The Holodeck coworking space in downtown Salt Lake was acquired by DeskHub on Thursday, May 7th. This is a telling statement about the strength of startups, coworking and Utah’s real estate. After all the effort Dan and John Might put into developing the Holodeck, it was a surprise seeing the press release announcing the acquisition.
Since its opening last October, Holodeck has been poised to succeed. Their main competitors have run into construction delays that delayed opening. Impact Hub used a temporary space until it could open its permanent location last week. Church & State has simply soldiered through construction debris and noise, hosting events and gaining tenants while their space comes together. Holodeck avoided significant delays and opened an impressive space from day one.
At the heart of the Might’s project was creating a space that added to Utah’s startup community and that meant having space available for startups. Potential tenants who wanted large portions of the space that could diminish the Might’s stated goal were passed over. Holodeck has flourished by adding tenants at a clip unpredicted by Dan’s projections.
Being acquired by DeskHub won’t change that goal either. John Might said the main reasons for agreeing to the deal were it provided additional financial stability for the Holodeck and he and Dan would still be able to run it as they have been. Becoming part of a larger, growing company will allow the brothers to have a bigger impact in other markets DeskHub operates in.
The announcement of the deal was made at the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) being held in Berkeley, California. DeskHub is in a rapid expansion mode having started up in three markets in 2014. CEO Jay Chernikoff is in talks to acquire several other coworking spaces in other metro areas using a similar strategy to the Holodeck deal.
For Holodeck clients, the transition to DeskHub should be unremarkable. Except for logos and branding, things should remain the same. John Might was happy the new deal should allow the hire of reception staff so he and Dan can have additional time to pursue other interests.
This deal sends a strong signal to Utah startups that other parts of the country are noticing the business successes the state is having. It also validates the coworking model, especially in downtown Salt Lake. Finally, it suggests faith in the Utah real estate market. (One part of the deal that was disclosed said DeskHub would take over the lease on the space Holodeck occupies.) A number of vacant downtown properties are in need of rehabbing and would make suitable coworking spaces for interested investors.
An infusion of outside interest and capital into Utah startups should be a good thing.