(And They Just Opened the Harlem Venture Space)
Is there such a place as Tech Central in New York City anymore? Flatiron comes to mind, of course, but with real estate prices rising there and the startup movement spreading, young companies are putting down stakes all over town. MicroOffice seems to be right there with them, with offices in Union Square, Chelsea, Midtown West, and Times Square, and plans to add spaces in Chicago (mid-summer) and San Francisco (Fall).
MicroOffice also just opened the Harlem Venture Space (aka the Harlem Garage @HarlemGarage) a new business incubator where they’re working in conjunction with NYEDC and the Mayor’s Office, it was recently announced. The new Harlem space will provide membership discounts to minority and woman-owned businesses, and will hold a business plan competition where winners will receive free memberships at the incubator. It will also hold networking events providing members with opportunities to establish relationships with other local organizations and the surrounding community.
The spaces themselves are as diverse as the community itself: 1375 Broadway (Midtown) has four unique floors and is home to nearly three hundred companies across a range of industries, including fashion, IT, SEO, law, marketing, and more. It’s right at home in the heart of the fashion district. 122 West 27th (Chelsea), is home to several entertainment businesses, including film and publishing; this MicroOffice location also offers unique shared space for therapists. Their newest location at 1601 Broadway overlooks Times Square and is a hub for both local and international tech companies. 902 Broadway (Union Square, which is the one we visited) hosts dozens of tech companies, and is neighbors with General Assembly.
“We’re on very good terms with GA,” said David Rotbard, Principal and co-founder of the MicroOffice, which has been around since 2003. “They refer members to us all the time.” Which makes sense, considering that GA is pivoting into a space for startup education rather than co-working, and it’s great when you can find synergies not only among the members within a space, but between the spaces themselves.
And if 902 Broadway is any indication, MO is a very comfortable place to work, with its rows of private offices, airy communal spaces and enough conference rooms scattered about to accommodate whatever meetings may crop up.
Every MicroOffice location has its own character; some are quieter, while others thrive on co-working and the ambience that comes with it. Some host events and one hosted an unexpected visitor who came humming into the space one day. It was on a particularly nice day last spring, when the group at Chelsea decided to open all the windows to enjoy the breeze. Out of nowhere, people started hearing a humming sound in the office; as heads began to turn, someone spotted the source up near the ceiling: a humming bird had flown in and was in a panicked frenzy to find its way out. It started with one person, but soon the entire room was up and people were chasing the bird to try to set it free while others decided to name it Hummer and adopt it as a pet. Eventually, the bird was coaxed back through the offending window, and it never returned, though hummingbird feeders are now a staple at office white elephant parties.
It seems every visitor leaves his or her mark, in one way or another, and yes, there are now screens on those windows. There is never a dull day at MicroOffice, since tenants have the opportunity to mingle and network with other member companies from industries like law, accounting, tech, journalism, marketing, IT, publishing, data security, and more. “Our target is small companies and startups across many industries,” Rotbard offered.
Of course they have the amenities most co-working spaces offer, such as free copying and faxing, coffee in the morning and receptionist service. “It can’t be denied that we are rapidly growing and placing ourselves wherever there is a need,” Rotbart added. “MicroOffice tenants appreciate that, despite our growth, we’re still small at heart, providing opportunities for the ‘MOS Family’ to meet and network throughout the year so they can help one another grow as well.”
Plans are underway to offer even more aid and assistance to members. Besides the events, parties and socials they currently host, MicroOffice will soon roll out a new series of networking events, pitch events, and socials that will engage the entire community at all locations. The Micro Connect series offers member companies a forum in which to share their skills via short lectures and Q&A sessions, traversing topics that include legal advice, SEO, marketing, accounting, and more.
Along with the various locations to suit one and all, MicroOffice also offers highly competitive pricing, with desks as low as $495 a month and offices as low as $1400.
“We encourage our member companies to check in with us when they grow and to see if we can accommodate their success!” Rotbard said.
And they do have their share of success stories: Daily Motion was a member of MicroOffice and recently moved on to bigger things with MO’s helping hand. Other notable startups include Zeebox, Appdrenaline, Full Circle Home, XL Alliance, Locus Energy, Luxurious Animals, Nimbo, and Structured Web.
And with all of the new offices in the works, expect to see even more of where that came from.