Local Co-Working Space Continues to Provide a Unique & Affordable Model 7 Years Later 

Photographer / Amy Payne

Are you in need of a meeting place for the members of your new startup company to collaborate and get ahead? Do you work from home but sometimes miss the benefits of networking and being around other professionals? There’s a space in midtown Indy just for you.

The Speak Easy opened back in 2012 in Broad Ripple as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to provide a co-working space for remote workers, entrepreneurs, startup companies, and those new to Indy looking to network with fellow professionals.

“It’s like a gym membership model,” explains Julie Heath, who became executive director of The Speak Easy in June of 2018. “It’s a great way to plug into your community. For those who don’t have to go into a corporate office to work, you have some other work situation where you have a sense of community. We don’t have individual offices but we do have breakout rooms that can be reserved. It works well for most professionals.”

Membership for $75 per month or $750 per year includes use of the workspace from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, free wifi, local coffee and beer on tap, and access to partner workspaces around the city including zWorks in Zionsville, Platform 24 in Carmel and The Tube Factory Artspace in Indy.

In addition to established businesses and startup groups, Heath says the space works well for freelancers and those who simply want to be in a professional yet relaxed environment conducive to innovation and creativity.

“As remote working becomes more common and more viable through the technology we have, we see a lot of growth in terms of people who are able to do their work outside of an office,” Heath says. “I’d say half of our members are remote workers, often with companies based in other states.”

Since opening seven years ago, more than 200 businesses were born inside The Speak Easy walls including Lessonly, a learning management software company, PactSafe, a contract management and electronic signature solutions firm, and digital marketing talent platform Torchlite.

“There’s so much progress that can be made when you have people from different areas of expertise helping each other in a pretty informal way,” Heath says. “There are a lot of serendipitous collisions that happen around the coffee maker and over the sink, and people end up talking to each other who normally wouldn’t necessarily meet because they’re in totally different industries. If you go through our directory as a member and you need someone who knows how to do podcasting or medical device marketing, for example, you can find that.”

As a nonprofit, The Speak Easy’s revenue from memberships and private event rental is allocated toward maintenance of the facility, marketing and membership development.

The co-working space sees approximately 40 to 70 members come through daily, and maximum capacity for private events is 180. Members can choose from four breakout rooms to reserve, each of which accommodates four to 10 people and a conference room that fits up to 25.

The Speak Easy regularly provides space for weddings and graduation parties on weekends and is commonly rented out for private presentations and speaking engagements across all sectors, too.

“We’ve only been around since 2012 so the companies that have come out of The Speak Easy aren’t huge yet, but they are substantial parts of our tech community,” Heath says. “What’s nice about our current membership is that we’re totally sector agnostic so there’s functional and subject matter expertise from every industry. I think that’s what makes us such a rich environment.”

The Speak Easy will soon offer day passes.

“Indianapolis as an economic hub is growing, and we see quite a bit of out-of-state business so it makes sense to offer day passes in the near future,” Heath adds.

Ultimately, The Speak Easy concept is about making connections, for those new to the city as well as established businesses and professionals of all stripes.

“When we’re doing our job right, it has the “Cheers” effect where you walk in and everybody knows your name,” Heath says. “And yet it’s a place where you can get work done, so it’s the best of both worlds.”

The Speak Easy is located at 5255 Winthrop Avenue in Indianapolis. Contact info@speakeasyindy.com and visit speakeasyindy.com for more information.