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RI startups say ‘coworking’ helps to grow business

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Adam Alpert co-founded Pangea.app. The startup connects students with freelance jobs on demand.

“We have hundreds of students and dozens of companies,” Alpert said.

Pangea.app was the first client to move into CIC in Providence.

CIC—short for Cambridge Innovation Center—is one of the tenants of the massive Wexford Innovation Center. The building was one of the first projects to be completed on the former I-195 land.

CIC’s 62,000 square-foot coworking space is comprised of single desks and private offices. Clients share amenities including a stocked kitchen and office supplies.

“I have enough to deal with between fundraising, marketing, product development,” Alpert said. “The last thing I want to worry about is how I’m getting my mail.”

Down the hall, Zumper is planning to hire 10 new engineers to work on its apartment search platform.

The company’s Ed Giardina said amentities offered in coworking spaces help attract talented employees.

“Even in the first conversations with potential applicants, they know about the space and are excited to see it,” Giardina said. “They have a lot to pick from and we have to do everything we can to get them.”

Coworking is not a new concept but it is expanding and evolving.

The number of coworking spaces in the U.S. soared from 300 in 2010 to more than 4,000 in 2017, according to Colliers International.

Fourteen percent of employees who work at large companies work from a coworking space at least part of the time. Many employers consider it a perk of the job outside of a traditional office, according to Gensler Research Institute.

“Our clients don’t have to worry about the back end,” said Rebecca Webber, the general manager of CIC Providence. “They come in with their computers and they’re set up for success.”

“We firmly believe that bringing people together will improve ideas, amplify ideas and will drive success,” she added.

Webber declined to say how many clients are using the Providence coworking space, but she said space is still available. The cost starts at $300 per month per person.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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