austin. In the six or so months that I have been working on Cospace, I have met so many smart, helpful people. Every time I have a question about something, I seem to find a person who knows the answer, or who is willing to point me in the right direction.