By Patrick Hoge, Reporter – The Registry, SF
RocketSpace got its start as a co-working vendor for tech startups and started expanding its mandate from there to include fundraising, recruiting, user acquisition and forming partnerships with large corporations.
Now, with startups continuing to multiply in San Francisco, the two-year-old company says it is expanding its physical footprint some more, grabbing another 26,190 square feet in the Financial District in addition to the 48,000 it locked up a block away in March.
Already, RocketSpace has contracted for virtually all of the 48,000 in space it will occupy initially, with the rest of the space expected to be filled in phases over the coming year, said Eryc Branham, who is the company’s chief revenue officer.
“We see plenty of demand for our services,” said Branham, who estimated 30 to 35 startups a week apply to get into RocketSpace, which is selective about who it invites. Past tenants have included Uber Technologies, the fast growing mobile device limo, taxi and ride dispatching service, and Leap Motion, the maker of motion controllers for computers, among other successful ventures.
The new lease at 225 Bush Street will house the RocketSpace Accelerator for seed funded tech startups, and largely replace the function of RocketSpace’s current headquarters at 181 Fremont Street, which will be demolished as part of the Transbay Tower construction. RocketSpace, which currently rents to 400 startups, must move by July 21.
The larger lease, at 180 Sansome Street, will house RocketSpace Suites, a place for bigger startups that need more space than RocketSpace has been able to provide to date, as well as offices for use by corporations and governments aiming to cultivate ties with tech startups. Tom Poser and Wes Powell of Jones Lang Lasalle represented RocketSpace, while Ken Churich from the CAC Group represented the sublessor, Viacom.
Duncan Logan, CEO and founder of RocketSpace, is calling the stretch of Sansome where he is moving “SanSoMa,” referring to the South of Market neighborhood that the city’s tech boom has made so chic.
San Leandro-based TriNet, a provider of online human resources services, is the anchor tenant at 180 Sansome. RocketSpace also has an annex of about 20 desks at 128 Spear Street in the offices of Bear Data Systems, with which it partners.
As it spreads out, RocketSpace continues to expand its business model. On July 22, the company will launch a new educational program called RocketU that promises over a period of 10 weeks to help qualified people get cutting edge technical skills, and possibly get hired by startups in RocketSpace, virtually all of which are struggling to fill vacancies.
Tuition is $10,000, but students can pay less up front if they agree to share a portion of their salary should they get hired on leaving the program. The first class will have 20 students, but the space for the program at 225 Bush Street will accommodate up to 50.
The educational program is another way that RocketSpace, which says it runs an “innovation campus,” is looking to help startups succeed, helping to create qualified workers that are in currently short supply, Branham said.
“We are all about looking at the tech economy and finding ways to connect the dots,” Branham said. Putting a bunch of tech economy players together is part of the picture, but not all of it, he said.
“The premise is that real estate is the platform on which we deliver everything else that we do,” he said. “Proximity is important. It’s necessary, but insufficient to connect the dots.”