Founders is officially open


Twenty-five days ago we were handed the keys to the Founders space. That very afternoon saw people sitting on the floor against the wall, computers in hand borrowing internet from our neighbors. Then there were tables. Then a week later there were more tables. This weekend saw another set of tables that I haven’t even had time to blog about yet.

Why all this talk of tables? Because wherever we put them, so far, they are filled with smart folks working and making awesome things. In our first twenty-five days at Founders, these tables have defined us.

And now we can share those tables with you, because Founders is officially open to the public.

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You can now fund Founders via our community model

I’m happy to announce the Power Founders system, where you (our community members) can support us directly.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Determine how much Founders is worth to you. We’ve broken down the costs of operation into units of time (hours, shifts, days, etc.) so you can easily find the best option for you. See those options on the fund Founders page.
  2. Opt in and support Founders.
  3. Receive recognition within the community for your contribution as well as the perks that come with each level.

Those who opt-in to funding Founders will appear on the Founders Community site and  earn special badges that follow you around the Founders network. The more you support Founders, the cooler the badges you’ll get. And who doesn’t love badges?

Funding Founders is completely optional, of course. By just showing up you’re making Founders a stronger, better community of people. As you find that Founder is useful to you, though, and you want to show your gratitude you can do so by visiting the funding page and tossing a few dollars our way.

Whether you choose to fund Founders or not, we do hope you swing by sometime soon. After all, we’re officially open now!


Founders: Day 4 brought stools, check in systems, and more tables

I sort of feel like a broken record, but Founders is still quite active as it finishes up its fourth (still pre-launch) day. We’ve seen yet more shows of generosity and folks in the community excited about the vision behind this space.

First, more furniture came. More accurately, it materialized in the space. Ben Johnson brought in and assembled one of the largest tables I’ve seen in a long time. He also brought in and donated a few pieces of electronics the other day; much more and we’ll have to look into naming the building after him.

Andy Dunn — who is largely responsible for everything great about 91.1 The Point — swung by with a dining room chair and table set. Want proof that it’s useful? Just this morning I spotted our own Steve Franks meeting with Jeremy Diller (whose work includes Devcelerator) in one of our rooms this morning using that set. Thanks Andy!

Steve Batzka has been swinging by with a stool-per-day a couple of days in a row now — that’s as much as he can fit into his car and bring by, he said. Not only has he provided seats for Founders, but he was part of a group from Spark Tank that came by for a tour and ended up using one of our windows as a whiteboard to brainstorm. It was so fun seeing someone other than us using the windows that way.

To top it all off, Nick Arnett (who will forever be known as a wordsmith in my book) wrote up a blog post talking about Founders. It’s our first coverage within the community (outside of bite-sized Twitter and Facebook updates) and we’re psyched about it. Thanks Nick!

Internally we’ve completed a prototype of an iPad check-in system near the front door (shown in the gallery of photos below) along with a new site showing how much collective time has been spent at Founders by those checked in. It’s a lot of fun watching that number go up.

Even as I type this new and updated locks are being fastened to our doors and the internet is being installed. It seems as though every day brings a little bit more action to Founders, and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities. We’re working on a public list of things we need as well, for those interested in helping us get moving sooner. Expect that, a calendar of events, and a few big plans for later this month.

Thanks to everyone who has pitched in so far — we’ll launch before you know it!

Nick Arnett: Founders is more than coworking


Throughout the past five days, Founders has already seen over a dozen people use it as a place to work out of and dozens more pass through to see what all the excitement is about. I’ve spent the last few days observing how people interact with the space and “founders” calling it home, and one thing is clear: Fort Wayne’s startup scene has finally hit a critical mass of people to be able to support a location like this.

Nick’s full write-up on Founders can be found on the City Seven blog.

Founders: Day Three brings chairs, network, and coworking

Sunday was another big day for Founders — thanks entirely to the community that is forming around it.

Destany and Mitch of Colagrossi Studio were kind enough to pick up a handful of tables and chairs during their trip to Ikea this weekend. The assembly process and tables successfully in use are pictured below. Thanks guys!

Justin Jones fought with, but eventually won, a mighty battle against the local Founders network. Though we don’t yet have internet we can play music throughout the space.

Ashley (who I’m quite fond of, mind you) has been crazy awesome all weekend in helping to get the space cleaned up and ready for, well, humans. Floors, bathrooms, supplies — she’s the best.

In addition to all of this news I’m also happy to say Sunday was the first day when I felt true coworking took place at Founders. To be clear, work has been started and completed since the first hour of operation. But it was really Sunday when a few folks sat together, worked on collaboratively and on their own projects, and gave us all a taste of just what Founders can accomplish.

And it was sweet.

Starting into the Founders website

A decent part of my weekend at Founders was spent assembling a working logo (which you can see above in the site’s header) and starting work on a proper website. I tried to take a few snapshots of the site as I worked on it, and thought it might be fun to share the progress.

I started with little more than default theme, since the fastest way to a functioning site was to not start from scratch. A bit of playing around and I had something a bit different.

Choosing the right header image for the site took a bit of searching, but we all agreed this is the best one for the moment. We’ll likely change it a dozen times in the near future, but for today at least it’s perfect.

The logo brought the site a step closer, but it still felt very stock. So I played around with the menu style and location a bit.

The more I use the new navigation the more it grows on me, but we’ll see. I do like that the chat link in the menu includes a visual cue letting you know it goes to another website (which is, of course, our public chat blog where anyone who stops by is welcome to join in the conversation).

Now there’s just the stock content/sidebar layout that is common to many websites, and that I think with a few font and style tweaks will feel all our own. For the past few hours I’ve been enjoying filling the site with content — although you might have noticed that by now.

There’s still a lot to do, but I’m satisfied with the progress for a late afternoon and evening’s work. The site is proudly built on WordPress, of course, and a child theme of Twenty Eleven to boot. Perhaps I’ll put a post together soon detailing how we’re thinking through and structuring our network of sites. It will be pretty integral to many of our (near) future plans for Founders.

Founders: Day Two

It’s crazy how much can happen in just 24 hours. The second day of Founders history saw donated furniture from awesome members of the Founders community:

  • Founders Partner Steve Franks brought in his traveling desk-table and his chair so he could start getting stuff done. (I like to imagine he strapped the table and supplies to his back and biked them all the way from his place.) He also brought a couch to add some seating to one of our storefront rooms.
  • Nick Arnett (of the Twelve Cities project) and his parents John and Sally kindly brought over a table that fit perfectly with the room, along with five matching chairs. The value of working surfaces and places to sit for a space like ours — particularly in the early stages — really can’t be overstated.
  • Benjamin Johnson was nice enough to donate a network share drive and 24 port switch to Founders. So awesome!
  • Paige, one of our neighbors over at Downtown Grind swung by with a bit of their leftover food from the day, which everyone appreciated as the day came to a close.
  • Ashley and I brought along a couple of small tables and a couple of chairs too.

In addition to the furniture we are beginning to see a nice collection of equipment popping up too. Spare computers and monitors, and audio odds and ends are just waiting for a place to sit and be useful. There are dry erase markers for use on the windows and whiteboards, coffee pot and supplies for when our friends at Downtown Grind aren’t open, and podcasting equipment when the mood arises to record a quick episode of (the upcoming) Founders Podcast.

We’re all still happily surprised by how quickly things are moving along. Huge thanks to everyone that has stepped up and is helping us get things going at Founders — it’s really coming together now!

Day One at Founders

Only a few hours after we had the keys to the space on Harrison Street did we start hearing about Founders — a name virtually nobody should have known about at that point — from random folks walking by on the street. So. Cool.

Also, evidence that people in this city talk a lot.

Forgive the day one photos including a beer, but I just couldn’t go without celebrating a little bit.

Location scouting for Founders

It was only five days ago now that 614 South Harrison came up during the scouting for a proper Founders location. The Founders idea was fresh, but the location was a mystery really; all we could see were the two storefront windows. We knew we like that, but what about the rest of the space?

Well, we ended up liking that a lot too.