The Galvanize Technology Campus Model: Should Business Centers Be Taking Notes?

Galvanize, Denver

“Galvanize isn’t a coworking space,” Mark Saldana, marketing manager at Galvanize, recently insisted in an interview with GeekWire.

What Galvanize is, according to the article, is a network of high tech campuses located in Denver (pictured), Boulder and San Francisco, which are geared to provide technology entrepreneurs with space to work in, along with a wide range of services, educational programs and access to local industry experts.

Most importantly it gives them exposure within the local investment community. Opening in May is Galvanize’s massive 71,000 square foot facility in Seattle.

As Saldana goes on to explain, “We’re a network of technology campuses that provides access to opportunities for growth through industry-focused education. Our unique community is the result of entrepreneurs, students, industry partners, programming experts, data scientists and academics all working together and learning under one roof.”

High-tech curriculum

To some, Galvanize may appear to be a high-end incubator; to others a school. The website reads very much like that of a high-tech college, including a full curriculum with many of the classes being taught by thought leaders from some of the country’s top technology companies.

Categories aside, the model being established by Galvanize and others in this space should give us pause for thought. Is this the beginning of a paradigm change in which the needs for education are conjoined with the need for work space?

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While incubators have been around for years, workspace communities, such as Galvanize, are popularizing a new, richer model and are getting increased attention from entrepreneurs who see it as a way to get an education while they launch their careers or businesses. Local investors and businesses see it as an opportunity to identify and develop new local talent.

A new norm?

How should business center and coworking space owners and operators respond? Or should they?

Clearly Galvanize is not a coworking space, as Mark Saldana pointed out. But we are seeing an increase of niche serviced office spaces, with industry-centric build outs, a full spate of classes, plus all the usual amenities and services. Whether or not we will continue to see more of these campus-style spaces emerge, time will tell.

However as more millennials seek to circumvent the traditional (and long) path between college and sustainable employment, many believe that the Galvanize model may become a new norm. Business center and coworking owners and operators may want to explore this concept and look for ways to build local partnerships that could give them a competitive edge, if the Galvanize model continues to grow.

Pictured: Galvanize, Denver, CO

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