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New Kansas City coworking space for startups gives tenants ownership

A new coworking space focused toward the startup community will fill this location at 1624 Westport Road.

Nate Allen, co-founder of 4 First Names, wants to create a community coworking space in Kansas City for startups, run by startups. That means he needs you.

The entire operation, from ideation to the space’s upkeep, has and will be carried out by people devoted to the startup community. Handprint co-founder Mike Demarais got the ball rolling with the initial idea and scouted locations––along with someone Allen knows only as “Flash” from the Hacker House. They found what they were looking for in nonprofit Connecting for Good‘s old location at 1624 Westport Road, a couple doors down from the Google Fiber Space and just outside the Kansas City Startup Village.

Allen (left) took over from there, and has seen the project through with the help of others in the community, forming a relationship with Prodigy Arcade CEO Carrie Royce‘s Shabby Hats as the nonprofit to receive donations and rent. He also received help from Shawn Davison, who’s interning at Think Big Partners, and Brittain Kovac, KCSV co-leader.

Although there isn’t a finalized name for the space, Allen’s been able to nail down a lot of details with some insight from a survey he recently put out to the community––most responders valued a startup culture and the ability to collaborate with people of a different skill set.

Within the 5,000 square foot space are 65 potential seats, including five offices. There will be traditional pricing for the desks and offices, but at its core are the pay-what-you-can spots in the wide-open community area. Allen wants to attract the right people, who can help each other and put time into creating an office space they want to call home.

“No one’s on salary,” he told Silicon Prairie News. “Everyone pitches in. Without people in the space taking care of it, it will fall apart. That will go a long way to fostering ownership.”

A large part of that ownership will come from the ability to make decisions about the space. Anyone who puts time or money in will have a say in the operations, Allen said. There also is 1,800 square feet of space for meetups and classes, which he plans to make available for outside groups, with flexible pricing for nonprofits.

But truly, it’s about getting the right people together, including freelancers and service providers who want to work with startups. And selfishly, Allen admits, he wants to work around other passionate people.

“I want to put more energy around me,” he said. “This is going to benefit things we’re already working on. I don’t really want to make money on this.”

His targeted open date is August 1, but he wants to start the conversation with a tour of the space and Q&A this Saturday, July 20, at 10 a.m. Swing by to see how you can get involved.


Credits: Photo from Google Street View. Head shot from Big Kansas City / Kenny Johnson.