Co-working space Fishburners has recently signed a lease for 305 sqm of space on the ground floor of its building in Ultimo, Sydney.
The start-up co-op now occupies 1100 sqm of space over four floors, in addition to its other co-working space, 66 Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, Sydney.
Fishburners plans to lease out its newly acquired groundfloor space to six start-ups at $1710. The space will include two dedicated boardrooms and a smaller meeting room.
Around 150 tech start-ups now operate out of Fishburners, with three models at the co-working space - $300 per month for a full-time desk; $200 per month for shared hot desking and $1710 per month for a block of six desks.
Since April 2011, when Fishburners first started, Peter Bradd, founding director of Fishburners and CEO of his own start-up, ScribblePics, said there was a lot of latent demand for self-employed business people working from home who were looking for co-working spaces.
“A number of the tenants that originally moved in ... [were] businesses that were quite established and now we’ve been around for a year we’re getting a lot of people that want to become entrepreneurs and see us as a safe place to try out their ideas,” he told Computerworld Australia.
Bradd said globally, the start-up sector is steadily growing, with many more people now willing to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur.
While he said the age of entrepreneurs that run start-ups at Fishburners ranges from 18 up to 60, the average age is around 20 to 35 – before people settle down and start a family.
"It gets quite difficult to run your own business when you’ve got kids. So as soon as you have a family, it’s a lot more difficult to run a start-up because you’ve got to put food on the table,” Bradd said.
Younger, self-employed businesspeople, he said, are able to live with a parent or on a friend's couch if need be.
However, Bradd contends that many people have a misconceived idea about what an entrepreneur is and is working with the University of Technology, Sydney, to encourage students to learn more about what it really means to be an entrepreneur.
“The vision of an entrepreneur is very different to what it’s like. There’s a lot of hard work involved,” he said.
While Australian start-ups face the standard challenges of gaining venture capital, Bradd said businesses no longer need as much money to start a business now. For example, start-ups can operate out of their home or in co-op working spaces like Fishburners for less than it would cost to lease an office.
Corporations are now also realising the potential of supporting start-ups, with large corporations supporting start-ups. For example, Microsoft has developed an innovation centre to support start-ups in Brisbane.
Optus also recently announcing Innov8, which will provide funding and other support to start-ups in Sydney and Melbourne. The telco is also a platinum sponsor of Fishburners and has provided $100,000 in support to the working space and access to mentors. The NSW government has also provided $20,000 to Fishburners.
However, Bradd said one of the key challenges start-ups are now facing is finding good engineering talent.
“I’ve definitely found it hard to find developers, but the developers would say the business skills aren’t around, so it’s a bit of a chicken and egg [situation],” Bradd said.
“I think it’s hard to find developers. It took me six months to find a new co-founder. I’m a business guy and finding a tech guy took me six months. I know that other people have similar issues.”
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