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New tech startup hub to open in Carmel

September 9, 2015

Carmel soon will join the swelling ranks of central Indiana cities with a co-working space to help fledgling companies grow.

Presidents of two Carmel-based companies—Swan Software Solutions and marketing consulting firm Residential Warranty Services—are partnering to offer offices to local startups, particularly those in software and technology. The space is expected to open by November.

Alex Morozov, president and CEO of Swan Software Solutions, says he wants to offer a co-working facility in Carmel because it’s an amenity the city is missing. It would occupy about 4,000 square feet in the building his company owns at 706 Pro-Med Lane.

Interested individuals or companies will be interviewed before a membership is offered. Options will include a two-year lease with four months of free rent or a one-year lease with two months of free rent.

“It’s not just a matter of filling up the space,” said Nathan Thornberry, president of Residential Warranty Services. “It’s a matter of if they have a need for us.”

Executive suites, small offices and individual cubicles will be available for 25 to 30 companies with prices estimated to range from $400 to $700 per month, depending on the space. The arrangement will include Wi-Fi, coffee, office furniture and building security.

Although there is no requirement to do so, members also will have the opportunity to use services from both supporting companies, which is another reason why Morozov wanted to start the program.

“There are a lot of things we can offer potential startups,” Morozov said. “We hope it’s going to be a good arrangement.”

The co-working concept isn’t new. Central Indiana already is home to more than a half-dozen such sites, which provide collaborative space for entrepreneurs and others looking for an alternative to toiling away at kitchen tables and coffee shops.

Nearly 50 shared workspaces or business incubators are in communities across the state, according to the Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Thornberry said the Carmel incubator will focus specifically on entrepreneurs serious about building succesful businesses, rather than simply looking for a fun place to spend time.

“That’s not what this is,” Thornberry said. “You’re in business to make money. We gotta figure out how to get you there.”

A name for the facility has not been finalized, but Morozov said it could be Carmel Accelerator, Carmel Business Incubator or Carmel Advantage.

The city of Carmel is not contributing financial incentives for the project.

“You don’t want to rule out something in the future, but I don't see the city playing a big role in this,” Mayor Jim Brainard said, mentioning the city offers non-monetary incentives like high quality of life.

A 20,000-square-foot co-working space to be called the Edison Business Lounge is also planned for the city's $150 million Midtown development, but no construction timeline has been announced. The facility would be similar to Launch Fishers, offering memberships for use of offices, desk space, meeting rooms, equipment and Internet services. 

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