LaunchHouse has come a long way since 2008 when founders Todd Goldstein and Dar Caldwell first started working with entrepreneurs in a small office above Geraci’s Pizza in University Heights and eventually opened in an old Shaker Heights car dealership with about a dozen portfolio companies and a handful of members.
Today, LaunchHouse is one of the premier coworking communities that boasts 124 members among 65 companies at its main office in Highland Heights. LaunchHouse opened offices in Lakewood in May, and just this month, CoWork Oberlin: Powered by LaunchHouse (CWO) opened at 235 Artino St. in Oberlin.
CoWork Oberlin marks LaunchHouse’ s first licensed location, in which organizers can license the LaunchHouse model. In return for a revenue-dependent licensing fee and ongoing membership royalties, LaunchHouse provides guidance in getting the coworking space off the ground. Services include helping with the hiring and training of the community manager, providing coworking software for member management, and delivering ongoing community manager support throughout the partnership.
CWO will support the many professionals in Oberlin and surrounding areas of Lorain County who need flexible office space and a collaborative community where their businesses can grow.
Eddie Rice, director of communications for LaunchHouse, says they were thinking about creating a licensing model when the Oberlin Business Partnership reached out. “They approached us,” he recalls. “They were at the Lakewood opening and asked, ‘How do we bring this to Oberlin?”
Rice says Oberlin seemed like a perfect LaunchHouse location. “We saw an opportunity with Oberlin College with a lot of trailing spouses,” he says. “And it’s a town that has freelancers, people working out of their homes, and remote workers.”
CWO makes up 4,500 usable square feet of space on Artino Street, with four small and large private offices, an open shared workspace, a dedicated alcove for quiet work, a garden café, a separate room for trainings and events, a small conference room, and a large conference room furnished with state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment. The space offers the usual amenities, such as access to printing and copying, business mailboxes, mail supplies, and coffee.
“We have a lot of things available here,” says Sara Fisher, CWO’s community and operations manager. “We have coffee and hot tea and highlights of the local eateries, so we can showcase the small restaurants and support small business entrepreneurs.”
Membership options follow the LaunchHouse model of offering flex membership (full-time coworking in the shared office space), private office space rentals, and a business mailing address. Outside community groups are welcome to rent the training room and conference rooms for meetings and events.
Fisher says the LaunchHouse model is exactly what the Oberlin business community needs. “Oberlin has a history of coworking, but it’s been start and stop,” she explains. “We now have a solid physical space and all the resources we need to make it a permanent entity in the community. Why should we recreate the wheel?”
CWO held its grand opening on Thursday, November 8, during which 84 people came to check out the new space. “We were pleased with that number,” says Fisher. “We had a wide representation of people coming to the grand opening to check out the space, coming from as far as Amherst, North Ridgeville, and Lakewood.”
Rice says several other cities are interested in licensing agreements, and LaunchHouse has plans in the works to open as many as five additional locations in the next year.