LONGMONT – Terry Gold and his partners aren’t trying to replicate Boulder’s startup community in Longmont. But they do believe the city has a niche all its own that can lead to a thriving startup scene nonetheless.
That’s part of the reason the group is opening Launch Longmont, a co-working space in the Longmont Times-Call building that eventually will morph into an incubator and accelerator as well.
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“There are people there who are already starting companies,” Gold said this week. “There’s a real community there. So our timing is good.”
Gold – along with Intrado founders George Heinrichs and Stephen Meer, as well as Jim Davis and Keith Kaczmarek – hope to have Launch open by the end of the month, with Gold running the day-to-day operations.
Prairie Mountain Publishing, owner of the Times-Call, sold the building at 350 Terry St. in downtown over the summer to investor Jamie St. John. The newspaper is expected to remain there until about February.
But Launch has leased about 5,000 square feet on the first floor, and is sprucing up the space for Launch’s first phase now. If things go well, Gold said the plan is to do a complete buildout of the second floor for Launch to expand.
Entrepreneurs or small companies will be able to rent anything from a seat to a desk to an office. The first phase, Gold said, will be able to accommodate about 40 people.
Membership rates haven’t yet been set, but Gold said he’s already gotten commitments from an attorney who has been commuting to Boulder for similar space, a nonprofit whose employees work virtually but need an occasional gathering space, and Longmont Compass, a local news and lifestyle website.
“The main unique thing is we’re the first (co-working space) in Longmont,” Gold said. “There’s people in Longmont driving to Boulder to have a space.”
Gold, an entrepreneur himself, founded and for 23 years ran Gold Systems, which provided speech-recognition software applications for large enterprises. He’s also mentored at TechStars and elsewhere, and felt Launch was an idea Longmont was ripe for.
With its strong manufacturing and software bases, Gold said he believes Longmont could be well positioned to launch companies in the Internet of Things realm, among others.
Gold said Heinrichs and Meer, when they left Intrado earlier this year, approached him about starting an incubator or accelerator in Longmont. Those aspects will be added to Launch, but the founders felt that filling the need for co-working space in town was a way to get the doors open and start building a close-knit community of entrepreneurs.
“We’re not making a real estate play here,” Gold said. “It’s more about the education and mentoring. We’re really going to try and create a community of entrepreneurship. We’ve seen it work with other accelerators and incubators, and we think we can do it here in Longmont.”