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Innovation & Job News

ideaspace, a "makerspace plus," sells out first round of memberships in a week

ideaspace, a 16,000-square-foot makerspace, is slated to open in February 2014 in Southeast, about two blocks from the Navy Yard metro station. Cofounded by Chris Selmer, David Naffis and Yoshi Maisami, ideaspace will be housed in the Boilermaker building. The concept, which its founders say extends beyond cowork and beyond traditional makerspaces, is enticing to potential users--ideaspace has already sold out of its introductory memberships.
"[The fact that we've sold out so quickly] shows that people want a space like this," Naffis explains. "People commit early because they believe in the vision and because the need is great." Naffis and his team made 100 memberships available; they sold out within the week. "One hundred is just the tip of the iceberg."
The space itself will be divided into two parts: the ground floor has 4,000 square feet of glass-enclosed retail space, while the 12,000-square-foot second floor will house a maker lab with low-tech and high-tech tools, a lounge for collaboration, project garages and flexible space for classes and events. Membership will run approximately $100 per month.
"We want to be as accessible as possible," Maisami says. "We [will be] a place people can go to get their social and collaborative fix…a few times a week or a month. They can meet new people and learn something new."
In addition to classes on topics on science, technology and engineering topics as diverse as welding and astrophysics, Maisami envisions ideaspace hosting innovation events, such as a corporate-sponsored hackathon around autonomous vehicles or a pumpkin toss.

A pumpkin toss?

"A pumpkin toss!" he insists. "We create teams that have seven days to build a catapult. The winner is the team whose catapult tosses the pumpkin the farthest."
On a serious note, Maisami acknowledges that ideaspace is a "capital-intensive endeavor. The equipment alone is $500,000." Peter Corbett, founder of iStrategy Labs and D.C. tech scene guru, has kicked off the ideaspace fundraising effort. Naffis, Selmer and Maisami are in talks with other investors, hoping that more will follow suit.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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