CoLabora is a new coworking space in Mexico City that works alongside a private investment fund and has caught the attention of several startup teams.
The coworking movement has seen exponential growth these last few years in the US, European, and Asian markets. It wasn’t until recently that the word coworking or cowork started to resonate in Latin America.
Although there are coworking operators in the region that have been around for quite some time now, for years the market remained limited and resistant. Fortunately, this is changing. Public and private initiatives to drive entrepreneurship in Latin American countries have paid off and have opened the market for flexible workspaces.
One example is Mexico. The US neighboring country recently reported increased interest and maturity in entrepreneurial projects and businesses. This maturity is measured by the number of investment funds available for startups and new businesses, which in the case of Mexico, have increased significantly since 2013.
According to Mexico’s National Entrepreneur Institute (Inadem), the country went from having 13 investment funds in 2013, to 55 in the current year.
The startup world and entrepreneurs helped power the coworking movement in various markets across borders. The same holds true for Mexico. With more financing and funding options, startups are able to grow more and, in some cases, they grow faster. This growth prompts the necessity for workspace, opening the market for flexible workspace operators.
CoLabora: Collaboration At The Root of Its Name
CoLabora is a new coworking space in the neighborhood of Roma Norte in Mexico City. Co-founders José Fernández and Pablo Morayta are no strangers to the growth of startups and need for workspace in the city; both involved with the private investment fund CyC Capital, which provides seed funding and consulting services to Mexican startups.
“We created CoLabora as a way to complement funding offered by CyC Capital,” Fernández says. “CoLabora will offer startup teams the workspace they need and will give them access to in-house consulting and support from the CyC.”
Though startups backed with capital from CyC will have priority to getting a membership, CoLabora will welcome entrepreneurs and SMEs regardless of whether they have received funding or not.
“What we want is to add value to entrepreneurial projects in Mexico. We want to create a community where entrepreneurs and startups can synergize and collaborate with one another; for us, collaboration is key to success.“
People in Mexico are just now starting to familiarize themselves with new working models and flexible workspaces. “It’s a market that’s still in its early stages but, at the same time, it’s playing a key role in the development of the startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
Although various coworking spaces have opened in different neighborhoods of the city–among them WeWork and Spaces (Regus’ coworking brand)– CoLabora is entering a developing market. Fernández and Morayta see this as an opportunity, “entering the market at such an early stage means we will get to see the market mature and it will help us position ourselves as leaders within the industry.”
“In a chaotic city like Mexico, location is everything.” Fernández is referring to Mexico’s City extension and its all too well known traffic situation.
CoLabora is located in Roma Norte, an up and coming neighborhood in Mexico City, known for its hipster status and its dining scene. Thanks to new investments in the area, La Roma is now full of life, slowly taking over Polanco as one of the most fashionable and sought-out neighborhoods in the city.
Fernández mentions that they picked this location for CoLabora because “it’s an area that’s full of young people, entrepreneurs, and where different types of projects are being developed. It’s a neighborhood where people like to walk around; it’s full of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. La Roma is full of life and always buzzing, and this will help us attract the type of people that we’re hoping will join CoLabora.”
The physical space will serve as a place where people can work, collaborate, and give exposure to their projects.
“We want to give Mexican entrepreneurs and artists a place where they can showcase their work; which is why we chose a cultural concept when designing CoLabora. We want people to feel inspired in our workspace, so we will be exhibiting various paintings and art from different Mexican artists.“
CoLabora is located on the second floor of a house and shares its space with a yoga studio, a coffee shop, and a tattoo shop.
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CoLabora, like the name suggests (it means collaboration in Spanish), is all about collaboration. “Our goal is not to fill up the space as much and as fast as we can. Our goal is to offer personalized solutions to each and every one of our members, helping them meet the right people and finding the right tools that will help them maximize their creativity and pave the way towards success.”
Although CoLabora has been officially open a little less than a month, it’s already home to a few startup teams. So far, CoLabora has gotten more inquiries for space for up to teams of 10 people than it has for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Fernández and Morayta aren’t ruling any type of member out, waiting to see what the market demands and in which direction the industry goes.
“CoLabora is only made possible because of abundance of talent in Mexico. We’ve come to realize that there’s an incredible amount of individuals with great ideas; we need to support them and encourage them to grow for it’s these ideas and innovations that will drive and transform our (Mexico) economy.”