Three years ago the Guild opened its doors to entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers alike to become Bath’s first ever coworking hub specifically aimed at techies and creatives.
Since then it’s seen hundreds of members through its doors and seen many of them take their ideas from startup to successful enterprise, with some doing so well they’ve even outgrown the space entirely.
As well as a space for working, the Guild has become a gem for community events. From techie meetups like Bath:Hacked and our own BathSPARK to web workshops from Design for Digital and kids coding and hardware classes from DigiMakers, its friendly space has helped meetups and organisations to grow their audiences too.
“There’s something about The Guild that compels you to greater productivity”
Given all that, it’s no wonder the Guild won the SPARKies South West tech award for ‘Best Service Provider’ in 2015! So, to celebrate this inspiring space, we caught up with some of its members to find out what made them choose the Guild, their experiences while there, and where it’s taken them over the past few years.
A home from home
For many of the Guild’s members, finding a calm space away from the distractions of home-working was a dream. Stephen Dodds, the Creator of time-tracking app OfficeTime tells us: “My home office was a tiny space with a glass roof shared with the fridge, washing machine and household traffic. Plus, whenever the sun came out, I couldn’t see my screen. You can imagine that might impede workflow.”
Productive coworking: Guild members hard at work in its coworking space
“There’s something about The Guild that compels you to greater productivity. All these like-minded people doing things and talking shop somehow inspires you to work harder. I often find myself saving up difficult tasks or big decisions for my days when I’m inspired by being ‘in’.”
“Joining the Guild Coworking Hub helped make a distinction between work and family time”
Michael Youngman, CEO of beacon-tech startup Blispa agrees: “Before I joined the Guild I was working hard, camped on a desk in my son’s bedroom whilst he was at uni. It worked OK, but my younger daughters jumping up and down on my lap in a middle of a skype call didn’t always go down well with clients.”
James Beaven, Founder at Keymailer – the site that connects Twitch and YouTube game reviews to games publishers tells us: “For me joining the Guild Coworking Hub helped make a distinction between work and family time while Keymailer was in the embryonic stages.”
Growth in the Guild
“Our most significant clients and projects were all obtained through networking and contacts with other Guild members”
Michael says: “Blispa has grown to a team of 5 over the last 18 months, with our most significant clients and projects all obtained through networking and contacts with other Guild members. We have just completed the app for WOMAD festival, having been introduced to WOMAD by Guild member Tree. We have also employed interns and other Guild members as sub-contractors.
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“Alongside company growth I have gained a lot personally, with the Guild team and other members providing support and challenge and encouragement along the way – so I have done far more than I would ever have dared do sat on my own in that spare room.”
James adds: “As Keymailer edged closer to its beta launch, the Guild provided everything from networking and meeting spaces to an office address that sounded more credible than my spare room at home.”
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Predictive people analytics company, Cognisess – an early member of the Guild, was eventually so successful that its team outgrew the Guild altogether. Its Co-founder and CEO Chris Butt explains: “Working at the Guild meant I was able to control costs in the early stages of the business and project a professional image. The team also enjoyed working in central Bath and this was important in attracting staff.”
Of course, no office space is complete without coffee and cake and the Guild is no exception. Luckily, its members agree that its sugar and caffeine offerings are regular and well received!
Director at web design company Design for Digital, Lawrence Tilley tells us: “Every Wednesday members are given exceedingly good cakes and have the opportunity to network and chat amongst each other. The bean-to-cup coffee machine in the diner is part of the Guild membership deal and tastes great – saves us having to nip out of the office to get takeaway coffee, although we probably drink too much coffee now!”
James agrees: “One of my favourite things is the latest coffee machine. It has a flat white button that I use more than the delete key on my laptop.”
Thanks very much to the Guild members who spoke to us about their experiences. You can find out more about becoming a member on the Guild website. You can also follow them on Twitter: @theguildhub.
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