Tech Startup finds a home in Northside Coworking Space

Linking Work and Play

Kristina Hoeffer and Blake Shipley of CoupSmart inside Northside's Playground Coworks. Photo by Mike James.

In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama said, “Companies in a global economy can be located anywhere.” Advances in the digital realm and online communication have revolutionized worker culture, sparked the entrepreneurial spirit, and enabled location-flexible workers.

Recognizing these trends, coworking spaces have popped up to accommodate the rise of independent workers looking for flexible, budget-conscious office space. In May of 2015, Playground Coworks opened in the space above the Northside Tavern on Hamilton Avenue. A vibrant new coworking space, it offers individual desks, meeting space, and Fiber Internet. When it opened, available desks quickly filled, according to founder Ollie Kroner. A third-floor expansion is underway to make room for more.

“There is an energy and buzz around entrepreneurship in the neighborhood, and we wanted to create an environment for that in Northside,” said Kroner. “There are many people with creative projects or working independently in Northside. You might be freelancing out of a coffee shop, but this is an opportunity to be part of a community.”

CoupSmart, a Cincinnati-based startup focused on social media to run marketing campaigns, is one of the companies embracing coworking in Northside. Blake Shipley, founder of CoupSmart, and Client Success Manager Kristina Hoeffer, recently settled into Playground as their new headquarters.

“We found the space affordable and flexible, so we can grow here,” said Shipley. CoupSmart is another response to the changing digital landscape. Between the rise of social media and the decline of television ownership, the landscape of advertising is dynamic, and businesses need to adapt their marketing strategies.

“We use social media to help businesses identify their target demographic, and hone in on people that support them,” said Shipley. “We use coupon campaigns to help identify supporters, and use that information to inform larger marketing decisions.” Hoffer adds, “We want businesses to generate their own traffic by targeting people who already support businesses versus one-time deal seekers.”

There are benefits to being located in Northside. Shipley and Hoeffer are interested in engaging with local businesses in the neighborhood to help beta test new software features, such as managing their own campaigns via a Campaign Creator Tool.

“We would like to get several small businesses together to take a look at Northside business patrons, and find out where they are coming from.” said Shipley. “What are their interests? How did they hear about this business?”

Shipley and Hoeffer are enjoying their presence in the Northside community and are excited for the opportunity to combine forces with local businesses.

Playground is also home to a number of other businesses, including jewelry designers, web developers, home brewers, treehouse builders, and music producers.


Written by Neha Gupta

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