Startup Businesses Have More Office Options
By Marcia Heroux Pounds
March 24, 2014
Startup companies seeking to lease month-to-month office space — and get guidance on growing their businesses at the same time — suddenly have more options in South Florida.
Long-time business incubator Enterprise Development Corp. has moved out of the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University and opened new offices in Boca Raton, Coral Springs and Miami. Another office based in Fort Lauderdale also is planned.
Meanwhile, FAU’s Research Park is launching its own business incubator called Tech Runway, which will focus on technology companies, especially those working with university researchers.
Some 7,000 startups and 30 startup organizations are currently in Florida, according to Gust.com, a global platform for management of early-stage companies. More than 100 startups each are listed for Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, and about 200 in Miami.
What began as a squabble last year between EDC and FAU’s Research Park is turning into a benefit for the increasing number of would-be entrepreneurs in South Florida because even more space and assistance is now available. EDC president Rob Strandberg wanted to work with startups throughout South Florida, while FAU’s Research Park’s Andrew Duffell wanted to keep the incubator a “Palm Beach County collaboration.”
In the new EDC location, at 751 Park of Commerce Drive off Yamato Road in Boca Raton, there will be a total of 40 startup companies, Strandberg said. He has leased space to 20 companies for the incubator’s first phase.
In April, new tenants will include: SEO consultant Joust; Reliabill Solutions, a company focused on billing for the substance abuse industry; emergency mobile app company Stadson Tech; cloud-based entertainment system Mediamplify; medical app AppwoRx; app developer Silver Logic; and Internet radio station Webmaster Radio.
“There’s no lease term for companies. They can give a 30-day notice and cancel,” Strandberg said.
Mohammed Ibrahim, co-founder of Silver Logic, an 18-month-old developer of custom apps, said his company is profitable and now has 12 employees. But he said he still needs guidance.
An incubator “is kind of like elementary school for business. You learn along with your peers,” said Ibrahim, 27, who grew up in Boca Raton.
Ibrahim said he’s now learning “how to meet clients and close deals. We’re still learning a lot every day.”
In Coral Springs and Miami, EDC is working with a total of about 40 companies.
Strandberg said EDC had to expand to Miami because of its entrepreneurial activity and because EDC was awarded a Knight Foundation grant to add a Miami office. EDC works out of Pipeline Brickell, a co-sharing space.
EDC also has a Palm Beach County grant of about $50,000 a year, based on job creation by the startups it advises. And EDC still has plans for a mixed-use incubator with Broward College.
Strandberg said the new Boca Raton incubator will be able to charge tenants less than the market rate, but enough for the operation to become sustainable. Startup companies that don’t want space in the incubator but still want to tap its resources also can join the incubator for a lower monthly fee, he said.