- Allwork.Space: CoCo coworking is rebranding as Fueled Collective
- Fueled Collective is a coworking space that transforms into a social club once 5 o’clock rolls around
- Fueled Collective is backed by a new partner — TPG — one of the largest private equity companies in the nation.
Eight years ago, Kyle Coolbroth and Don Ball turned an idea into a reality by opening their first coworking location in St. Paul, Minnesota. Launched in 2010, CoCo has grown and evolved with the times, but it has maintained its mission of “focusing less on real estate and more on building a collaborative environment, robust community and supplying services and spaces that support the growth of businesses of all sizes.”
Just last week, Coolbroth and Ball announced to CoCo members that CoCo will rebrand to Fueled Collective. They also had the grand opening of the first Fueled Collective’s location in Cincinnati.
Allwork.Space caught up with Coolbroth and Ball to find out more about the rebrand and to get the exclusive on Fueled Collective’s new business partner, TPG.
Allwork.Space: You recently announced that CoCo is rebranding to Fueled Collective. What’s behind this decision?
Kyle Coolbroth: We’re always thinking about growth and the future. A couple of years ago (2016), we got a call from St. Gregory Group; they had been observing the coworking industry and had identified CoCo as a key player and one they’d like to partner with. About the same time, they were also speaking with Fueled, a mobile design app and development company that created a collaborative space in SoHo. We agreed to meet with both of them and the three of us discussed what the future of the industry looked like. In the end, we all agreed that we wanted to join forces.
That’s how the decision was made to create a new venture, Fueled Collective, and to roll it out as a franchise.
Allwork.Space: What does this new venture look like?
Kyle Coolbroth: We ended up creating the first ever truly social workspace. Fueled Collective is a coworking space that turns into a social club in the evenings. The space is equipped with everything you expect to find in a coworking space, but it is also equipped with a full bar.
Allwork.Space: How does that work and how do you guarantee that members working after hours won’t be bothered by the social buzz?
Kyle Coolbroth: The collaborative working space of Fueled Collective is open from 8 to 5, what you would call the traditional working hours. Once 5 o’clock rolls around, the shared workspace converts into a purely social space. To prevent members from being affected by this, those with dedicated space can retreat into a work-only area once the buzz gets going.
Allwork.Space: I gather that the social club is open to everyone?
Kyle Coolbroth: Yes. We have discovered that people who don’t necessarily need a space to work from also want to be a part of the community. With Fueled Collective, we created a social club membership which gives unlimited access to the social club as well as 2 days per month where they can use our workspace as well. For their part, anyone who has a working membership is automatically enrolled into the social club membership.
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Allwork.Space: What are some changes we can expect current CoCo locations to go through?
Don Ball: To be honest, we are not changing that much in our Minnesota and Chicago locations, although we do have the option to bring back some of the things that are being developed for the larger franchise. Some of these changes might involve implementing Fueled Collective’s new technology frameworks and even some of the new membership levels. These changes, however, will be implemented so long as they make sense locally.
Allwork.Space: How many Fueled Collective locations are there currently?
Don Ball: As of now there are 7 Fueled Collective locations. All 5 of CoCo’s locations are being rebranded to Fueled Collective; there is also Fueled’s original Fueled Collective in SoHo and the new location in Cincinnati.
Allwork.Space: You mentioned the new venture will roll out as a franchise. Are you looking for any specific type of franchisee?
Kyle Coolbroth: I’d say we will take the traditional franchise approach and find individuals in each local market that have an interest in the industry and in opening and operating a franchise. More specific to the industry, however, we are looking at working together with property groups and real estate owners, giving them the option to be franchisees or to let us operate a fully-serviced owned franchise within their properties.
Allwork.Space: What are your expansion plans for the franchise, and are you targeting any specific markets?
Kyle Coolbroth: As of now we don’t have an exact number, but we are thinking about 250 locations within the next 3-5 years, although it is hard to give an exact timeline at the moment. Market wise, I will say that the central states are currently underserved; however, this is a model and solution that we believe works well in urban markets, as well as in Tier 1 suburbs.
Allwork.Space: Don, on your emails you mentioned you had an additional newsworthy item that you hadn’t shared with anyone yet.
Don Ball: Kyle, I’ll let you do the honors.
Kyle Coolbroth: Well, we recently added a fourth partner to Fueled Collective. That partner is TPG, one of the largest private equity companies in the nation.
Allwork.Space: Congratulations, big news indeed. Anything else you’d like to add?
Kyle Coolbroth: We are at a moment in time when enterprises, startups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers are all fundamentally thinking about the ways to go about work differently. At Fueled Collective we strongly believe that the intersection of work and social life is the future, that is where things are happening.
We need to create spaces where people have everything they need in one place, but more importantly that they feel that they belong in that place.