NextSpace Shows a New Way to Work

10/27/10

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double invoices, missing credits and other errors in the books of big companies who may spend millions of dollars per year on procurement; ACR (acapellarecords.com), which helps a capella groups distribute their music; and a sex coach named Katherine Forsyth.

Members help each other. The best example of this so far is Rally Up, a mobile social network founded by nine people who met at NextSpace in Santa Cruz while they were working on other businesses. In August, AOL acquired Rally Up and the team for an undisclosed amount of money.

The San Francisco location is at 28 2nd Street, in the startup-heavy South of Market district. Neuner wants to open more NextSpace locations in the Bay Area, and, if those go well, expand across the U.S. Brian and Capozzi are helping him figure out what it is about NextSpace that can be exported.

Orange, for instance, is NextSpace’s signature color, both for the furniture and the wall that members can write on when they’re brainstorming. Both NextSpace offices are in light, bright, central downtown locations, and neither is above the third floor of their buildings. “We want people to be able to see the street and feel that energy,” Brian says.

Last month, NextSpace announced a relationship with WavePoint Ventures, in which NextSpace will run a mentoring program for small businesses whose founders want to learn to raise venture capital. Financial details haven’t been disclosed, but the idea is that WavePoint will have a chance to find new, interesting, out-of-the-way investments.

“We think there’s a lot of distributed innovation going on—bright teams can start companies almost anywhere by plugging into the cloud and outsourcing—[and] while there’s a lot of support for business infrastructure in Silicon Valley, it’s less available in smaller markets like Santa Cruz,” says Peter Gardner, managing director of WavePoint. “This is a natural way to find new businesses, through local partners who are part of the fabric. We’re enthusiastic—we’re seeing some interesting young companies.”

Deborah Gage is a technology writer based in the Bay Area. Follow @

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