More Than Just Coworking Buzz in Allentown at Hive4A
Upon opening the door to the expansive Hackerspace at Hive4A
in Allentown, a first-of-its-kind coworking space and tech hub located inside the expansive Bridgeworks Enterprise Center
, the frenzy that is Developer Friday makes itself apparent.
It’s one of the many monthly events that have popped up here to bring together the bubbling technology community. For example, many participants from the spring’s Lehigh Valley Hackathon 2012
, like members of the startup Good Semester
, Autistic Touch
app founder Jason Lotito, and Menu Genie
founder Mark Koberlein, are here cranking away at their latest ideas.
If this is ground zero for Lehigh Valley techies, they are here because of – not in spite of – the facility’s professional feel.
''Hackerspace is unique because it is located in a manufacturing building, so it provides more space, not a typical store front look,” says contract developer Tim Lytle
Says Koberlein: “A more corporate feel, more business like.''
Matthew Tuerk, assistant director of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation
, which launched Hive4A as an entrepreneurial initiative as part of Bridgeworks incubator program in 2011, says that the former industrial building was the perfect space to develop flexible coworking options for area tech professionals, startups and entrepreneurs.
“We saw a gap in space available for early entrepreneurs. for people to get out of their garages and dining rooms and share ideas,” says Tuerk. “I wanted to create a library feel, where you can turn to your left or right and ask for help, for a line of code, or just about paying the bills. A place where people are creating and working on projects together. I wanted to give entrepreneurs low risk and low cost space in which to grow and develop.”
During the course of Developer Friday , the Good Semester team took advantage of the people gathered in the coworking space to help develop its marketing plan and generate ideas on how to conduct outreach. Instant feedback is definitely a benefit of working here.
Hive4A’s hackerspace measures 3,500 square feet, can seat 20 and hosts weekly open house events on Thursdays from 6:30-9:30 p.m., usually including folks from Make Lehigh Valley
, a group of hackers, makers and artists, brings a new take on manufacturing in a space that formerly served as a Mack Trucks plant. There are also six smaller spaces available for lease at $150 per month to artists and makers. Coworking memberships start at $25 per month and include shared reception and mail and use of conference rooms and break-out spaces.
Allentown City Council members toured the facility just last week. Up to 10 coworkers are in Hive4A at any given time during the week. There’s plenty of room for growth, and Tuerk believes the facility’s early success will attract more like-minded participants.
“We want companies that embrace the values of coworking. It is not so much about what they are doing, its more about how they are doing it,” says Tuerk.
NATALIA DE JESUS MARTINEZ-COLON is a freelance writer based in Allentown. Originally from Puerto Rico. She enjoys writing about news, fashion, music and technology. Send feedback here.
PHOTOS BY NATALIA DE JESUS MARTINEZ-COLON
Jason Rappaport, founder of Good Semester working on his company's marketing plan
Jason Lotito (right), founder of Autistic touch and developer Charles Schmidt
Good Semester team
Developers at work