By Kevin Collison
Plexpod has acquired the Think Big Coworking operation at 1712 Main St., the latest development in the fast-growing downtown shared-office space market.
Think Big Partners opened its co-working space in the historic Globe Storage and Transfer Co. Building at 1712 Main in 2015.
The concept was to provide entrepreneurs, contractors and start-ups on a tight budget with flexible space ranging from a shared desk to their own office, and supplying them with support services including wi-fi, printing, coffee and a mailing address.
As the contemporary work world has evolved toward more self-employed people and smaller businesses, the co-working market downtown now includes several choices including the WeWork space at Corrigan Station, 1828 Walnut; Office Port KC, 208 W. 19th St.; Regus, 107 W. Ninth St., and the Sprint Accelerator, 210 W. 19th Terr.
Plexpod now has three metro area co-working operations in the metropolitan area. Last spring Plexpod opened a large facility in Westport Commons, the former Westport Middle School at 300 E. 39th St. The firm also has an operation in Lenexa at 10000 Marshall Dr.
“With this acquisition, there will now be over 225 growing companies operating on the Plexpod co-working platform, which includes over 220,000 square feet of flexible office space under management throughout the Kansas City metro area,” Plexpod Founder and CEO Gerald Smith said.
Smith said Herb Sih, founder of Think Big, has decided to focus his attention on his Smart City consulting effort.
Under the new deal with Plexpod, Think Big will continue to use the building at 1712 Main for the offices of Think Big Partners. It also will operate Think Big Labs out of each of the Plexpod locations.
“Seven years ago, we set out to build the kind of dynamic workspaces that we as entrepreneurs longed for, but could not find in traditional real estate,” Sih said.
“In Plexpod, we’ve found kindred spirits who understand the impact entrepreneurs can make when they have access to resources, mentors and inspiring places in which to work.”
Smith said Plexpod plans to continue to grow beyond its current three facilities.
“We have several other projects till underway,” he said. “It makes sense. Our goal at Westport was to have 400 members by the end of the year and we just reached that.
“We look at what entrepreneurs and growth-stage companies need access to. We look at how the entrepreneur uses the entire space, not just the desk.”