By Dakota Parks for Northwest Florida's Business Climate
The pandemic has permanently altered where, how and when we work. Suddenly commercial office spaces were left empty as workers set up camp at kitchen tables and makeshift desks in their homes. This reimagining of the office space and work culture resulted in an insurgence of remote workers, hybrid work schedules, unprecedented career switches and an even greater need for coworking spaces that break the monotony of remote work, inspire new ideas and accelerate businesses. Prior to the pandemic, coworking spaces were the fastest- growing type of office space in the commercial real estate sector.
While they currently comprise less than five percent of the market, they’re expected to make up 30 percent by 2030, according to the real estate company JLL. Despite their growth, coworking spaces have also had to pivot and reimagine their own spaces for this insurgence of remote workers. One such space, JettyIoT (Internet of Things), located at 3500 Barrancas Avenue, first opened its doors in startup mode in March 2020 and has been steadily building relationships with the entrepreneurial community and supporting the growth of its current members.
As the only technology-centric coworking space in Pensacola, JettyIoT is open to an array of businesses and entrepreneurs but specializes in accelerating and supporting growth- stage entrepreneurs in the many facets of the tech field including but not limited to IoT, software and app design, marine technology, sensor- based technology and Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. After many pandemic-related cancellations, JettyIoT is officially hosting an open house on January 12, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm for the public to explore the space, meet the team and learn more about their entrepreneurial workspace.
“I think startups, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young businesses and the entire community are always going to need a community space, where they can gather, where they can get advice, mentorship and access to resources,” JettyIoT Community Director Karen McLouth explained. “If you’re not in the room, in a shared space, you don’t get the same sense of collaboration or those passing conversations that spark ideas. I think shared workspaces are always going to be needed for people to break the monotony of their home office, get energized from others and change their perspectives.”
JettyIoT’s 11,000-square-foot space is designed to help members shake up their perspectives as they can choose to work from a private workstation, a small office or prop up their feet and get cozy in one of the several comfy areas with sofas and coffee tables. Members also have access to a meeting room and conference room, a soundproof music/media room and a makerspace equipped with a 3D printer, CNC machine and various tools to work on projects.
Other amenities include 24/7 access to the space, fiber internet, free parking, mail service, ergonomic workstations, storage space, free coffee and access to the kitchen. JettyIoT offers flexible, month-to-month memberships to suit most budgets and stages of business, from part-time desks to 24/7 offices and all-inclusive amenities. The makerspace, media room and meeting rooms can also be rented by non-members. Members not only gain access to this retrofitted space but also gain access to vital resources, mentorship and networking to help accelerate business.
“Our founders, Tom and Carol Patterson, are entrepreneurs, mentors and philanthropists with a background in technology entrepreneurship,” McLouth explained. “They set out to support local entrepreneurs and create an entrepreneurial center with great amenities while also being able to accelerate growth stage companies and provide access to capital and potential investment partners. We also offer sales and marketing mentoring and engagement for young companies that are trying to focus on revenue growth, particularly in SaaS revenue models.”
Through this mentorship and access to resources, JettyIoT is able to accelerate businesses and help startups flourish while also cutting their cost of establishing initial office space or headquarters. Two startups that JettyIoT has invested in are CoFlyt, which developed an app to streamline maintenance for aircraft owners, and Tocaro Blue, which created vessel monitoring technology for boat owners.
As McLouth explained, JettyIoT also added flexible part-time membership to support remote workers and month-to-month memberships for startups.
“We realize that people have been working from home and some of them don't even want to come back. They're quite comfortable where they are,” she explained. “So, we have to be flexible. And we also have to pivot much like a lot of companies had to do during the pandemic. We didn't offer part-time membership before. Some people don't want to be at home all week and they just need a couple of days out to break that monotony of the same four walls or need that interaction, so we need to be flexible as well.”
McLouth is passionate about the power of coworking spaces to empower businesses and has been involved in managing coworking spaces in Pensacola since 2017. Despite the growing number of coworking spaces popping up across Pensacola, she explained that JettyIoT is dedicated to collaborating with other coworking spaces to help entrepreneurs any way they can.
“We all collaborate because we know each other and work together to help these startups as much as we can,” she said. “We want to keep their businesses here in Pensacola and grow Pensacola. At the end of the day, that's the plan to help these young companies—help build them, support them, mentor them, set them on their way and hope that they stay here and continue to grow. And that develops the local economy for everybody. I will help anyone that walks through our door, even if that means recommending them to a different coworking space that better suits their needs at the moment and hoping we can help them down the line.”
Whether you’re looking to book a conference room or need a dedicated space to get in the zone and get some work done, JettyIoT offers startups, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs a space to bring potential clients, network and work alongside other like-minded entrepreneurs. To learn more about JettyIoT, come out to their open house on January 12 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm or visit jettyiot.com.