The free and public event was all about advocating collaboration between small businesses. Guests enjoyed food from Pharm Table and beverages from Black Laboratory Brewing while mingling between vendor tables. Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) kick-started the event to discuss the tech landscape of San Antonio and how SpaceCadet is impacting it.
“When I think of what SpaceCadet is doing, I think of it as a space where the American dream is made because the entrepreneurs working in those spaces are living out the American dream,” Calvert said.
SpaceCadet acts like a commercial Airbnb and rents out vacant spaces downtown to small businesses and startups. SpaceCadet lists spaces that can be rented by the hour, day, week or month.
“It allows entrepreneurs to get their business started with less risk,” said Steven Quintanilla, SpaceCadet co-founder. “For the landlord it allows them a revenue stream to offset their property expenses while they find a long term tenant.
“Having the website that lets us list and post spaces and lets people pay and reserve spaces doesn’t make us unique — it’s just a listing website. What makes us unique is having that technology in combination with our activation strategy in combination with our property network. Those three things together make us one of a kind on the planet.”
But the activation event was not about SpaceCadet — it was about connecting local startups. Quintanilla said SpaceCadet would not have made it to where they are today without collaboration.
“We are a living example of collaboration,” Quintanilla said. “The startup world is very over-glamorized for a lot of people. It’s really just a really intense grind. Ultimately, at the very beginning, the only real resource you have is collaboration because you don’t have money and you don’t even know what your idea really is. So for us, we had to collaborate a ton to get where we are, which is what we are doing here.”
As an entrepreneur, there is a 90% chance, especially if you are a small business owner, that your business will fail in the first 12 to 18 months, depending on who you ask, Quintanilla said. SpaceCadet minimizes the fallout by allowing entrepreneurs to buy space at a monthly rate so they have time to adjust and determine what they want out of a workspace.
SpaceCadet has rented more than 100,000 sq. ft. of property since it started renting out spaces in 2014, Quintanilla said. It currently has several dozen properties listed, but each property can have multiple rentable spaces within it.
Some of the small businesses and startups that use SpaceCadet for their current location include legal companies, gaming startups and art studios.
Ultimately, Quintanilla said SpaceCadet is looking to expand its technology and raise funds to hire a bigger team and work on a pilot program they hope to launch this fall. The company will continue to focus on San Antonio, but intends to eventually expand to Austin and other Texas cities.
“Our goal is to be the world’s largest landlord without owning any property,” Quintanilla said.
Top image: SocialPath Solutions Co-Founder Al Hopper pitches his startup to guests. Photo by Scott Ball.