An uncommon canvas

By Mark Zimmerman 

One of the milestones in the life of a start-up is moving into its first offices. Space provides the frame for corporate culture:  will you have private offices or cubicles, which teams will sit next to each other, professional or eclectic decor? Even more important than the space itself are the rules and rituals it enables:  do you have an open door policy, do you have lunch as a team, who makes the coffee, who cleans the fridge?

As early-stage start-up teams get better at accomplishing more with fewer people, the space milestone is often delayed. Teams can get to product launch by working from dorm rooms, Starbucks or squatting in someone else’s offices. From a capital efficiency point of view, it’s wonderful. From a culture and chemistry perspective, less so.

A blank screen

Mark advises entrepreneurs in the information technology, communications and entertainment practice at MaRS. He specializes in B2B enterprise software, SaaS business models as well as security and privacy.

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