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We're Gonna Need a Bigger Co-Working Space

Washington DC Tech

A new, busting-at-the-seams co-working space in Reston, currently the only one, is proving more are needed. 


It's called Refraction, and it's now 90% full--105 members and Canvas employees, 30 companies and three nonprofits. Plus, the 10k SF space, created by tech firm Canvas, has a waiting list. The concept is unique from other co-working models in that it's geared to all creative types. (Yes, tech is not the only industry known as creative.) Canvas marketing director Jason Peck says the space, in the heart of Reston Town Center, has attracted artists, nonprofits and designers, including one who creates handbags. With such demand, Canvas (whose thousands of mobile business apps digitize paper forms) is now considering adding square footage to bring in more creatives.


Canvas as a company is also growing; it has 44 employees in Reston and 8-10 job openings to fill before the end of the year. Jason says the 6-year-old company hopes to be at 80 employees a year from now. The growth is being fueled by a mobile app platform that includes a mobile business app store where companies can convert digital forms like sales receipts or inspection reports into mobile apps. Jason says the store hit 15,000 apps this week. 


During our visit Tuesday, we learned Refraction tenant Washington West Film Festival won Canvas’s annual Ante Up award. The company picks a nonprofit every year to receive its product and tech services. The nonprofit, founded by Brad Russell, here with Jason, puts on an annual viewing of independent films. Canvas built a mobile app that allows judges to rate the hundreds of films submitted to the nonprofit every year to be shown at the festival.