By James Feichtner
It was nearly three years ago that the endeavor to move Fishers forward as an entrepreneurial city was taken through the process of establishing the co-working space known as Launch Fishers. Since it’s establishment, the city has seen tremendous entrepreneurial growth through its use. It is because of this success that on the April 20 city council meeting, council members made a motion to approve the purchase of a larger facility to expand the co-working space company.
Formerly the location of DECA Financial, the 52,00 square-foot building located on 12175 Visionary Way will be purchased for approximately $3.1 million with renovations at about $400,000.
The decision to expand comes from Launch’s tremendous past success. Since it’s establishment in 2012, the company has achieved dozens of sponsoring companies, approximately 485 members and three companies having over $1 million in investments. This success has led Launch to outgrow its current location at the municipal library.
“Our (library) facility is no longer adequate for our needs,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said. “Parking is truly a difficulty. We have a waitlist for dedicated space, so we literally have people who want to be a part of Fishers, who want to have their own dedicated space, to create their companies, but we just generally do not have enough room. We’ve got some real space challenges in the current location.”
The larger building would be able to support new members, while continuing to meet the needs of current members. The layout will be similar to the current facility, but on a larger scale to allow for the continued growth of members Launch has seen in the past.
“You’ll walk in and see the Launch Fishers coffee shop, and from there a common area across the general co-working area, and a little bit north of that, multiple rooms that range from four-person clusters to eight to twelve-person rooms, so that as our companies grow we just can continue to move them around Launch Fishers and meet there needs,” Launch Fishers Founder John Wechsler said. “We’ll also have an added conference space for special events and members that host meet-ups.
Aside from the new building is the new involvement of Ball State University, which will partner with the city to incorporate its entrepreneurial programming into Launch.
“The idea is this: If there is an entrepreneur or outside business that has idea they’ve been kicking around that they would like some help, we partner our student with those entrepreneurs to co-develop the idea, and so what the entrepreneur gets is free labor,” said Dr. Michael Goldsby, executive director and professor of entrepreneurship at BSU. “They get students basically working as interns for credit on their project. With that, our students get immersed in the real world with an actual start up.”
“We’re very excited about this partnership,” said Julie Halbig, vice president of government relations for BSU. “You can really feel the energy and growth in this community and we want to be a part of that and show our students what that looks like on a real world basis.”
The next step for the transition will be to develop a financing strategy for the acquisition of the property. On May 18 the council will review the financing plan. The acquisition is expected to be closed by the end of May.