Aspiring entrepreneurs have always had two options for finding affordable work space, neither of which are very exciting. They could work from home, tempted by television and their pajamas, or they could paste themselves to a stiff chair in a coffeshop and suffer a parade of noisy customers.
But now those aspiring entrepreneurs in Hoboken have another place to go. Mission Fifty, a new coworking space in the penthouse of the Hoboken Business Center, opened Wednesday morning.
The concept behind coworking is to provide a communal, conducive and collaborative work environment for professionals who don't need or aren't yet ready for a large, fixed-lease office. At Mission Fifty, members can occupy a fully functional shared office space including wireless internet, telephones, mailboxes, printing equipment, kitchen, teleconference room and comfortable seating, whether they need just a few hours a week or 24/7 access.
“We want to create an environment where people can be as productive and creative as possible,” Mission Fifty co-founder Michael Pierce said.
Mission Fifty itself is the result of such collaboration. The co-working space has three founding partners: Pierce, Aaron Price and Gregory Dell'Aquila. They met only earlier this year. Dell'Aquila was already known in Hoboken as a prominent real estate developer, while entrepreneur Price has been building his name locally as the organizer for the Hoboken based New Jersey Tech Meetup.
Pierce met Price during the January tech meetup, and while grabbing beers later that night he suggested to Price that Hoboken could use a coworking space. Price told Pierce he had been thinking the same thing, and together they contacted Dell'Aquila, who says he also immediately saw potential in the idea.
“I kind have always wanted to do a shared office space,” Dell'Aquila said. “I took the call, we set up a meeting and our personalities clicked.”
Thus Mission Fifty started evolving from an idea to a reality. Within the partnership Dell'Aquila offered capital funding, building expertise and space in his Hoboken Business Center. Pierce has and will oversee the daily operations, while marketing expert Price has already been coaxing Mission Fifty recruits from the 1,000 member and counting tech meetup group.
The name Mission Fifty comes from the approximate number of members the 3,000 square foot penthouse space initially will hold (and its 50 Harrison Street location) and for what Price describes is the mindset that drives successful entrepreneurs.
"Entrepreneurs are on a mission," Price said. "They have to be very determined."
Price said that members will have to apply for spots in Mission Fifty to make sure they are serious about using the space for business. The goal is to see members become successful in their ventures so that they will "graduate" to a need for employees and bigger offices.
Rental prices for Mission Fifty range between $160 and $900 per month, depending on whether members need sporadic or daily, shared or dedicated space use.
Already on day one visitors taking the free two-week grand opening tour were getting work done inside closed-door Mission Fifty cubicles and on the communal tables.
One of those visitors, tech consultant and entrepreneur Todd Hamilton, said he was very impressed and is interested in applying. Hamilton said he had tried various coworking spaces in New York but found them to be too chaotic.
“This is nicer than New York, more private, quieter,” he said.
Hamilton said the top benefit of working in a shared space is the "proximity of the feedback." Someone who designs say, a logo, can immediately share it with his or her neighbors and get a reaction, giving them a sense of what will or won't succeed.
That's the sort of vibrant, cooperative atmosphere that John Petersen, a Hoboken based financial planner, was seeking when he applied for membership in Mission Fifty. Having so far been one of the first members accepted, Petersen started moving in on the first day.
“From what I have seen I'm expecting a group of successful people here working on some cool stuff,” he said.
To get a glimpse of that cool stuff, you can tour and use the Mission Fifty coworking space during its two-week open house running through September 09. Anyone interested can receive a free pass here.