WeWork to open large coworking space near TechTown

Coworking giant WeWork, which already operates two spaces in downtown Detroit, will open up a third on Cass Avenue in TechTown. The new location will more than double its footprint in the city.

Crain’s Detroit Business reports that WeWork will lease 91,000 square feet of space in the building at 6001 Cass Avenue at York Street, which is owned by developer The Platform. It will occupy part of the first floor, and all of floors two through five.

WeWork also leases four floors at 1001 Woodward Avenue and seven floors at 1449 Woodward Avenue totaling 85,000 square feet. Both downtown buildings are owned by Dan Gilbert.

WeWork declined to comment to Crain’s about the news, and it’s uncertain when the office will open. At its other Detroit locations, a basic floating desk membership plan starts at $300.

The Albert Kahn–designed building at Cass Avenue opened in 1927 as the Cadillac Sales and Service Building. It later housed WSU’s Criminal Justice department, but had been vacant for some years before being purchased by The Platform in 2016 for $2 million.

View from the intersection of the corner of a square, six-story limestone building. Two red “For Lease” signs hang on the side.
6001 Cass Avenue Google Street View
Other tenants in the approximately 130,000-square-foot building include Novi-based Tata Technologies and a Wayne State University art gallery. It’s slated to open this fall.

Before being put on hold earlier this year, The Platform had been working on a nearby, large-scale development plan called Cass & York that called for luxury condos.

WeWork made headlines in August before its initial public offering after releasing its S-1 filing which showed it was losing nearly $2 billion annually. The company operates more than 525 locations in more than 110 cities worldwide.

TechTown named Detroit host for Erie Hack water innovation competition

TechTown Detroit has been named the Detroit host for Erie Hack, an international, tech-driven water innovation competition and accelerator program. TechTown will launch the months-long series of events with an Erie Hack Challenge Kickoff on February 23 from 5-8 p.m. at TechTown, 440 Burroughs, Detroit.

Erie Hack will bring together coders, developers, engineers and water experts to generate creative solutions to challenges facing the Lake Erie watershed. The competition focuses on creating publicly accessible mobile apps, open data and new technology to elevate the value of clean water and leverage its potential to drive the economic vitality of the Great Lakes region. Other participating cities are Buffalo, Cleveland, Erie, Toledo and Windsor.

The Challenge Kickoff will provide details on the competition and acceleration process. The Kickoff and additional meetups will provide opportunities to form teams of up to five, who will then work to create innovative hardware or software technology through a series of day-long Hacking Events in each city.

On April 13, teams will convene at TechTown for the Erie Hack Semifinals, where a panel of judges will select the top eight teams from all participating cities to advance to the finals in Cleveland. After two weeks of intensive iteration, the finalists will compete for $100,000 in prize money as they present their solutions at the Erie Hack Water Innovation Summit on May 2 and 3, 2017.

“There is a meaningful role for tech entrepreneurs to play in the blue economy,” says Paul Riser, TechTown’s managing director for technology-based entrepreneurship. “Erie Hack will enable TechTown and our partners in New York, Ohio and Ontario to support some of the best and brightest ideas out there, both during the event and after, as we support teams in moving promising solutions forward.”

Each team will address one of six challenge statements or water-related problems, which were developed during regional ideation sessions and are described in detail on the Erie Hack web site:

1. Mitigate Nutrient Loading and Its Environmental Impacts
2. Reduce and Remediate Urban Pollution
3. Cultivate Resilience in Water Infrastructure Systems
4. Manage Aging Water Infrastructure Systems
5. Connect Communities to the Value of Water
6. Drive the Creation of Meaningful Data

“We’re looking forward to officially launching this competition, which we believe will spark brilliant ideas around water innovation that can be implemented throughout the Lake Erie basin,’’ says Bryan Stubbs, executive director of the Cleveland Water Alliance, which is managing the event in collaboration with DigitalC. The Detroit events are presented in partnership with Wayne State University and supported by a grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

For more information, to register and to view the full schedule of events, visit eriehack.io.

To register for the Detroit Kickoff Challenge event, visit challengekickoff.eventbrite.com.

DTX Launch Detroit accepting applications for student tech accelerator


DTX Launch Detroit, a 10-week technology startup accelerator for college students and recent graduates, is accepting applications for summer 2016. An information session will be held on February 24 from 6-8pm at TechTown Detroit, 440 Burroughs, Detroit.

Launch Detroit covers all the fundamentals of launching a new enterprise, including:

• Designing, testing, and evaluating your value proposition
• Finding the right product/market fit
• Developing your business model canvas
• Conducting customer discovery
• Team building
• Pitch coaching

Launch Detroit is open to undergraduate and graduate-level students, as well as recent graduates (within two years), from any Michigan college or university. Michigan residents attending college out of state are also eligible. Participants will receive a stipend of $2,500 per individual (up to $7,500 per team). The program culminates with a Showcase, featuring a pitch competition with awards for the top-ranked teams.

“DTX Launch Detroit is an intensive, real-world acceleration program,” says Betsy Reid Creedon, TechTown’s director of entrepreneurial services. “We work our students hard, but in return they learn, grow, meet key members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and leave with new resources and a stronger concept for their enterprise. Many of our graduates say this program kickstarted their business.”

Nearly 100 students from more than 10 colleges and universities have participated to date in Launch Detroit, which is now in its fourth year. Select DTX graduates have gone on to enter incubation at TechTown.

Launch Detroit is a program of the Detroit Technology Exchange (DTX), a strategic partnership between TechTown Detroit, Bizdom, Invest Detroit, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, NextEnergy and TechStars Mobility—Driven by Detroit. The program is supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Michigan Strategic Fund and the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan.

The application period closes on April 22, 2016.

To RSVP for the February 24 info session, visit bit.ly/DTXinfo

To apply to DTX Launch Detroit, visit dtx-launch-app.techtowndetroit.org

For more information, visit techtowndetroit.org/launchdetroit

TechTown is Detroit’s business innovation hub. As the city’s most established business accelerator and incubator, TechTown connects startup, emerging and established businesses to a broad network of resources, catalyzing the local economy.