Te Arawa in high tech 'hot desk' deal with Colab

 

22 August 2014

 

Innovative and creative businesses in Rotorua have a new opportunity to launch ground-breaking tech ventures through a partnership between a leading Auckland entrepreneur and Te Arawa Maori Trust Board.

 

Robett Hollis, a Director of Colab 300 Queen Street Ltd, told www.themud.co.nz the Rotorua venture will be the company’s first outside of Auckland in what is planned to be the establishment of a “one-stop-shop” network throughout New Zealand.

 

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, speaking at last week’s Start-Up Pitch Night event, said the Te Arawa and Colab partnership offered people the opportunity to share innovative, creative ideas in terms of games and computer apps.  She said Colab’s first signed up tenant is Cliff Curtis, the Rotorua-born Hollywood star.

 

“They are looking at how we can attract a whole group of great creative with no space to go,” Chadwick said.

 

The Te Arawa building is located in Haupapa Street, a central location in Rotorua, and Hollis said 15-20 different people had shown an interest in occupying space in the building. 

 

An opportunity came up for Colab’s to partner with the trust in the venture after was found there were people in Rotorua who were starting new tech, media and online businesses but “there’s not really anywhere with a cool culture where these guys can come in and do their thing.”

 

Colab has a template based on its building at 396 Queen Street in central Auckland, which has grown so that today new media and tech firms occupy three floors and 1500 square feet of floor space.

 

Hollis’s core business is Frontside Ltd, a full service media company specialising in video production and associated operations.  Colab was started as a side project, launching shared space for start-up businesses in the Queen Street building.

 

Start-ups had difficulty paying rent for space plus the extras required when renting through commercial building operators and real estate firms, with associated long-term leases.

 

Many people start under the Colab structure in a “hot desk” situation – shared space as required – and grow in space and numbers as they succeed.

The Rotorua venture would initially occupy two floors of the building.  The top floor and the north-facing section would be open-plan office space.

 

However, rather than adopting the “build it and they will come” approach, Colab is taking a more cautious approach in Rotorua where it has learned who was interested and seeing what they wanted in the space.

 

Colab is receiving expressions of interest by 1 September and has almost already reached threshold to start putting the space together, bringing in a project manager who will be locally based. 

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