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StartMart is a 35,000 sqft entrepreneurial hub and co-working space located on the 2nd floor of the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio.
StartMart is a 35,000 sqft entrepreneurial hub and co-working space located on the 2nd floor of the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio.
206 backers pledged $15,929 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

StartMart - NEW $40,000 Stretch Goal to Match $40,000 Grant project video thumbnail
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$15,929

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Breaking News!

After reaching our initial $10,000 goal, StartMart has learned it has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the City of Cleveland! This grant is a matching fund, and that means that we still need your help to raise $40,000 to match the city’s contribution. Before we said, “Every dollar counts,” but now we’re saying every dollar counts double.

We know StartMart has incredible supporters, and we’re hoping we can count on you to help match this generous grant that will furnish the 35,000-square-foot entrepreneurial hub and generate jobs in Cleveland.

Back our project today! Our Kickstarter goal must be met by Friday, September 25!

The Changing World of Work

The world of work is changing dramatically. Startups and project teams form, reform, succeed, fail, and form again. Current real estate and office space models don't support this new dynamic. Startups need to easily add people as they grow without the expense of a long-term lease. 

Office space needs to support and encourage entrepreneurship in new ways. Beyond desks and copiers, these spaces need to foster collaboration and creativity. They need to support great ideas and help them succeed or fail in an environment that understands and meets their needs. Fortunately, there are several cities around the country that have developed proven models: AtlantaBostonChicago, Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and New York City all have great startup hubs. We have borrowed some of their great ideas and worked to develop our own unique approach as well. 

In order to stay economically competitive as the business landscape continues to shift, Cleveland needs a startup hub now.

Need more proof? You can learn more about innovation districts by reading this white paper from the Brookings Institute and see why this model is so important to the continued economic and entrepreneurial success of Cleveland.  

The Magic of a Dollar

We want to demonstrate that Cleveland is committed to building on the entrepreneurial spirit that made this city great, so our goal is to get 10,000 people to show their support by pledging $1 each. 

Not only can this show of support demonstrate to startups that Cleveland is a great place to call home, but it can help us show government and private supporters that their investment in a concept like this is fully supported by the Northeast Ohio community. So your dollar does more than just help us buy whiteboards and desks, it helps us demonstrate that Cleveland wants to lead the charge in fostering talent, creativity and innovation.

Of course, we’re taking more than just single-dollar pledges. With your support, we can make StartMart a powerhouse of resources poised for startup success.

Flashstarts: Where It All Began

StartMart is the logical continuation of the work we began at Flashstarts three years ago. Flashstarts is a startup accelerator that invests in very early-stage software startups. One of the lessons we learned after our first year was that early-stage startups have difficulty locating flexible office space and basic services aligned with their needs. StartMart is our answer to reduce early-stage friction and allow startups to focus completely on managing their business.

2015 StartMart T-Shirt
2015 StartMart T-Shirt

StartMart: Engineered Serendipity

StartMart represents the fresh, exciting times in downtown Cleveland and will help the most talented, passionate entrepreneurs to "raise their game." The way we do this is "fresh brewed engineered serendipity," meaning that the space, processes and people are here by design. StartMart provides flexible monthly memberships so teams can grow or shrink as needed. We will also provide startups access to the very best interns, our network of mentors, our service providers, and investors.

A Prototype Telepresence Unit
A Prototype Telepresence Unit

With your help, StartMart will be equipped with tools for startups to use and share, as well as themed rooms, including a maker space, media production studio, full kitchen/diner, meditation room, exercise room, and several presentation and conference rooms.

Your pledges will help us supply the space and set tenants up for success. We need your support to fund:

  • Paint 
  • Desks 
  • Chairs 
  • Whiteboards 
  • Office equipment 
  • Interns 
  • 50-inch HD telepresence units

We currently provide 1 Gigabit Internet, and with your help, we will have a 100 Gigabit connection in 2016.

Community CODESIGN

It is said that, “invention is the mother of necessity” and that’s what startups do at their core: They invent to make lives better. Just like the startups we support, we know we must evolve to succeed. We are engaging with the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurship community in a collaborative process called CODESIGN to define and refine the StartMart vision. Since May of 2014, we have circulated multiple versions of our concept, allowing us to solicit community feedback and publish new versions.

This community feedback loop is a permanent part of the StartMart process, and it will continue to help us improve as long as StartMart exists.

We also offer co-op positions where entrepreneurs can become full members at deeply discounted rates in exchange for working a few shifts at StartMart.
StartMart Thermal Mug
StartMart Thermal Mug

 What Are People Saying?

- WKYC

- CBC Magazine

- Fresh Water Cleveland

- The Plain Dealer


Risks and challenges

We want to be transparent about this project. While we have reduced much of the risk involved in launching a startup hub and co-working space by securing the space, moving in, and gathering a talented and committed team, we know there is still some risk.

There remains some risk that this project will fail. While we have spent hundreds of hours researching and reviewing other locations and best practices, there is risk that we haven't made the right choices.

The biggest risk it that we will be unable to attract enough high-quality entrepreneurs and teams to create the type of self-maintaining highly collaborative ecosystem that successful hubs enjoy.

Recognition of this risk is the reason we have made marketing and advertising the core of our reward programs. Your contributions through this Kickstarter will help support our efforts to spread the word, acquire tenants and prove the Cleveland is ready for an entrepreneurial hub.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    MORAL SUPPORT – We will use this money to buy some great local Sherwin-Williams paint. You get our thanks and and an entry on our website supporter page. You can then claim full credit for a section of freshly painted wall. When you visit, you can sign our Supporters Wall.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    DRIVE BY SUPPORT – We need whiteboards. Creative ideas are born on whiteboards. We like ones with wheels. The reward at this level is also a key part of our marketing strategy. We want to turn every steel vehicle in Cleveland into a rolling advertisement. You get a really cool StartMart magnetic bumper sticker. Not appropriate for plastic cars, but might work on your refrigerator (which has wheels). Visit StartMart to claim.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    HUMAN BILLBOARD SUPPORT – The reward at this level is the other part of our marketing strategy. You get an official 2015 StartMart T-Shirt and an official pack of StartMart business cards. The Terminal Tower image was created exclusively for StartMart by Cleveland Artist Chris Deighan. It is sure to become a collectors item one day in the very distant future. Select your size, try one on and take it home when you visit StartMart.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    VIRTUAL SUPPORT - We are building lots of expensive telepresence units to connect StartMart members to the outside world. We could buy them for $15,000 but instead we are building them for under $1,000. Each includes a 50” HD Screen, microphone, speaker, Chromebox with Google Hangouts, Apple TV, HD Broadcast TV, and Chromecast. Oh, and you get a one week StartMart pass ($150 value). Look below for rewards that include Basic 1 Day/Month or Full Every Day/Month Membership level rewards.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    FOUNDERS CLUB SUPPORT – The one thing StartMart needs most is creative members. At this level you get to join a community of Cleveland’s most creative people. You get a a really cool StartMart thermal glass mug with your name on it and one month Full StartMart membership ($300 value). You can optionally continue your membership at this Founders's Club rate. Either way you can keep the mug. You also get a permanent listing on our physical and digital Founders’ Wall.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    INTERN SCHOLARSHIPS - We strongly believe that entrepreneurship can be taught. College interns (paid) will be a huge part of our program, as they have been at Flashstarts. Your $240 will cover the cost of one part-time intern for a month - about 8 half days. As a reward you will receive a full year of our Basic Membership ($540 value).

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    BUTTS IN SEATS – We need about 300 chairs and desks. Otherwise our space will look more like a campfire than an office space, with everyone around sitting on the floor drinking juice. Contribute $500 and someone with impeccable penmanship will write your name in indelible ink on a chair or desk. You can then sit on it while you enjoy your 3-Month Full Membership reward ($900 value).

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,800 or more About $1,800

    CORPORATE STARTPOD SCHOLARSHIP PARTNER – Not all entrepreneurs can afford a Full StartMart membership when they are starting out so we plan to offer Scholarships. Your contribution will fund one entrepreneur for one year while they are starting their business. Pay it forward and you will be prominently listed on our Corporate Sponsor wall.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    CORPORATE ANGELS - We are looking for 6 Corporate Angels to help us get to the $40,000 Match Goal. Please exercise some corporate Noblesse Oblige and give the Cleveland Startup ecosystem a big boost. Your reward is a listing on on Corporate Sponsor Wall, and a pair of 12 month Open Desk memberships.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    STARTMART HERO (Action League) – With a few heroes, we can fully outfit our space for 300 people with all the stuff they will ever need to build great new companies. At this level you get 300 fans, a listing on our Wall of Fame, a small shrine in our Zen Meditation Room, and your own 100 year membership (non-transferrable). Which, depending on your super powers, is a really good deal.

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Funding period

- (37 days)