|Chris Schultz, left, and Barre Tanguis are scouting downtown locations for a Lafayette office of Launch Pad, their New Orleans-based business co-op.|
The latest trend in urban workspace lands in downtown Lafayette
Driving back to New Orleans from the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Chris Schultz and Barre Tanguis decided to stop in Lafayette for some research. They were exploring the idea of opening up another branch of their business, Launch Pad, a Crescent City-based office co-op designed for laptop professionals in need of a step up away from the coffee shop. While the business partners were scoping out Lafayette buildings, Schultz sent out a message on Twitter, asking followers what they thought of the idea of Launch Pad expanding to Lafayette. “Literally, within minutes,” Tanguis recalls, “while we’re walking around looking at some spaces, we got several messages back saying, ‘Absolutely.’”
Local tweets brought suggestions on buildings to look at.
“We’ve been using [Twitter] kind of for our market research,” Schultz says. “Essentially, it is market research. These people who are from Lafayette who we have relationships with online will hopefully become our members and join Launch Pad.” Last month, Schultz, in town as a panelist at the local Fiber Fête convention, announced at the event that Launch Pad would be coming to Lafayette. Last Friday, he and Tanguis were back in Lafayette narrowing their search for locations. The business has settled on the downtown area and is now in the process of negotiating the best deal between two or three possible buildings. “We’ll be downtown,” Schultz says, “Maybe even on Jefferson Street.”
Along with a third partner, Will Donaldson, Schultz and Tanguis opened Launch Pad last June in New Orleans. The business is one of several similar-minded work spaces cropping up in urban centers across the country. Members can rent an open desk, or a closed-door office, on a month-by-month basis, for set fees ranging from about $250 to $750 a month. The fee includes phone and Internet service, as well as shared amenities such as fax machines, conference rooms, a kitchen and even showers.
“There’s a big gap,” Schultz says, “between where a lot of people start a business, which is either in your bedroom or a coffee shop, and when you get your business to a size where you can sign a commercial lease.” Launch Pad comes on the heels of two other similar operations specifically designed for musicians and visual artists — the Tipitina’s Music Co-op and The Alamo — opening in Lafayette. Launch Pad’s concept caters more toward aspiring entrepreneurs, tech startups and traveling corporate refugees.
In New Orleans, Launch Pad is located in a high-ceiling building with exposed brick walls in the heart of the Warehouse District on Magazine Street called the I.P. (Intellectual Property). The I.P. was developed in part by New Orleans nonprofits hoping to create a hub for entrepreneurial, technology-centered companies. This June, Launch Pad is expanding to take up another floor in the I.P.
Launch Pad Nola, as it’s known, now rents workspace to 45 different companies and a total of 65 people.
At its Lafayette branch, the company plans to rent out 10 closed-door offices, 12 “permanent” or designated desks and 12 “co-working” desks, the most basic membership which provides Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. access. Lafayette will represent Launch Pad’s first expansion outside New Orleans. The company is also looking to possibly set up shop in Baton Rouge and Austin.
“There’s definitely a technology bent to a lot of the companies in Launch Pad,” Schultz says. “What got us interested in Lafayette in particular is the [LUS] fiber network. We think the timing is right and that Lafayette is really well positioned in the digital media space to create jobs.” Once the new office is established, the co-op hopes to run direct fiber connectivity between its Lafayette and New Orleans branches. The high-speed inter-connectivity would allow members in the two cities to connect through video conferencing, and instantly share large media files.
“We’re going to have to turn some screws to make it work,” Schultz says. “But I think it’s something that’s important to us both symbolically but also because we really believe that’s going to enhance what Launch Pad provides for our members; it’s what the clientele is going to want.” It’s these types of fringe benefits that Launch Pad prides itself on. In New Orleans, the office hosts several regular IT industry meet-ups, a weekly Web TV show spotlights the activities of different members, and members are constantly working together on projects and sending each other referrals. A recent market research study commissioned by Launch Pad showed that more than 70 percent of its members have seen their businesses grow since joining the community office.
“It’s almost like a work collective,” Schultz says. “[Members] are all their own companies, and they don’t work for Launch Pad, but we help to source deals for them and help them to grow their businesses. And there’s a real community that develops. That kind of collaborative spirit really, really enhances the experience and kind of accelerates the development of people’s businesses.”
Geoff Daily, who has been working with LUS Fiber as a consultant and was one of the co-organizers of the recent Fiber Fête event, says he met Schultz through the Net Squared New Orleans group and has been encouraging him to bring Launch Pad to Lafayette.
“I know there’s a built-in demand among the tech community in Lafayette for something like Launch Pad,” Daily says. “And I think it can definitely be helpful if it can become a kind of focal point for a lot of young guys to come together who may not be to the point where they actually have a full-fledged startup. In can give them a rallying point, and in particular give them a rallying point that can help build relationships between the creative technical professionals of Lafayette with the creative, technical professionals of New Orleans, which I think will be a real special thing.”
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Urgent Care clinics unprepared for Ebola; Nazis collected Social Security; Hawaii dodges a bullet and more national and international news for Monday, October 20, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.
With her political future in jeopardy, Sen. Mary Landrieu is turning to a natural constituent base in her re-election bid.
Terrance Broadway threw for a touchdown and rushed for 113 yards to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 34-10 victory over Texas State on Tuesday night.
Aligned with the party of an unpopular president, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu sought to keep her distance from the Obama administration, against claims from her chief Republican challenger Bill Cassidy that a vote to re-elect the Democratic incumbent was a vote for Barack Obama.
Seven people in Louisiana and two others in Mississippi have been arrested in connection with an international online sales scam.
Despite the hype and potential misinformation to have spread in the wake of Mark Cockerham’s recent departure from the LPSB, his candidacy for reelection is still on — now with the backing of the Chamber's Empower PAC.