York Butter Factory to Churn Out Startups

Named after the building it now occupies, the York Butter Factory (YBF) will be Melbourne’s newest (and oldest) co-working space, as 300 or so entrepreneurs from the tech start-up industry officially launches it with an evening party. The doors at 66 King Street, Melbourne, opened last week, and during that time it has had 15 to 20 people working in the premises.

It is already playing host to several start-ups, including Startup Weekend winners Native Tongue (who developed Mandarin Madness) and Vumero, IndexMedia and Equiem. 99dresses founder Nikki Durkin is also working from the space this week.

Although the building has 577m2 of capacity across two floors, enough to host about 60 people, founders Stuart Richardson and Darcy Naunton are aiming to fill just 50 per cent of that initially to give the initiative room to grow.

Naunton said that separate to venture capital fund Adventure Capital, which he and Richardson are partners at, YBF would start to fund some of the start-ups in-house.

“We would like to be doing smaller amounts in the order of $20,000 to $50,000, just to give start-ups the runway to get through that seed stage and see whether their business idea has legs,” Naunton said, adding that YBF was aiming to have the first stage of the initiative online by the end of the year.

In addition to financial assistance from YBF, tenants would be encouraged to lean on each other for support, with the building fitted out with technology to aid collaboration.

Its network is designed to be scaled up as growth continues, and YBF uses Google Calendar to manage its meet-up spaces and social networking tools, such as Yammer , to ensure continued dialogue between residents. It has a centralised GeckoBoard, a digital business status board that shows company analytics, displayed on a 55-inch display so that everyone in the building is aware of what everyone else is doing.

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