Atlanta business owners back new startup spaces

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 22, 2014 at 9:32 am •  Published: June 22, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta came late to a national push toward more flexible and community-focused offices for startup companies. Now several residents, fresh off their own experiences running companies, are trying to help the city catch up in a hurry.

The latest is a combination incubator-office building focused on companies that cater directly to individual users rather than businesses. Michael Tavani, a co-founder of the coupon mobile app ScoutMob, is putting $2 million toward buying and rehabbing a downtown Atlanta brick building for the project.

It's a fraction of the $24 million Atlanta's David Cummings has poured into a building in the city's upscale Buckhead business center after selling his software company for $96 million in 2012. About 100 companies rent space at the Atlanta Tech Village, from solo desks on the first floor to 10-person offices on the fourth.

Both investments are sending the same message: One success isn't enough.

Tavani, 34, said he doesn't want to see the latest generation of Atlanta startup founders drift away from the city or the industry. When Cummings announced his plans, it shocked a city used to that approach by founders who made a big sale, Tavani said.

"They did the things you'd expect people who made money to do," he said. "I think David was truly the first to take money and go right back into the scene."

Cummings said he was focused on creating a culture at the building, renovated from a traditional office space to four floors of all glass walls dividing offices of varying sizes, community kitchens, an event space and — yes — nap rooms. Those quirks are meant to create places for employees of different companies to interact and share ideas.