By: Deb Cantrell
It started two years ago with one small coffee shop and coworking space on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Now Craftwork Coffee Co. is expanding across the state and into multifamily development.
Craftwork announced Thursday that it has acquired WorkFlourish, a Houston-based company that builds coworking spaces in residential buildings. The announcement comes as the entities enter the final stages of closing in their first round of series A funding totaling $3 million. The funding round will close at the end of June.
With the acquisition, WorkFlourish will become Craftwork, and 15 new locations are expected to be built in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and Austin by 2021. The first of these projects will be Craftwork's first Austin location, a coworking space and coffee shop connected to a multifamily residential development. The project will be called Streetlights Residential on Domain Drive and is expected to open spring 2019.
WorkFlourish founder and Dallas native Trevor Hightower will also become Craftwork's new president and chief marketing officer.
“I could not be more thrilled to become part of Craftwork," Hightower said in a statement. "[Craftwork CEO] Riley [Kiltz] and I were aligned from the start on our mission to bring people out of isolation into community. We saw so many opportunities and synergies in our models and experience that it became apparent quickly that we were better together. Our vision to become the leading space as a service provider for multifamily and mixed use became bigger and more real together. This is a great moment for everything we set out to create with WorkFlourish.”
According to Craftwork, the combination of the coffee shop, workspace and residential space also benefits property developers through net operating income grossed from leased space replacing traditional ground floor areas. Coworking members will not only have access to the workspace and coffee, but also amenities like a gym, pool and community spaces.
“Apartment developers are building larger and more expensive amenity areas to attract residents, but far too often these spaces go underutilized and fail to create the sense of community that we desire," Kiltz said in a statement. "The buying behavior of the millennial target market is shifting, and developers need to evolve in order to bring meaningful value the next generation.”
Kiltz credits Craftwork's success to the growing number of entrepreneurs in the U.S. According to a 2017 report by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, 57.3 million Americans make up the “gig economy” (that is, freelancers and solopreneurs) projected to reach 40 percent of the labor force by 2020.
Craftwork is still growing back home — the company is expected to open its third Fort Worth location at The Foundry District late this summer.
“We started Craftwork to be a place that brings people out of isolation and into true community," Kiltz said. "We believe people thrive when they’re together. Our generation has become interpersonally disconnected, and our mission is to change that. The acquisition of WorkFlourish and launch of our multifamily strategy gives us a platform through which we can accomplish our missional goal.”
By: Deb Cantrell