This article was published in the Summer 2019 edition of Silicon Slopes Magazine.
By Arian Lewis, Founder & CEO, Kiln.
Where do startups begin? In the past, the quintessential view of a startup’s first office was either in a frigid, gloomy garage or an unfinished basement. This used to be the scene where startups evolved and gave birth to great innovations. This era laid the groundwork for Silicon Valley and the basic building blocks of today’s technology. But where is technology now? How has competition changed? And is the garage still the best place to birth a startup?
We are now in a time where the landscape and tech ecosystem has evolved into multiple layers with hyper competition. Startups have to move faster, be better, and hit harder than ever before to survive. Each new company is in a race to capture top talent, capital, and routes to market.
Unlike before, the garage, basement, or attic space is no longer enough. Building in isolation is inefficient. When a startup chooses to isolate itself, it removes the community factor thereby reducing the potential for value creation, elongating timelines, reducing access to the talent pool, and limiting avenues for growth. Perhaps a basement office saves a company on cost? While a basement office can reduce expenses, some founders fail to recognize that instead of saving, they are sacrificing value and growth potential in the cheap shadows of their basement.
Competitive edge is realized through external forces, insights, and relationships that are captured and then leveraged to either improve a product, route to the market, or reach the qualified talent base. Access to these levers are often found in communal settings and that is why top startups across the globe are now launching out of coworking spaces. Coworking allows a startup to quickly access support, recruit talent, and build relationships that accelerate growth.
Importantly, coworking levels the playing field and allows startups to compete for talent with corporates who offer world-class environments and cushy perks. This is especially true in Silicon Slopes where the battle for talent is hot. Startups along the Wasatch front have had limited access to these perks and environments — until now.
Kiln, a new Utah-founded coworking company, launched in Lehi and Salt Lake City in November 2018. We bring a seasoned team which has created thriving coworking spaces in markets such as London, New York, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Cape Town, and more. Kiln is focused on serving seed to series B tech startups with more than 260 companies represented in its current member base. We are also hosting over 20 events a month, primarily focused on topics relevant to early stage tech companies. On multiple fronts we are witnessing startups capture the value of the community to accelerate their growth. In short, Kiln offers tech startups a new way to maximize the intersection between space and time.
“Startups are all about the culture and the atmosphere, and as a startup you have limited funds and time to focus on those things. So coming into Kiln, there’s ping pong tables and massage chairs, walking desks and bikes, and lots of events going on that again, I don’t have to focus on, but my employees can still enjoy all the perks that big companies are trying to offer them” shares John Cheney, CEO of Seek.
Kimmy Paluch, founder of Beta Boom, adds, “When starting our company, we wanted to find a space where we could just hit the ground running. The companies that we are accelerating here at Kiln have already found immediate impact by interacting with other companies that are based here. We chose to base Beta Boom here at Kiln because of the amazing collaboration that they are building here right in the heart of Silicon Slopes.”
Each founder is battling market forces, new product woes, and the emotional ups and downs that come from building a business. Kiln recognizes this journey and is prepared to lift you up and pave your business a stronger path toward growth. It's ineffective to build a business in isolation. The new definition of scrappy is to tap into the best resources and fully leverage the community around you. Kiln is curating that community, and given that you can only be in one place at a time — let’s make it count!