Featured Startup Pitch: Assemble Shared Office is a co-working space designed around the idea of building professional communities
Assemble shared office gives its members everything they need to communicate, collaborate and get the job done. With free-to-use amenities and a tight knit community of driven professionals, Assemble shows that an office can be much more than just work—it’s about fostering a sense of community. With Assemble, inspiration is simply part of the workspace.
Assemble’s first shared office opened in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood back in September of 2014.
The entire space features a dramatic aesthetic with high 13 foot ceilings, reclaimed wood (from a single barn in Michigan) throughout, twentieth century factory filament bare bulb pendant lighting fixtures, antique brass chandeliers, polished concrete floors, beautiful artwork by David Molinaro, and glass walled offices with fantastic views of the neighborhood. The entrance features a lit up wall of fame featuring photos of members—a nice touch to the community vibe. Generous common areas and regular member functions encourage a sense of community, and amenities such as printing, Wi-Fi, coffee, and conference rooms are included in the monthly cost with no additional charges. Current Assemble members include such notable names as Postmates, SpaceWays, Caviar, Educators 4 Excellence and The Lynn Sage Foundation.
A second location will open mid-April in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Assemble’s further plans include expansion on a national level (Miami, Minneapolis, Raleigh in the works), with offices featuring a consistent set of design standards, amenities, and community focus. The company’s goal is to create the foundation for a thriving network of like-minded professionals, all utilizing the Assemble platform to propel their businesses forward.
A veteran of the real estate industry, I have been active in real estate for more than 20 years. My career spans commercial and residential real estate—nationwide and local to the Chicago area—and also includes a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University. Starting in 1995, I have overseen massive construction projects, including a 100,000-plus square foot office/retail space for Progress Construction Company, and construction management of 153 cell sites for U.S. Cellular. Since 2009, I’ve been a principal at Chicago’s Synergy Partners, an end-to-end real estate development and construction firm servicing both residential and commercial projects.
After successfully co-founding Synergy Partners with the help of an incubator called ICNC located in Chicago’s West Loop, I co-founded Assemble Shared Office on the idea that office space can be equal parts productive, modern, inspiring, and collaborative.
I am a licensed broker and I am also recognized by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) as an LEED accredited professional.
We have a community manager, SEO team, marketing and PR team. This is crucial since we plan to expand across the U.S. in six-to-eight markets this year.
At the time of Assemble’s launch, the space was 60 percent preleased, a number that quickly grew to 90 percent by the end of 2014. As of February, 2015, the Gold Coast office stands at 100 percent full, and the significant demand has powered Assemble’s plans for expansion.
Among the main reasons for the success of shared offices is the concept of ‘right sizing’ a company’s footprint. This is directly correlated to saving on overhead as space rent is typically the largest expense. Ten years ago the typical office space design was roughly 250 square feet/person. Currently, that efficiency is closer to 150 square feet/person. By sharing resources like cafes, conference rooms, common areas, bathrooms, IT closets, etc., we have pushed space efficiency closer to 50 square feet/person while preserving privacy, security, and sound abatement through our glass wall designs along with phone booths.
Another example of overhead cost savings is Assemble’s ability to achieve better economies of scale in leasing copiers, buying paper, coffee, furniture, Internet, etc. These savings are of course passed through to our members.
Shared offices also allow companies to avoid all the typical leasing costs associated with renting a typical office space, like broker fees, architectural fees, building permits, security deposits, furniture, IT, cabling, and of course the employee costs associated with coordinating all this work. Setting up your business at Assemble is as simple as giving you the Wi-Fi password.
Another market opportunity achieved through membership at Assemble is the access to good sources of vendors for professional services like legal and accounting through other members.
HOW WE’RE DIFFERENT
At Assemble there are no hidden or extra fees. Internet, printing, copying and conference room usage are all free (oh, and free coffee from Ipsento as well). This helps cut down on overhead costs for members and saves them time—all they need is the Internet password to get up-and-running at our offices.
We also offer these added services:
- Lunch delivery – Assemble’s on-site concierge can order lunch and deliver it to your desk.
- Dry cleaning – Pressbox’s on-demand dry cleaning service will pick it up and bring it back for members when it’s ready
- Dog walking – Assemble partnered with reputable local dog walkers to provide members with discounted dog walking services. They can walk your dog from Assemble or pick up and drop your furry friend off from your home.
- Mail services – Need a package dropped off at USPS, UPS or FedEx? Just leave it at the front desk.
- Local discounts – From Divvy bikes to Zipcars to local restaurants, members get exclusive deals on a variety of products and services.
Big bonus: Working at Assemble provides you with complimentary access to all locations throughout the U.S.
Assemble makes long term capital investments in long term leases, construction, furniture, and technology, and then charges members a premium to utilize those investments on a month-to-month basis.
Assemble just hired another community manager to oversee the opening of the West Loop location. We are always looking for new people to join us at Assemble as there is a need for community managers in Minneapolis, Raleigh and Miami. Of course, with several community managers spread around the country it will be necessary for someone to oversee the operations by way of a director of community managers. In addition, we have identified social media posts at Assemble who would manage social media, communications, and networking functions across all locations.
We have already closed on a Series A round of financing and are working on our Series B with plans to open ten new locations in 2015.
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FOUNDER: Phil Domenico
INVESTORS: Unnamed (completed Series A; currently working on Series B)
YEAR FOUNDED: 2014