** Update Dos: Final 24 hours! What to do to get more for your backing dollar. **
** Update: We made it to 100%!! Check out our stretch goals! **
Hi, we're CoworkBuffalo. We want to create a great space for smart remote workers and groups that benefit Buffalo.
We want to take our coworking space from a bootstrapped side-project for those in the know into a professional and comfortable work space and meeting space. We have a lease and some desks; now it's time to build something that will raise up Buffalo's improving Main Street, the tech and creative scenes in our city, energetic projects and meet-ups, and anyone who needs to get out of their house.
We started in May 2012. Four work-from-home or work-anywhere types were tired of waiting for investors or developers to come around to coworking. So we found a small space above Spot Coffee on Delaware Avenue, made a few trips to IKEA, and launched it out of our own pockets.
One and a half years later, our space has monthly members, regular visitors, and enough amenities to get by. We've hosted more than 3,000 working days to regulars and one-time visitors. More than 70 community and tech events have happened at CoworkBuffalo, mostly at no cost to the groups. We've done a lot in one and a half years. But we need more room, more seats, and some grown-up things. So we've taken a chance with a bigger space on the newly renovated block of Main Street.
Our new home on Main is going to help us build the community around the space even more. We'll have more room for meetups and presentations both during the day and after-hours. By supporting this campaign, you're directly supporting groups like OpenHack, TEDxBuffalo, WNYRuby, Python Buffalo, and BuffaloJS who have used our space in the past for their events. We want CoworkBuffalo to be a hub of community events in Buffalo for years to come, and your contribution to outfitting the space will help us reach that goal.
Coworking as a movement focuses on the community. Anyone can sublease office space or occupy a table in a coffee shop. What we offer at CoworkBuffalo is much more than just a desk: it's the network effect of working near other professionals with a diverse set of backgrounds and the vibe of an exciting and productive place to get things done.
Here's some awesome things our members have said about their experience at CoworkBuffalo:
"CoworkBuffalo is a great place to get things done. Professional but casual work environment with great coffee." ~ Neil, Nickel City Graphics
"What is it about being in a room with other people who are working hard? Guilt? Infectious energy? Focus by osmosis? I don't know, but I know that when I need to get stuff done in a hurry I go to CoworkBuffalo. It's my comfortable, efficient, no-nonsense workplace." ~ Colleen, Colleen Dunham Indexing
"CoworkBuffalo has managed to create a very office-like downtown space for people who don't have a local office. It's quiet so you can focus and get your work done, but convivial enough that you get the informed water-cooler conversation you miss out on sitting in your home office." ~ Jim, Best Practical
We know you have some questions...so here are some answers!
What does the new space look like?
We have a simple answer: GIFs.
Our view on Main Street across from Shea's:
Our new phone booths!
The Pierce Building, our new home! We're on the newly renovated 600 block of Main Street.
Here's the view from inside the space. Yes, our co-founder Kevin will stand in this window, flapping his frail arms, until we can fill out the space.
What do we need to make a great space?
With your backing, we'll be able to outfit our space with upgraded furniture, gear, and more to make it a better place to work. Our shortlist includes:
- Full-size fridge to keep even more lunches cold
- Phone booth style desks for our 3 brand new phone booths
- Mail slots to accept packages
- A divider for our new conference area
- Conference table and chairs for that new conference area
- Couch(es) or similar furniture to lounge on
- Lockers to allow members to store things securely
- More hacker-type projects to make the space fun and easy to use.
This is just the start of what we'd like to pick up for our new digs on Main Street. With your backing we can put these things in place.
What rewards will you get for helping out?
Stickers, t-shirts, and more! Check out the sidebar for everything we're offering. Here's a quick table that shows what you'll get for your backing:
Help us launch a better CoworkBuffalo 2.0 that connects more people in Buffalo. We're here to make a difference, one desk at a time.
Thanks from the CoworkBuffalo partners,
Risks and challenges
While we will use funds raised from this campaign only for capital and build-out expenses, our coworking space is dependent on revenue from members and visitors. Like any business, we could see a drop-off in subscriptions and purchases that could endanger our long-term plans for the space.
Our estimates on the cost of capital purchases could be off, and unexpected or emergency costs could supplant the items listed above. But we will endeavor to stick to the original spirit and intent of this campaign in using any funds acquired.
We believe we are qualified to overcome any miscalculations or overages because we have been addressing those kinds of problems for nearly 2 years. We have bootstrapped a functional, bill-paying coworking space out of our own pockets, relying on our own intuition and unpaid hours of effort, and we're in this for the long haul. We believe in our community space, and we want to make it as presentable as possible to our own city and its visitors.
What we are trying to do with this campaign is to use Kickstarter in the most faithful way possible: to rev up a unique project in Buffalo, build some excitement around it, make it beneficial to the people who live here, and move a bit faster than we might if we continued on from our own spare cash and Amazon clicks.
CoworkBuffalo is not a non-profit, but it is, informally, not a business any of the founders expect to feed their retirement funds. It's a labor of love. When we see people helping with each others' projects and chatting over coffee, groups planning events after-hours, and lots of newcomers enjoying a feeling of "heading downtown to work," we feel good about our investment. We think you might feel good about investing in this, too.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
It’s for people who can work anywhere they can bring a laptop, part-time or full-time, and who want something different than the isolation of home and the distracting coffee shop scene. More so, it’s for people who get more done by having a place to go, people nearby, and a sense of of being part of a small, smart community. That’s our take. Wikipedia’s nerds came to this consensus definition:
Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.
Absolutely! Just give them a heads up (email, text, beverage, PGP-encoded .txt message) that they can come to the space before March 31 if they give your name. We'll cross them off a huge scroll-like list of backers. Or something like that.
We're planning to ship everything by February or sooner, however Kickstarter doesn't let us edit reward delivery dates once someone has backed a reward. Sorry!
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