By Sandy Athniel
In addition to being home to many innovative companies, the 78 Corridor also houses a number of coworking spaces that contribute to the success of the local startup scene as well as the entire community.
In addition to coworking spaces, another resource available to the region is Startup78, which is an initiative of Innovate78 and San Diego Regional EDC to unite and amplify the resources available to entrepreneurs along the 78 Corridor with the goal of helping startups scale to become long-term, viable businesses that support our economy.
All five Innovate78 cities (Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista) are home to a number of coworking spaces that each boast unique offerings and amenities. Many people come to work in these spaces for the networking opportunities and oftentimes, find their other co-founder while working on separate projects. Professionals have many different spaces to choose from along the corridor, allowing them to work close to home and contribute to the local economy.
Below is a peek inside each city’s offerings:
There are several coworking spaces in this seaside city for all sorts of professionals. One example of a versatile space is Avanti Workspace, which hosts a diverse group of members representing everything from startups to tech companies, freelancers and consultants, lifestyle brands, and small-to-mid-sized businesses. Avanti has many unique offerings like a 24/7 gym, an onsite market, dry cleaning services, and massage services.
Meanwhile, BLOC in Carlsbad Village sets itself apart from many other spaces by offering amenities like custom sustainable desks, local artwork displays, cold brew coffee and Kefir Soda on tap, as well as a variety of beer and wine stocked for members. One space that went above and beyond with a notable piece of decor is Incubate Ventures, which has a DeLorean – a model of the iconic car from Back to the Future – on display in the office. Incubate Ventures is a unique hybrid that combines a coworking space with a startup fund, for those who have gone through the selection process, providing extra guidance to up-and-coming startups. The environment provides members with resources, capital, and mentoring, strengthening the overall startup activity in the coworking space.
WorkSpace is another amenity-filled space in Carlsbad that has beer and kombucha on tap, an indoor/outdoor work area, biweekly member happy hours, and showers for members who want to get in an early morning workout or afternoon surf session. Arguably, the best thing WorkSpace has to offer is its dog-friendly office. You never need to leave your dog at home again. OffiCentric also has a wide range of membership options, including everything from a virtual office to a private suite. The coworking space provides members with coffee from The Rush Coffee Truck on Thursday mornings. Close by, Get Smart WorkSpaces offers spaces for meetings and events. Regus has two locations within Carlsbad: one at Cornerstone Corporate and the other at Pacific Center. The Pacific Center location has ocean views and is located steps away from the beach and the famous Carlsbad Flower Fields. More inland is the Cornerstone Corporate location, which is in close proximity to Interstate 5 has a spacious training room.
One space that has been creating a lot of buzz in recent months is CommonGrounds. The Carlsbad-based coworking space recently received $100 million in funding to expand to roughly 50 locations nationwide. Along with amenities like stand-up desks, CommonGrounds also fosters a culture of service, providing assistance with challenging tasks like event coordinating and office designing.
Some coworking spaces specialize in catering to specific industries or professionals. Hera Hub is one of those niche spaces in town, catering primarily to women entrepreneurs. Being the first international female-focused coworking space and business accelerator allows Hera Hub to take female empowerment to a whole new level, offering a spa-inspired aesthetic, networking events, and workshops to help its members succeed and collaborate with each other.
At Regus coworking space in La Terraza Corporate Plaza, the third floor balconies provide panoramic views of the valley and rolling hills, and the building has tremendous architectural appeal.
a nonprofit that focuses on providing community-based affordable housing throughout San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Bay Vista CEO, Chief Legal Officer, and Commercial Real Estate Broker Cheryl Lee said that Bay Vista decided to relocate its corporate offices to Escondido because “there is so much happening with housing in general, multi-family housing, and affordable housing in the Escondido area. We are a nonprofit, so we try to absorb our expenses for our corporate office in an innovative way.”
Creating Synergy Centre allowed Bay Vista to fund its corporate offices while providing local nonprofits, community organizations, and business entrepreneurs a space to work. The coworking space provides its members with 19 separate offices, six of which are private. The space also has a flex membership area that can accommodate up to 75 members. While the bulk of Synergy Centre members work with nonprofits and community organizations, the space is open to everyone.
“San Diego has always been a mecca for entrepreneurship or new businesses, and the Escondido area is particularly buzzing with that kind of activity,” Lee said. “I see Synergy providing a service to [North County] both community-wise and in general entrepreneurship.” Lee describes Synergy Centre as being a super friendly space and says, “there is a certain vibe where everyone gets along well, and it’s a fun, flexible environment. People have to remind themselves to get back to work after grabbing a cup of coffee.”
The coworking space is appropriately named, as “it seems like there is real synergy in the air at our location and everybody just loves coming to work here,” Lee said.
South Oceanside is home to The Station Coworking, which offers space for a limited amount of members to keep the atmosphere close and tight. The Station is described as an intentionally designed environment for creatives that offers a flexible space for working, creating, and collaborating with month-to-month commitments. As with many coworking spaces, members of The Station are able to access the space 24/7. Amenities like an on-site Keurig coffee machine, shower, and free community events enable members to be productive.
There’s a new coworking space coming to town, and it’s Union CoWork. The coworking company has various locations in other cities like Encinitas and North Park and will be making its way to San Marcos in May. Each Union CoWork location provides its members with outdoor working spaces that are furnished and landscaped. The space is also bike-friendly, providing members with bike parking and showers, as well as village bikes for members to use during the day. Members are also welcome to bring their pups to the space while sipping on beer and kombucha that can be found on tap.
One unique space in town is Open Source Maker Labs (OSML), where academics all the way from elementary school students to university professors can come together with local industries and companies. OSML provides its members with access to tools, workbenches and build spaces, as well as free introductory workshops on topics including 3D printing. There is also a drive to invite students to the space to work on creating new and innovative ideas, and to build skills that would give them an edge when looking for post-grad jobs. “The industry needs people with those kinds of skillsets right now,” founder Dan Hendricks said. Additionally, OSML is part of the Startup78 initiative, supporting startups, inventors, and entrepreneurs in North County.
Meanwhile, there’s a new coworking space coming to Vista that is unlike anything the county has seen before – The Film Hub by Inspired Images Studios is a coworking space, designed with a camera in mind, that is expected to open its doors in mid-April. The team decided to base the space in downtown Vista in part because “it’s a very artistic community. It’s that eclectic group of people that was very attractive to us and the city folks are really great to work with,” President Jim Ellis said. Production Designer Lauren N. Fehlhaber adds that “bringing a lot of video production and film production to the city of Vista is another reason why we really wanted to be in this city.”
Film Hub’s central location also allows members to be in walking distance to local restaurants and Vista’s famous breweries. The contractors who have been building and planning the space are from San Diego County, with Fehlhaber doing all of the design work. With 20 private offices, 14 desks, and 50 cafe memberships available, the building can accommodate up to one hundred people.
While the amenities and resources at The Film Hub would be the most beneficial to film and marketing industry professionals, it is open to everyone.
“It’s a big benefit to help startups because of the marketing opportunities that we’ll have in the facility. You’ll have the soundstage and audio recording room, but also the video production professionals that you can go to to help get all your marketing done,” Fehlhaber said. “Anyone that becomes a member of our space is going to get access to the whole facility to use for all their marketing materials and that’s what makes it so unique.”
Ellis explained that “the whole building is designed for production and every corner is designed for shooting. There are lighting grids everywhere,” and insulation has even been added throughout to reduce sound.
“Every space was designed with the camera in mind. The design of the building was really thought through,” said Fehlhaber, who also mentioned the space has a filming set kitchen for cooking shows or videos. “Most of the time, you’d either have to build a set kitchen from scratch, which is very costly or go to LA, which can be difficult,” she said.
The set kitchen is customizable too, with panels that can be switched out to fit filmers’ desired aesthetics. Something new The Film Hub is bringing to North County is a foley stage, which enables filmmakers to create sound effects in post-production. “When I was doing films in the past, I had to go to LA to record foley, and now there’s one in North County,” Ellis said. “What we’re doing is lowering the cost of production for anyone who is a member.”
“There’s always information you can help each other with and that’s the way you’ve got to keep moving in the future,” he added. “Everybody offers a different twist on what they do. There’s no concern about competition; it’s more of a cooperation culture that we want to build here.”
Note: Each coworking space has a number of offers in different tiers for members, typically ranging from using an open, shared space, dedicated desks, and private offices. See each website for specifics.