Brian Harrison with a new company called Happy Returns makes himself comfortable as he works at Cross Campus on April 14, 2016 in Santa Monica, Calif. Small and large companies increasingly rent office in co-working locations across the Los Angeles area where firms lease office space. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Another Player Joins WeWork In Trendy Co-Working Niche

By Jeff Ostrowski
The Palm Beach Post, Fla.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The co-working concept created by WeWork has become a venture capital hit, achieving a valuation of billions based on its model of ping pong tables and afternoon happy hours. Meanwhile, new ventures such as PivotDesk and Liquid Space operate a model similar to Airbnb, allowing landlords to offload empty space.

WEST PALM BEACH

With flexible office space all the rage in big cities, West Palm Beach-based United Franchise Group hopes to capitalize on the latest trend in commercial real estate.

United Franchise Group’s new concept has a trendy name — Venture X — and a marketing pitch based on providing entrepreneurs with work space for as little as $99 a month and without long leases.

Venture X opened its first office space in Naples and is working to add locations in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, New York and San Antonio, said Ray Titus, chief executive of United Franchise Group.

Venture X is aiming squarely at entrepreneurs and freelancers who are a bit too prosperous to keep toiling on the couch or the local coffee shop.

“Working from home and Starbucks works for a certain amount of time,” Titus said. “But once you build the business up, you outgrow that. When you’ve got machinery in your living room, or inventory in your den, or vendors coming to tour your facilities, it becomes an issue.”

The concept of business suites is nothing new. In fact, Titus said, United Franchise Group rents space in Las Vegas from Regus Business Centers, a long-established provider of office suites. Servcorp is another longtime player.

And the co-working concept created by WeWork has become a venture capital hit, achieving a valuation of billions based on its model of ping pong tables and afternoon happy hours. Meanwhile, new ventures such as PivotDesk and Liquid Space operate a model similar to Airbnb, allowing landlords to offload empty space.

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