NextSpace, a legendary brand within the coworking industry, opened its doors in 2008 in Santa Cruz, California. It was one of the first coworking spaces in the world and expanded to nine locations. Co-founders Ryan Coonerty and Jeremy Neuner, both well recognized leaders of the coworking movement, helped place coworking on the map in the United States. Iris Kavanagh, their first employee, developed community and culture norms that established NextSpace as a unique brand, and is sought out by other coworking spaces today for their best practices. Due to the deep roots NextSpace planted into their coworking brand, it came as no surprise when Pacific Workplaces acquired them in June 2017 that several questions were raised regarding the future of the powerhouse brand. Why, after two years, is NextSpace still alive and thriving? What exactly does Pacific Workplaces have in store for this brand?
What Pacific Workplaces Brings to the Table
After the acquisition, Pacific Workplaces shared what they were bringing to the table. NextSpace provided incredible support to its employees and members, but could not implement and maintain effective strategies when it came to scaling their coworking spaces. As things started to go adrift from a business standpoint, it became clear that help was needed when it came to marketing, training, and operational best practices. Laurent Dhollande, CEO of Pacific Workplaces, stated that the NextSpace brand would be retained, only amplifying the already strong brand by adding “Powered by Pacific Workplaces” to its name. Pacific Workplaces infused NextSpace coworking spaces with their operational procedures, marketing tactics, and space upgrades enabling NextSpace to reemerge as vibrant, thriving communities once again.
How does the Pacific Workplaces culture mesh with the NextSpace Effect?
Rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pacific Workplaces (Pac), with its 17 locations, has been in the shared workspace industry since 2003 and prides itself on being very process-driven, but also recognized for its strong company culture as having been voted Best Place to Work since 2013.
Whereas other multi-location workspace providers have a revolving door, many Pac team members have a tenure ranging from 3.5 to 15+ years with the company.
Enter NextSpace and its solid community culture and the idea of people actively helping each other be successful in their respective enterprise, otherwise known as the NextSpace Effect, and it only made sense to blend the very best qualities of these communities. The idea was to empower the team members from an operational and marketing aspect and create a hybrid of the two unique brands. Thus, the future of our coworking found its place.
Building on a winning formula
Coworking has evolved, more so in the last two years. How Pac would preserve the NextSpace Effect was questioned and voiced by several veterans of the space. So, what is the winning formula?
The special knack of NextSpace on how to foster a collaborative and innovative environment is what Pac wanted to preserve rather than change. NextSpace continues to offer programming that enables its members to network, connect, and grow. Placing an emphasis on events geared towards entrepreneurs, freelancers and topics specific to the member community such as the assembly of Care Bags for the homeless, an annual tradition at NextSpace San Jose, and the recent Women in Tech engagement at NextSpace Santa Cruz, is a large part of what makes them a success.
Pac wants to grow on this winning formula and empowers the NextSpace crew to share their community building skills with the team. Maya Delano, Community Manager at NextSpace Santa Cruz educated Pac Managers on how to create business ecosystems and establish community norms within their coworking spaces during a company-wide meeting. First employee of NextSpace Iris Kavanagh, also led a session on how to effectively give a space tour that allows your unique community to shine, as well as strategies on creating programming and events in your space that are sponsored and run by members. Iris was also asked by Pac to help streamline operations at NextSpace Berkeley in particular.
These are just a few examples of how Pac strives to learn from the successes of NextSpace and incorporate them into the rest of the Pacific Workplaces portfolio. We want to create a culture where there is a sharing of best practices from which everyone can benefit.
To further honor the ‘street cred’ that is synonymous with the NextSpace brand, there are also plans to create new landing pages on the Pac website that specifically talk about the NextSpace ethos, its history, and what it stands for. The key is to balance that NextSpace is now “powered by Pacific Workplaces” and has the infrastructure, scalability, and strong company culture and support that Pac has to offer, but maintains its unique identity and stays true to the original values and character of its existing communities.
Does this mean we have it all figured out and can have a drop the mic moment? We wish! We still have much to learn and many more obstacles to tackle. Blending the two brands has not been easy and we find ourselves trying to figure many things out as we go. We can’t claim to have all the answers, but for us, this is the formula for which the future of coworking lies – in the sustainability of BOTH the NextSpace Effect and the Pac Culture.
Become a member of our coworking family! Check out our list of 17 locations and schedule a tour or just stop by to see what its like to work with us.