Melbourne will get another co-working space in the form of Electron Workshop, which, in addition to partnering with Flexicar, plans to build a dedicated hacker area within the venue.
Electron Workshop, located at 31 Arden Street in North Melbourne, was founded by Martin Gleeson and Nick Jaffe. Between them, Gleeson and Jaffe operate five businesses.
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They include umbrella company Arktisma, which oversees Electron Workshop, two web hosting services, an online bicycle store and Autosystems, a dealership management system vendor.
Jaffe says Electron Workshop was born out of a desire to “have something larger for our own businesses”.
“I guess we wanted a really amazing office and we wanted to be around other interesting people. We found a space and spent a few months renovating, and opened in February,” he says.
“It was pretty organic. We didn’t set out to set up a co-working space.”
There are currently 13 permanent members and three or four casual members, Jaffe says, but the target is to have about 20 permanent members, and between five and 10 casuals.
“Our interest, as opposed to some of the spaces which are concentrated on the start-up scene, is in… [more established] self-started businesses and consultants and things like that,” he says.
“In terms of the people here at the moment, we have one start-up called Digital Pigeon. We have consultants doing digital agency-type work, designers, iOS developers – those sorts of people.”
Electron Workshop sets itself apart from other co-working spaces via a range of initiatives, including a partnership with Flexicar, which offers all Electron Workshop members “the best car-sharing rates possible”.
The Electron Workshop venue, which holds regular events and remains free of charge on Fridays, will also host a dedicated hacker area soon.
“That’s what will differentiate us a bit,” Jaffe says.
The venue, which spans 285 square metres, already features a kitchen, foosball table, shower, toilets, air conditioning, natural gas heating, bike racks and 100% carbon offset electricity.
There are some optional features including a soundproof meeting room/studio/mezzanine, rack space for backup and development servers, and private connectivity if required.
The founders’ long-term strategy for Electron Workshop is to provide a “completely transparent and member-driven space”.
“Our vision… is to provide a space and cultural hub for intellectual thought, work, openness, learning and collaboration tending towards, but not limited to, digital culture,” the website says.
“Our aim is to attract a diverse member community of creatives across all fields of endeavour, to work independently, but together.”
“Managed with open-book financials, the Electron Workshop represents the creation of a reusable co-working philosophy, incorporating our open business model [and] leadership.”