Madison has a variety of co-working spaces, from the casual and creative at 100state to the updated, understated Horizon Coworking.
Co-working venues began cropping up in the city around 2012 — or 2010, if maker space Sector67 counts in that category — as a step up from hanging out at local coffee shops.
Now, more than a half-dozen co-working spaces are available around the area, most offering amenities such as conference rooms, printers and, in many cases, coffee — and each with its own personality.
And there’s a new option. Industrious opened Nov. 1 at 25 W. Main St., in the Old National Bank (formerly AnchorBank) building, which is undergoing a $115 million redevelopment.
Occupying the entire fifth floor, with 20,000 square feet of offices that look out on the State Capitol as well as lake views, Industrious offers an upscale, industrial-chic version of co-working.
Industrious is a nationwide, for-profit chain that started in 2013 and now has 17 locations with 16 more under development.
The atmosphere at Industrious is different from most co-working places, said Ryan Ledoda, who heads the Madison office. “Gone are the ping-pong tables, kombucha kegs in the corner and skateboards — stereotypes of what co-working is,” he said.
Beyond the furnishings at Industrious, it’s about the amenities. They include free breakfast every morning, with fruit, snacks and beverages available, and Industrious-branded chocolate bars. There is a wellness room for nursing mothers or just for relaxation and access to the building’s showers and locker rooms.
Industrious sites also can include “fitness centers, and concierges who are looking out for the needs of individual members,” according to a September 2016 article in Fast Company magazine.
“‘It’s having someone notice that you’re stressed and bringing you hot cocoa, or bringing you a shawl when you look cold on a marathon conference call. These are things that people are used to experiencing at hotels, but aren’t used to experiencing when they are at work,’” co-founder and CEO Jamie Hodari told Fast Company.
In November 2015, Industrious was one of Inc. magazine’s “Top 15 companies to watch in 2016,” and in September 2016, the co-working company landed $37 million from investors.
Ledoda said the Madison site already is 25 percent occupied, with tenants ranging from a lawyer to a young marketing firm. “We welcome everybody, from startup entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between,” he said.
How did Madison rate to be part of a company whose other branches are in cities such as Chicago, New York, Boston, Austin, Texas, Los Angeles and Seattle? “We’re investing in growing cities with a strong economic outlook,” Ledoda said.
But the plush accommodations come with a price. Seats range from $383 to $2,300 a month, based on a month-to-month contract. Ledoda said one company with eight employees is paying more than $5,000 a month for a suite overlooking the Capitol.
That’s considerably more than the home-grown co-working places. For example, at Horizon Coworking, 7 N. Pinckney St., also across from the Capitol, members pay $75 to $250 a month with larger quarters at up to $1,400 while at 100State, just off the Square in the 316 W. Washington Ave. tech hub, membership runs $150 to $1,000 a month.
Gregory St. Fort, executive director of the nonprofit 100State, said he doesn’t view Industrious as competition. “It’s good to have a range of co-working spaces in Madison. I think all co-working spaces have their own vibe and their own culture,” he said.
“We have a lot of people who are in transition and working on ideas in addition to companies that are scaling (up),” St. Fort said.
Horizon co-founder Preston Austin said there may be a “short dip” in membership for local co-working spaces, but so far, Industrious’ marketing has boosted inquiries at Horizon. Comparing the two, he said, “Industrious is sort of Whole Foods to our Regent Street Market.”
“My sense remains that fully-realized demand for co-working-type spaces in Madison is quite deep, several thousand professionals at least, so I’m not too worried the pie is too small. It is, however, half-baked, so this might be too fast,” Austin said.
Scott Resnick, entrepreneur-in-residence at the StartingBlock startup hub under construction on East Washington Avenue, said he expects more co-working chains to zero in on Madison, too.
“I’m sure WeWork will also arrive in Madison at some point,” said Resnick. He said at least one property developer already is talking to WeWork, a global workspace company that has raised more than $1 billion from investors this year.
“I know plenty of people in Madison who want it to be more like Austin or Silicon Valley or Boston,” Preston Austin said. “I want it to be like a better Madison. To each, their own.”