On Aug. 22, zWORKS partners, members and colleagues gathered for a dinner party at the zWORKS original coworking space on Cedar Street to reflect on the past three years and discuss what the nonprofit has done and can continue to do for the local economy.
zWORKS is a co-working space, founded in 2015 by community leaders and volunteers with a mission to be an economic development engine for the Zionsville area.
Paul Dreier, chairman of zWORKS, discussed the success of several startups that were housed at zWORKS during formative stages, including GS Sports Ventures, 120 Water Audit, WorkHere and recently acquired Boosterville.
“No other incubator in the midwest has had the success rate we’ve had,” Dreier said. “It’s unbelievable the support we’ve got.”
Dreier said a goal of zWORKS is to recruit and help startup companies that will stay in Zionsville, citing Clear Software as a company that outgrew its zWORKS space and moved across Main Street to occupy the space above Rosie’s Place restaurant.
John Gilman, CEO at Clear Software, moved from Chicago to Zionsville in 2014 and decided to take his side business, Clear Software, full time in 2015. He needed a place to work that was not his home, so he came to zWORKS.
“It all really started here,” Gilman said. “We met a lot of our investors at zWORKS.”
Gilman said networking was the number one feature of zWORKS.
“You’re typically around a lot of high profile people (in Zionsville),” Gilman said.
Clear Software continues to grow and now has 15 employees.
The demand for startup space is high. With more than 200 members, zWORKS launched an extension called zWORKS on Pine earlier this year and is already filling the space.
“I loved walking in (the new facility) today and seeing every single room full,” said Kate Swanson, executive director of zWORKS.