New Work City ‘Kickstarts’ New Community Co-Working Center

Tony Bacigalupo, founder of the community co-working space New Work City recently signed a lease for a new loft on Broadway and Canal Street that, like its predecessor, will be a place “where startups, hackers, freelancers, students, artists and those who can work anywhere can gather to collaborate, socialize, teach, learn, play and work.” The difference is that the new space will get its funding from the community via Kickstarter, an all-or-nothing funding site used for launching creative and community projects.

Although the workspace will be funded partially by donations, is being built by volunteers and is designed to serve the community, it’s technically a Limited Liability Company rather than a non-profit organization. We had to ask, is it legal to use volunteers? And why not file as a non-profit and get a tax-exempt status?

According to Bacigalupo, the volunteers who are doing the manual labor are members of the LLC, or in other words, the owners. In the future, they will hire staff members as needed. Kickstarter’s guidelines also dictate that backers are only allowed to receive thank-you gifts like t-shirts and ad space on the contributor wall rather than shares in the company. While the company’s revenue is taxable, the founder expects to take a loss this year given the costs of opening the new space.

“We think of ourselves as a socially-minded business,” Gacigalupo explained. The seed money will effectively keep the membership costs down for the people who will be using the co-working center. The new space will also “free us up to do all kinds of great stuff,” he said, which includes “more sophisticated programming,” like classes, workshops, parties and other events. New Work City currently sponsors the Startup Weekend, a popular learning-by-creating conference for entrepreneurs that’s coming up on September 10th.

Looking at New Work City’s 148 backers, most have made individual contributions of less than $50, which is cheaper than an unlimited metro pass or a gym membership. Collectively, the backers have already pledged $10,611 of the $15,000 goal, with 17 days to go.

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