Seaton Gras came up with the idea for SURF Incubator five years ago, conceiving a place where entrepreneurs could co-exist, learn from each other and even share a war story or two over the water cooler.
At the time, Gras didn’t know if the experiment would work out. Fast forward to today, and SURF Incubator is bursting at the seams at its location in the Exchange Building in downtown Seattle, hosting nearly 70 companies and organizations who pay a monthly fee to be part of the community.
But SURF, which stands for Start Up Really Fast and also happens to mirror Gras’ surfing hobby, has now outgrown the space, so it’s moving along with its startup tenants across the street to the Wells Fargo building at 999 3rd Avenue. (The same building that Madrona Venture Group recently moved into).
“We are packed,” said Gras of SURF’s current space. “It is too cramped, and we don’t have enough conference rooms for everybody.”
SURF’s space has started to run short, in part because some of the companies house there have continued to grow. Companies such as Amp, Byndl and Ubi Interactive now have close to 10 employees, while the business-to-business incubator 9Mile Labs (yes, there’s an accelerator inside an incubator) has about two dozen folks in the space.
SURF is taking 21,400 square feet in the Wells Fargo building — about 6,000 more square feet than its previous location. It will continue to run and operate the Dice Cabana on the ground floor of the Exchange Building, hosting events and other networking activities for the tech community.
To start, the tech incubator will be taking over a temporary space on the 16th floor, later moving to its permanent home on the 7th floor. Gras said the new space will feature more conference rooms, as well as an expanded kitchen and cafe area. He described the view as “stunning.”
SURF will continue to charge a monthly fee for desk rentals, including $400 for a large desk and $300 for a small desk. SURF also operates a virtual member drop-in program for $200 per month, and a $50 cafe and wi-fi membership.
So, far Gras said that SURF has exceeded his expectations. “It has been a wonderful ride,” he said. “The support we’ve had from the community has made it work very well.”
Here are a couple sketches of the new space: