Utah Stories

Startup Ogden

Startup Ogden – where grassroots tech meets bureaucratic development- and it’s working out quite nicely.


Photo by Kim Bowsher

Ogden’s progressive development is expanding at warp speed. In addition to rebuilding its downtown and residential areas, the comeback city of the Intermountain West is also a developing tech hub.

About a decade ago, city administration recognized opportunity in a dilapidated downtown building. With federal grant money and Weber State University funding, a collaborative venture was created. The restored Washington Boulevard building now houses a downtown campus for Weber State University and a shared work space.

Weber State University Bookstore occupies the first floor, and is essentially an Apple Campus Store. “There’s an authorized Apple retailer right here that no one seems to know about,” tenant Joel Grasmeyer says. “You can take your computer in for service without driving to Farmington and waiting in line.” University classroom and lecture spaces, conference rooms and the Ogden Small Business Development Center occupy part of the second level.

Weber State’s lease offers a heightened university downtown presence, something Weber has wanted for years since moving above Harrison Blvd., and the funds from that lease have allowed Ogden City to nurture a startup community in the other half of the building. Startup Ogden takes the remainder of the second floor and all of the third story.

Startup Ogden is a collective low-rent workspace for tech, professional services and other startup entrepreneurs. The building is beautiful and perfectly suited to those hoping to launch new ideas.

Rents range from $50-$100 dollars a month, a payment that includes wifi, mail service, showers, lounge space and meeting rooms. Because all of the building maintenance and expenses are covered by the Weber State lease on the first floor, one hundred percent of the Startup Ogden rents go back to the Startup Ogden community by way of events, workshops, and guest speakers.

Startup Ogden’s work atmosphere buzzes. Joel Grasmeyer is the developer behind several iOS apps including Real Estate Tools and Construction Cost Estimator. Joel likes Startup Ogden for the collaboration opportunities. “Honestly, most of these people would be working from home, if not here. It’s the random run-ins and idea-sharing sessions happening here that are just incredibly valuable. When you’re running a business it can be hard to stay motivated, but sitting in a room with others who are trying to do the same thing, it helps keep you going.”

Matt Sutherland is co-founder of HQ, a web and mobile app developer. One of their current projects, Far Better, will help business travelers book a trip from airport shuttle to flight, hotel, rental car and return trip in a matter of seconds.

Each Wednesday the group Hack Ogden meets over lunch.  According to Joel, “It’s sort of a Ted Talk meets Master Minds group.” Other events include Free Lunch Fridays and the annual Startup Weekend held in cooperation with StartupWeekend.org.

Drop in at one of the Startup Ogden events. Hack Ogden and Free Lunch Fridays are open to the public, and you’ll get a chance to meet some other area entrepreneurs and to learn more about co-officing in one Ogden’s most forward-thinking and historic settings.


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