08 Mar Meet The Founder
When I considered what to write about for this blog series, I knew I had to interview Brett.
Brett Diamond is the Co-Founder of Venture X, which started its first location in Naples, FL, and he’s also the person who helped push me forward into what I am doing today. Brett is an entrepreneur and innovator who, together with his dad, David Diamond, brought Venture X to the Global stage through franchising. So let’s get started!
Jana: Brett, would you share a bit of how you got involved with coworking and the Venture X founding story with us?
Brett: I was introduced into coworking back in 2010 when I was in school at FGCU. My dad is an Angel Investor and invited me to travel with him to look at a company in San Francisco. It was during that trip that I visited my first coworking space. When we arrived, we saw this amazing vibe and energy from the companies working out of that space. During the travel home, my dad and I discussed what it would look like to bring that same concept to Naples, Florida, where we resided.
During my last year of university, my dad and I spent time building the marketing and business plan, picking out the design finishes, coming up with various names, colors, and logos, etc. It was all hustle and grind to prepare the space for launch in 2012.
Jana: You really did a lot of the leg work yourself when you started. What are one or two things that you wish you would have known or been told back then?
Brett: I can’t regret anything that happened as Venture X has been a tremendous success. However, the one downside of a new industry is the speed at which it changes. No brand really got it right the first time. One of the biggest shifts we saw in just a few years’ time was the market we would attract. We started in 2012 by marketing the space to stay at home business owners and small startups. However, that quickly shifted to focusing on the larger companies.
Jana: What has surprised you most about the coworking industry since you started?
Brett: I think the pure adoption of all industries and companies of any size. As I mentioned above, less than 10 years ago, this industry was focused on tech startups and solo entrepreneurs. Now a good percentage of our members are part of large companies, many of which are in the Fortune 500.
Jana: When you were navigating the choices of how to expand Venture X, what led you to choose to franchise?
Brett: We knew the brand we developed had the potential to work on a global scale. We also knew our members would benefit from having locations around the globe. We analyzed two ways to scale Venture X. Option 1 was to raise VC funds like many of our competitors and Option 2 was to franchise the model. One of our focuses from day 1 was on the entrepreneur. And because of that, I think that’s why we leaned towards the franchise route. We knew that each location would be run by someone as passionate about the members as we were.
Jana: You went from having one small location in Naples to growing a brand to be in Forbes 500 Franchises. What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to scale?
Brett: Scale smart. Many companies can raise funds and scale too fast. Not everyone will be the next WeWork. Focus on what makes you different and stick to that as you grow. Focus on each location as if it’s your first and continue to hustle like a startup.
Jana: As an owner, what sort of trends do you see coming in the next 5 years for coworking/flexible office space?
Brett: The trends we continue to see growth in are towards the large corporations. Experts in the commercial real estate market are showing that 30% of all office space will become shared space. Large companies are no longer going to be signing leases with building owners. They are going to be signing memberships with shared workspaces.
Jana: With your success in coworking, what is your next adventure?
Brett: I’m not sure yet. We still love this space and will most likely open a few more locations.
Jana: Where are you considering more locations at?
Brett: We don’t have anything picked out yet. We would love to target some of the larger cities, but haven’t started that process yet.
Jana: Well, I know I’ll keep an eye out for the announcement when you do. I love Venture X Naples! Thank you for talking with me today and congratulations on your success!
Brett: Thank you for allowing me to be part of your new adventure! Keep hustling!
For more on the original location of Venture X click HERE.