We have a pretty Awesome story for you guys.
It all started back in 2009 when Brian Raney decided to bring coworking to a market that was unfamiliar with the movement that had initial roots in cities like New York and Los Angeles. The untapped market we’re talking about is the city of Lexington, KY; and let us tell you something even more awesome: the Lexington coworking market has thrived ever since.
Raney and his team were the first to bring coworking into the city of Lexington, and they were able to reap the benefits of being the first the cultivate a vibrant and collaborative community. It’s been eight years since they embarked on the adventure, and their community continues to grow, thrive, and make a difference.
We think this is why they call themselves Awesome Inc.
“It was a give first mentality,” Raney explained. “We really had to focus on community and help people pursue awesome companies” he added.
To help get exposure and draw attention to the space, Raney and team worked hard to host roughly 150 startup-related events during the initial year to help “start the excitement.” The founding members were determined to organically build their entrepreneurial tech community by focusing on a few core offerings alongside their traditional coworking and event space.
One of the offerings was an accelerator “similar to the Techstars model in Boulder, Co” said Raney. He and the team knew there was a need for a curated accelerator program for the growing startup scene in Lexington.
So in 2013 Awesome Inc launched the Awesome Fellowship Program. Awesome Inc interviewed and accepted 8 startup companies that would be mentored throughout their one-year program, which, in the end, saw these initial startups go on to raise a combined 7 million dollars. (Pretty awesome, right?)
Today, they have accepted and ‘graduated’ 24 startups that have gone on to raise multi-millions of dollars while creating over 100 jobs for their companies.
The second core offering was an internship program. After completing a thorough application and interview process, Awesome Inc accepts numerous interns that can work both for Awesome Inc themselves, and also for the startup companies that may be short of a graphic designer or social media marketer.
Today, internships last between 4 and 8 months and assist with a wide range of startup needs, like programming, marketing, and video production. Interns have gone onto work for places like Facebook, Google, and The Cartoon Network.
The third and probably most prolific offering to this day remains their intensive coding school, coined Awesome Inc U.
Raney saw a gap between the types of jobs being offered in their community versus the shortage of people to fill those openings. So in 2013, Awesome Inc took advantage of the shortage in technical talent and made the bold promise of “guaranteeing each student a job” after completing their three month coding school. And it worked. Their first cohort of 9 coding students each received employment after completing their program.
“Our one constant has been our core values,” Raney explained when asked how he is able to continue to pursue such a large endeavor each day. “We draw in really good people when we invest in our members,” he added.
And it’s clear they take their community very seriously. Readily displayed on their website and throughout the coworking space, Raney and team continue to emphasize what Awesome Inc means to them as well as their growing membership: an awesome coworking space that helps people and companies pursue their definition of awesome at the sector of entrepreneurship and technology.
With a team of 26 direct employees that help run Awesome Inc’s day-to-day operations of their 10,000 sq ft of workspace, there’s no question as to whether the founders have created something alright, or in fact, plain awesome.
*Feature image grabbed from Awesome Inc’s Facebook Page