We know you have been waiting with bated breath to hear updates about Switchyards’ program and space for the past year. Exhale, we have the scoop. Switchyards Downtown Club, started by Scoutmob Founder, Michael Tavani, will be officially opening this Fall. The building was purchased on April 30th and the demolition and renovations (which will take about three and a half months to complete) starts this week.
The timing is perfect. Atlanta needs density around consumer and design startups. Buckhead is well known for SaaS and fintech clusters and Midtown is chock full of super high tech and healthcare folks. With the addition of Switchyards, Downtown will be known for consumer, design and civic entrepreneurship (being driven by the Center for Civic Innovation). The other new kid on the Downtown block is FlatironCity, who is renovating and building in stealth mode at the moment.
In line with Switchyards’ vision to create and foster a gathering place for design-focused doers they have announced the first startups to join the Switchyards community. Even though the building isn’t set to open until the Fall, “a few weeks ago we decided that we should announce the first three or four companies to give the Atlanta startup community a sense of the types of companies that will be in Switchyards,” says Tavani. “We identified ten great target companies and teams with the hopes that we’d get three of them to toss their hats into the ring at this early date. We were totally blown away and humbled when eight of them committed early!” Check out our exclusive rundown below.
Switchyards’ 1st companies in their own words:
Local Roots is a community-focused marketplace for the local food movement. Our goal is to help bring food back to its “local roots” by encouraging growers and makers in all communities. Neighborhoods are the center of everything Local Roots does. Through our platform, users welcome each other into their backyards and kitchens, providing them with produce, baked goods, or whatever tasty, seasonal fare they have to offer. These interactions aren’t just about eating – they are opportunities to connect, to learn, and to build a more vibrant, sustainable community.
Everyday Industries is a digital design agency. We are user experience designers and researchers who are excited by interesting problems and inspired by the ways people use technology. We work with consumer facing companies to create thoughtful and beautifully designed digital products.
We approach design as a conversation. For the design to be great, it has to consider the needs of both the client and their customers. Our collaborative process incorporates the client at every step. Together, we make informed design decisions that result in intuitive products that are loved by the people who use them.
Formed in early 2014, Walkabout has grown quickly from a concept to an event mapping force in the Southeast. The brainchild of Atlanta entrepreneur Tres Crow, the Walkabout platform combines interactive event mapping with a schedule of events to create a unique mobile solution for festivals, events, and destinations. The concept behind Walkabout is simple: give visitors what they actually need to navigate a new place—where everything is, when everything is happening, and where the visitor is in all of it. Walkabout does this in one easy-to-use, web-based interface that is updated by a local administrator, so it’s always accurate. By focusing on design, simplicity, and efficiency, Walkabout is poised to become the new standard for interactive event and destination mapping.
MoGraph Mentor is an online motion graphics training program, with an emphasis on career development. We save you time and money, by connecting you to industry professionals who will work with you to grow your portfolio and your skill set. This program is for students who are looking to pursue a full time career as a motion designer. And since the entire program is online, you can be a part of MoGraph Mentor from anywhere with an internet connection.
Founded in 2013 and now at large in over 130 cities, Bellhops is an online platform for physical help on demand. We connect you with exceptional local college students to help you pack, lift, and move your things. Relocating? Reorganizing? Renovating? Allow us.
Vayando connects curious travelers with micro-entrepreneurs in emerging economies around the world. By 2030, travel to developing countries will account for nearly 60% of the travel market, or 1 billion travelers annually. Our mission is to utilize growth and diversification in the global tourism industry to unlock economic opportunity for entrepreneurs toward the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. We provide an online booking platform for travelers to connect directly with entrepreneurs motivated in sharing local skills and livelihood practices. We are live in Rwanda and Costa Rica, with a 100 country goal. Experiences range from pottery making with Gatagara Cooperative to hillside farming with Maritza. Through our field partners such as Peace Corps, Care International, and the Rainforest Alliance, Vayando identifies motivated entrepreneurs, creates profiles for them, and promotes them on our website. Travelers get immersive experiences while entrepreneurs gain opportunity to sustain their livelihood or build their small business.
Hux is a marketplace for local services. Hux makes it easy to find, schedule and pay for a local service provider like a house cleaner, landscaper, plumber or tutor. Currently available for house cleaning in Atlanta, Hux is rapidly expanding into new cities and services.
Fittery is a digital marketplace dedicated to helping shoppers find perfectly-fitting clothes. Using a combination of a user’s body size and fit preferences, Fittery’s proprietary technology determines which clothing fits their body the best and provides personalized recommendations across a wide selection of brands and categories. From our marketplace of brands, shoppers can browse and compare items that fit them best and purchase directly from the retailer.
Why a Physical Space and a Focus on Design:
Tavani’s idea for a designed-focused coworking space stemmed from his observations of the Internet’s rapid development in recent years. “Now that most of the infrastructure is in place for everyone to have powerful devices connected to very fast pipes, engaging customers on a higher psychological plane is becoming the primary way to differentiate most web-based businesses,” he says. “What also became apparent is that a focus on such a new segment in Atlanta means that the companies are typically much earlier in their development. If you are starting an online security startup in Atlanta, you’ll likely run across co-founders, employees, investors, and advisors who can help accelerate your efforts. Because these basic building blocks aren’t in place in Atlanta for B2C startups, many of these efforts are slow to progress from the idea stage to launch to initial traction.”
“Every day we’ll work hard to figure out how new consumer startups in Atlanta can put design at their core,” continues Tavani. “At Switchyards, we believe what we can build on top of coworking is what’s even more valuable to startups.” Not only will Switchyards feature like-minded companies, it will also house Atlanta and possibly the nation’s first members-only coffee shop, called Western & Atlantic, named after the rail lines whose terminus was the original location of Atlanta.
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