One of the metro’s newest coworking spaces prides itself on hospitality — but happy hour comes as a bonus.
“When people order DoorDash or GrubHub — we’re bringing that to your office with extra plates and napkins. ‘What kind of soda do you want? What kind of snacks do you want?’” said Dawniel Richards, general manager of Serendipity Labs’ newly opened location within Creative Planning Plaza in Overland Park.
Such an approach puts Serendipity Labs — which is part of an international flexible workplace network — ahead of the game as companies begin to look at a return to officing and the COVID-19 pandemic begins its decline, Richards added.
• Founding Year: 2011
• Headquarters: New York City
• Founder: John Arenas
• Locations: 30+ across the U.S. and U.K.
• Funding raised to date: $98.3 million (per Crunchbase)
“A space like this is a benefit because we offer so many different options. You can have your own office — and you can come in twice a week. We customize that plan for you.”
Free of the largely one-size-fits-all model many coworking sites adopted pre-pandemic, Richards said, the space has found its audience just off I-435’s south loop with entrepreneurs who enjoy their home offices, but can’t always make the chaos of basement and bedroom offices work.
“They want a different option and it doesn’t have to be every day. … We don’t want to give someone something that they don’t want. It’s not like, ‘Ok, you’re locked into this office,’ but people are only going to be here twice a week.”
While a handful of local entrepreneurs in the Pipeline Entrepreneurs network and fellowship have found a home at Serendipity Labs — keeping its energy alive with after-hours drinks and brainstorming sessions in the space’s luxe and cozy common areas — larger companies have found the Johnson County site a convenient place to plant satellite offices.
A Membership Promise
“Every member gets my cell number and they get to contact me if they need something — and it doesn’t matter if it’s day or night,” Dawniel Richards said. “Somebody had a Zoom call starting at 5 a.m. I was like, ‘If you can’t get in the building you call me and I’m going to be there.’ I don’t know that every place offers that, but that’s how I do business here.”
“I look at every day like an event. Everyday you’re engaging members wherever they are. You’re going to have the best and you’re going to have a great experience and your guests are going to have a great experience too.”
“[We have a] steel company and they just have some of their IT department and one of their VPs here. … We want to give them something that’s going to work for them — and give them the best deal too. Everybody is trying to look at what the transition [back to work] looks like,” Richards said.
Beyond officing, the coworking site’s commitment to hospitality runs the gamut from fresh-brewed Thou Mayest coffee and fruit water to an onsite mail sorting facility and HIPPA- and Department of Defense-certified WIFI.
A Starbucks and on-site cafeteria are also available to members in another of the Creative Planning buildings directly next door.
Click here to book a tour or learn more about Serendipity Labs and its additional amenities and COVID protocols.
“We’re very engaged with our members — anything they need,” Richards reiterated, detailing her concierge role as everything from a greeter of guests to IT expert to Keurig assembler.
“We’re getting to know our members and it opens up conversations. … We’re not the cheapest — and we don’t claim to be. But we want to fully engage every member.”
Serendipity Labs hopes to reach the broader Kansas City-area entrepreneurial community as well, she said. Its team is actively envisioning what events might look like when the world is fully functioning, Richards said.
Work to celebrate local artists in the space is already on canvas, she added.
“Every three months we change out the art, and that’s [all] local. We hope to have art openings, live music, different things as people [receive] vaccinations.”
Art by Annie Glotzbach was on display for the month of March.
Despite the pandemic and its urban Johnson County location — just out of bounds of entrepreneur-dense Kansas City and its once-lauded energies — the space is already 35 percent occupied, Richards said.
“I think Kansas City is at the center and [the amount of interest] makes a lot of sense,” she said of immense innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the region — a place she herself relocated to from Los Angeles.
“People are leaving Los Angeles. They’re leaving some of the coast cities that maybe have more extreme COVID restrictions or higher cost of living. … Kansas City is this hub and Kansas City is growing. I think it does speak to something special that’s happening here — and it makes the most sense to be here, because you’re kind of in the center of all of it.”