GeniusDen’s month-to-month lease terms allows members the flexibility to meet their price point with $50 per month for a remote member with access to the member resources and a permanent mailing address, to $800/month office with three memberships included. Offerings also include dedicated desks with two memberships at $400 and a seat at the open desks at $200 per month.
Rent is charged in advance and lease terms are month-to-month with 30 days notice. You set up an autopay with your bank account or credit card.
There is a gap in the current offerings for startup office space. There are coffee shops or coworking for getting launched and for freelancers. There are several coworking spaces in the central core of Dallas including downtown and Deep Ellum, but there are no incubators focusing resources and deliberately creating a long term space specifically serving founder teams.
Asked if he takes equity for capital investment, Payton says there are no plans for direct investment right now. “We are not ‘Accelerator-ing’ here, I believe there is a number being passed around the investment community that only 6 percent of startups pitching get angel funding, the rest die or grow organically. We will probably have a member who is looking for capital and knows an investor to connect them to, but nothing formal yet is in the works. The power of networking is such that founders will likely be referring funding sources to one another.”
We make money from the rent you pay. Sometimes we rent venue space for events. Desks and office rental pays our bills. You don’t give up equity for rent unless you connect with an investor who wants to strike that kind of deal.
What about access? And security? Do I get a key? Can anyone get in? How do you control who comes and goes?
We have secure access with an electronic lock which you access with your smartphone. When a member terminates membership, we deactivate their code and access. Security cameras record who enters and leaves the building. We have six cameras at the front and back of the building. If you rent an office, you get a key to your office.
As the model is proven and refined the GeniusDen will seek and build spaces to serve entrepreneurs in other markets – some within the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex and then throughout Texas and regionally.
A startup founder says goodbye to his spouse and comes to the GeniusDen where he works for a while in the open desk area, meets with a mentor in the conference room, walks to lunch at a one of 23 Deep Ellum restaurants and then returns to a skype meeting with some remote team members and follow-up emails before the evening speaker comes in and doors open to a greater Dallas startup community. He is joined by his wife who has dropped their child at drop-off daycare on the same block. They rode in on lightrail to join them and walked the four and a half blocks from the lightrail stop to the GeniusDen stopping off to check out some art in a gallery on the walk over. After the presentation, they will walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner and locally brewed beer and drive home together.
The speaker has flown in from Phoenix and delivers an hour of core PR coursework targeted for Startup founders, he listens without talking notes because the lecture is video recorded and the slides, video and worksheets are uploaded on the GeniusDen website and will be available by the time he wakes up the next morning. She will stay in the AirBnB loft apartment that evening and before flying out will host a coffee chat the next morning for our Member and his partners to follow up with those “ah-ha” questions he’ll certainly have by the next day.
Joe Payton is a real estate developer, serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Payton began his career selling advertising and publishing and moved into investor relations getting a graduate degree in 1994 from the University of Denver and working in-house in the mid 1990’s for Corporate Express, a startup that grew from $50M when he joined to $1B in sales through acquisition and multiple public offerings. Joe was on the core Investor Relations team for the IPO and four secondary offerings. As a real estate investor Joe began buying and selling single family homes and parlayed his capital into larger developments and then small startups of his own and as angel investor, Joe was a member of the Rockies Venture club in Denver Colorado and the Central Texas Angel Network in Austin. Nothing he invested in went “big”, but he’s seen several hundred deal pitches, run diligence on a couple of dozen investments and gotten to know the process from the Angel side as well as the IPO experience when he was in corporate.
In Dallas, Joe is focused on his business startups and real estate developments. The building at 3106 Commerce is his first purchase in Deep Ellum. “I believe in Deep Ellum neighborhood. It is very much like 4th street and 6th street in Austin and Lodo in Denver in the 1990’s. Deep Ellum is going through a renaissance. With the massive redevelopment of Main Street and Elm Street 3 blocks away, we are looking forward to dozens of new restaurants and night spots opening in the coming months. Pecan Lodge has lines out the door every day and Brain Dead Brewery is opening soon, AND we have Ellum.net – a redundant fiber optic super-high speed internet ring here.”
“Deep Ellum is cleaning up – literally”, says Payton. “I’ve been honored and had the great satisfaction of taking bars off windows throughout my 20 plus year career as an Infill Redeveloper of neighborhoods in the path of progress. In-migration is putting more people here in the Dallas core and Deep Ellum is IN that core, it’s cool, and it’s affordable. There is more to do here just walking around than any other part of Dallas – it gives Uptown a serious run for its money, and the people and the service you get here feels like I’m in a small town – people are friendly”, Payton says.
Payton’s Pioneer Capital Fund backs the GeniusDen with his capital and a close private group of investors. “There is a different quality product when you own the building, your company builds out the space, your architects design it. There is a different kind of commitment when your money is on the line and you’ve made promises to investors. You worry about it, you make sure it works“, Payton says.