Google takes CoCo, a Minneapolis workspace firm, under its wing

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 25, 2013 - 8:56 PM

The business incubator is one of seven firms across the U.S. that will get financial, technical help.

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Kevin Quinlan, who runs a one-person marketing firm from the workspace firm CoCo, showed off his free T-shirt on Wednesday. Lunch was on Google, too.

Photo: Steve Alexander • alex@startribune.com,

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Google Inc. said Wednesday that it will become a financial and technical partner with technology workspace firm CoCo in Minneapolis and similar companies in six other cities.

The plan calls for CoCo to be part of the Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network. Google said the network will “support entrepreneurs and provide a stimulus for the economy in local communities.”

While the announcement was made in Chicago, Google gave entrepreneurs at the CoCo facility in downtown Minneapolis free T-shirts and a free lunch Wednesday. CoCo, which stands for Coworking & Collaborative Space, has two locations in Minneapolis and one St. Paul.

“Not too long ago, entrepreneurs in Minnesota had to work and develop their ideas in isolation, without collaboration and support from mentors,” CoCo co-founder Kyle Coolbroth said in a statement. “CoCo has helped change that situation, and as a result we’re seeing more successes among our start-ups.”

Google said CoCo and other workspace locations — in Chicago, Waterloo, Ont., Nashville, Durham, N.C., Denver and Detroit — will obtain greater access to Google experts and products and participate in a number of Google events each year. The seven locations also will share their experiences through quarterly phone calls provided by Google.

It was the second cooperative venture between CoCo and Google. The first, which began in February, allowed CoCo to host nearly 50 free events for entrepreneurs and technology workers that to date have been attended by about 4,000 people.

Google said the Tech Hub Network idea grew out of conversations with individual workspace companies, which wanted more collaboration between the facilities in different cities.

“We are happy to facilitate that,” said John Lyman, head of partnerships for Google for Entrepreneurs, in a statement. “Our team has been incredibly impressed with the great work these hubs have done in their cities.”

For its part, CoCo recently expanded beyond serving only start-ups and entrepreneurs by attracting an established software company, Navitor Inc. of North Mankato, Minn., to its new Lake Street location. Navitor said at the time that it hoped that having some of its people work at the CoCo facility would help it recruit more technology professionals.

 

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553

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