1776 Evolves Business Model and Incubator Services
We are currently experiencing a massive asset shift in real estate coupled with a tremendous surge in entrepreneurship. When we launched what was then known as Benjamin’s Desk in Philadelphia 2012, “coworking” was a relatively new vocabulary word. We were educating the marketplace and consumers on what it meant to be part of a community, in addition to just sharing desk and office space. While companies like Regus and American Executive Centers had been around for decades, coworking was a shift from more traditional shared office space because of the emphasis on community and collaboration.
Like many of the startups we serve, our company must also evolve and adapt. Over the past six years, we have continued to focus on the importance of community as well as focusing on providing our members custom programming, access to our network, and a curated membership of like minded growth entrepreneurs.
Real estate is one component, albeit a key piece, of our business model. While the world is pushing new boundaries in digital environments, we believe having physical places to convene becomes even more important. While we provide work and meeting space to our members, it is the programming, resources, and mentorship that will continue to be the reason why entrepreneurs come to 1776. We utilize our event spaces to host panels and workshops, as well as our signature stack programs focused on access to capital, strategy, and pitching the press. Instead of signing traditional leases resulting in a purely transactional relationship with our landlords, we partner with asset owners to activate space in their building or on their campus. We continue to have great success partnering with institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and large and small asset owners like PREIT and Ambler Yards.
As part of our business model as it relates to real estate, we opened conversations with all existing landlords to shift into management agreements. Unfortunately, we were not able to reach a new agreement with the asset owner for the downtown DC campus. While we are sad to leave that location, we remain deeply committed to the District and are actively looking for another location.
Since the beginning, we believed that our success is based on the success of our members. We will continue to vigorously pursue this mission and ensure we are serving our entrepreneurs in the base way possible.