Cahoots Hires Manager, Partially Opens 24,000-Square-Foot Tech Hub

In 2015, Joe Malcoun and Guy Suter first told Xconomy about their plans to create a tech hub in downtown Ann Arbor, MI.

“Guy and I are an explosive, dangerous mix, because we have a hard time saying no to cool ideas and we love risk,” Malcoun said during the interview, explaining why the two would want to privately fund a project that involved transforming three adjoining buildings on Huron Street into a sort of community center for the local tech crowd.

The two are serial entrepreneurs and investors; Malcoun is the CEO of Nutshell, a startup that develops customer relationship management software. Suter leads Trove, a digital communication platform that detects patterns in how users manage their e-mail inboxes, for example, and adapts to their behaviors. Both are also involved with Cahoots Holdings, a venture fund that invests in early-stage companies. Their goal was to create a place where young companies could find affordable office space, where founders could cross-pollinate, and was also big enough to host events.

After a lot of work, Malcoun’s and Suter’s vision is coming to fruition. The Cahoots site is now overseen by newly hired managing director Alison Todak (more on that below) and has begun opening in phases. Anchor tenants Clinc, Nutshell, and Trove are starting to move in and Todak says Cahoots is expected to be “fully operational” by the spring.

“We’re not yet fully functioning as a building, but the first floor has been completed,” she adds.

Todak says that there will be dedicated office space with flexible leasing available in addition to 250 rentable desks, and each building will have anchor tenants as well as a co-working area. She describes the amenities as high end and “similar to WeWork,” including a full gym, sauna, and steam room.

“We don’t think startups should have to go without things,” Todak says. “Cahoots is a passion project for our founders, who wanted ready-made space” that welcomed local entrepreneurs as well as those considering a relocation to Ann Arbor.

A Michigan native, Todak comes to Cahoots from the University of Michigan’s Desai Accelerator, where she helped build the program from the beginning. She also used to work for former U.S. Senator Carl Levin, but when he retired in 2015, she left D.C. and returned to the Great Lakes State.

Todak says she’d love to see every desk rented by the end of 2018. In the meantime, Cahoots will host different meet-ups, concerts, and fundraisers to get lots of people through the front door for a look around the place.

“We want it to be a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, where companies could grow and feed off that vibe, making Ann Arbor an even bigger tech hub,” she says.

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