SmartLogic Studies is highlighting some of the spaces that help set Baltimore entrepreneurs up for success.
This episode — Where to Work: Spark — focuses on the Cordish Companies-backed co-working and office space and a few of the entrepreneurs who are growing their businesses in the downtown community.
Featured in Where to Work: Spark
- Shervonne Cherry, Community Manager, Spark
- Kevin Keenahan, CEO, Tissue Aanlytics
- Paige Cantlin, Founder, Full Society
- Ken Malone, Cofounder, Early Charm Ventures
- Casey Corcoran, Cofounder, FourV
Check out all of the Where to Work features
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Spark, a creative space for igniting ideas
Shervonne Cherry has seen the Spark space grow from a construction site with a few sketched-out plans to a bright and lively office for companies searching for success.
“Spark is a place for companies to grow,” she said.
Spark sprawls across two floors in an office building tucked into Power Plant Live. Kevin Keenahan and his company, Tissue Analytics, work in a private office space on upper floor.
“It’s kind of like a hierarchy. You start in the co-working space downstairs. You rent a desk or two, and then, as your idea evolves and you get more and more traction, you move up in the ranks,” he said.
Paige Cantlin, the founder of FullSociety, has seen the benefits of the low cost co-working space.
“You pay on a monthly basis, so you can adjust your monthly budget on how you’re doing in your own startup,” she said.
But she was ready to take a step-up from shared desk space.
“We really wanted to have our own private office, not just an open co-working space,” Cantlin said. “Some people work in the co-working area when they feel like it, but we also have an enclosed place to go.”
Cherry said it’s very easy for Spark companies to transition from a desk, to a small office, to something much bigger, all in a matter of months.
That access to growing companies and budding entrepreneurs is part of the reason why Ken Malone, a cofounder of Early Charm Ventures, opened an office in the space.
“Spark was the perfect place for us, because we were looking for a really cool environment, a place we can relax and enjoy where we work,” he said. “But we also wanted to be around hundreds of really innovative people, and it’s the perfect place for that.”
And people, no matter how innovative or hard-working, need to take a break every so often. Spark’s foosball table and beer on tap has them covered.
“In the afternoon you come down and meet people from different companies, you chat a little bit,” said Casey Corcoran, a cofounder at FourV. “It gives you a place to go that’s not your own office, it’s not your conference room. It’s another place to sit down and have a conversation and see other people.”
The games and beer are a perk, but Corcoran says the location was the biggest draw for him.
“People want to be downtown, they don’t want to be in suburbs,” he said. “Even the people who are in the suburbs want to go someplace different for work.”
For Cantlin, being downtown allows her and her team to be close to her customers which are restaurants along the Inner Harbor.
“Also, none of us have cars. So we all live downtown, and this was a walkable space,” she said. “It’s pretty much close to everywhere we’d want to go, so it was kind of a no-brainer.”
Cherry and her staff try to look out for every need a company might have once they join the space.
“The support from the staff has been really good,” Corcoran said. “They’ve been going through a lot trying to set this place up and make this what it is. We’ve been here with them and working through that, but they’ve been really supportive in trying to make us comfortable and happy in that process.”
If Spark sounds like the office space for you, there are still opportunities to join the community.
“We have a few offices still available,” Cherry said. “We have dedicated desks that are available, and our undedicated side is also available.”