Big changes are coming to Charlotte’s most prominent startup hub and coworking space — including a new name and a new organization running the show.
Packard Place announced Friday that it has entered into a deal with HQ Raleigh — a rapidly growing coworking and startup community in downtown Raleigh — to manage the space. The new name for Packard will be HQ Charlotte.
It will join a growing network of startup/coworking centers that HQ Raleigh is building around the state and potentially the Southeast. The idea is to better compete against bigger startup like Silicon Valley, New York and Austin. They also want to get their member companies more connections to mentors and funders.
Dan Roselli, who founded Packard Place in 2011, will join the HQ advisory team. He’ll maintain ownership of the building, but turn his attention to the accelerator programs he runs.
“People always talk about Raleigh versus Charlotte. This is an example of private industry talking about Raleigh AND Charlotte,” Roselli said. “We’re thinking community first and individual needs second. It’s thinking entrepreneurial community — i.e. the state — first and Charlotte or Raleigh second.”
So what is this new organization?
Honestly, it does a lot of the same things that Packard Place does. Both are homes for early stage ventures on super-short leases. They also both play host to startup challenges and other events for the entrepreneurial community.
HQ Raleigh launched in October 2012 under the name HUB Raleigh by a team of entrepreneurs who wanted a better low-cost option for fledgling businesses. A year later, they rebranded as HQ Raleigh and soon moved from a suite inside the Junior League of Raleigh’s headquarters to a four-times-larger space in the Warehouse district of Raleigh’s downtown (where they are today).
They’re now building a new 43,000-square-foot building behind their current property. Partly to accommodate more businesses, and partly to let the businesses there grow into bigger spaces within HQ Raleigh when they get beyond the lone entrepreneur phase.
Today HQ Raleigh has 290 members from 140 companies and HQ firms have raised $56.4 million in angel and venture funding. More stats here.
Now HQ Raleigh is taking firm steps toward building a regional presence as well. Some of it is cosmetic — they changed the name on their primary Facebook page to HQ Community.
Late last year they opened a similar space in Greensboro, and if Twitter is any indication, there will soon be one in Charleston.
What this means for Packard Place
Physical changes. HQ Raleigh is going to come though and do a major renovation and rebranding inside Packard Place. It will look radically different.
More attention to coworking. Dan Roselli says he hasn’t done as good a job intentionally creating community among coworkers at Packard Place. This is HQ Raleigh’s bread and butter.
Access to Raleigh resources. For example, when the QC FinTech accelerator starts at Packard Place next month, they’ll be taking a field trip up to Raleigh to meet with investors and companies up there. HQ Charlotte companies will also have more connections to mentors/funders/etc. in Raleigh.
Price increases? Memberships with actual offices and desks and stuff are a lot more expensive at HQ Raleigh ($500 for an office for <5 people in Charlotte, $1,200 for a similar offering in Raleigh + $200 a month for an individual in Charlotte, $300 in Raleigh). Their pricing model will be exported to Charlotte over time.