StartCo is the organization helping startups launch
new ventures through a variety of programming and resources.
president - Start Co.
After 11 years away from Memphis, Andre returned home 8 years ago with ideas from successful cities across the country. Energized to see our growing downtown community, Andre knew he could build something here and help other startups do the same. “In other places it’s hard to build something for yourself, but our city’s history and past struggles almost enables you to build here.”
What makes your office space unique?
“We like the fact that even though we’re on the second floor, it’s eye level when you’re down on the street. People notice and can see the activity going on. We’re believers in investing in the social space, so wanted an open environment for entrepreneurs to feel welcome. We didn’t want walls and cubicles to discourage collaboration, so we have this open environment to encourage them to meet other creatives.”
What are the benefits of working Downtown?
“Here you can bring your work to life. We’re in close proximity to our partners and mentors which creates a lot of collisions. I don’t have to be in the office to have a meeting. I do a lot of walking meetings to show off our infrastructure, shops, restaurants and neighborhoods. We incorporate the downtown community into our pitch to clients. Being able to step outside of your office and turn outside into your office is hard to do when you’re not in an urban, dense area.”
working with startups, how does the downtown lifestyle suit them?
“We work hard, and we play hard. Since a lot of entrepreneurship is about creative collisions, they need to get out of the office and surround themselves and meet mentors, developers, investors, and creative assets. We build great relationships with downtown business owners and invest our dollars back into the community. We build a bond with people in the community. That’s what you get in downtown community that you won’t get if you never leave your office on a day-to-day basis. If you move here from another part of the country and you’re downtown, you can satisfy all your vocational, community and outreach needs.”
How do you find inspiration Downtown?
“It’s in the ideas. We’re stimulated by people and their new ideas that are changing the game. There are ideas in downtown being implemented that you get to see from start to finish. That’s exciting. When you’re here, you can see a parking lot torn down and turned into a Bocce Ball Court. It’s really about the ideation in the downtown area that we’re glad to participate in.”
What is something people don’t know about Downtown?
“People don’t realize that the 38103 zip code rivals that of places like Manhattan and San Francisco when you start breaking out demographics. The number of young professionals between 18-30 with degrees that have access to the arts and livable amenities is paramount. People don’t understand there’s that many people with degrees with a large mix of diversity in downtown. We have an international flair of people that are building careers and having fun instead of being isolated and only accessible through cars.”
Downtown is a connected community of collaboration. Whether that means professional networking, career development, meet ups for beers after work or creative collisions on the street, Downtown is filled with outlets of inspiration and motivation.