This just isn’t what a startup is supposed to do.
Morris Gelblum has probably heard that more than he’d care to admit. He started Sweeps as a company to connect college students to odd jobs — good dependable labor, up-front flat rate, platform to connect jobs with workers. Everyone wins.
Ever since I’ve known him, Gelblum has run Sweeps as more of an ideal than a startup, albeit an ideal with employees, customers, revenue, and now a really nice HQ just outside of Chapel Hill. That HQ, starting with a meetup tonight, will be housing co-working, classes, events, and, you know, cookouts.
But that’s Sweeps. Sweeps isn’t really a tech startup, but technology makes it possible, in terms of finding and connecting jobs and job-seekers. Sort of like Angie’s List, a public company that’s basically just message boards, Sweeps is a startup based on optimal use of existing technology in a niche scenario.
Startups also aren’t supposed to be headquartered in country houses with huge decks and porches on six acres of land. Sweeps is now that too, under the guise of Sweeps Campus.
And since they moved themselves into such a situation, they’ve decided to open their doors for co-working, events, meetups, or just hanging out and enjoying the summer evenings with a cookout and a beer.
Yeah, American Underground does that, HUB Raleigh does it, Mercury Studio and Bull City Coworking do it, but that’s their primary line of business. Sweeps is doing it because (they hope), fostering a community is good for their primary line of business.
“We wanted a place where our many college students, customers, friends, and advisors could get together to work, have fun, and generally meet each other,” Gelblum says. “We’ll see based on this and future events whether these ideas are sustainable. But my hope is it’s not too much trouble and the community powers the meetups and campus in general — much like ExitEvent’s model.”
Well, he’s definitely got me there.
Yes, much like the ExitEvent model, I think this is a great idea. Sweeps is a community-based initiative, and much like Uber and AirBnB have had headaches bringing an offline model online, Sweeps, now spread all over the Triangle, will have to figure out how to jump to Greensboro, or Charlotte, or DC.
But again using ExitEvent and our recent foray into Charlotte, it can be done. It just took us 18 months of building and learning from the local community to figure out what could be replicated online (the network, the content, the Social) and what could not (well, nothing so far).
Hopefully, what Gelblum learns in the next few months will help him figure out how to expand. At the same time, there’s some extra revenue coming in and tons of opportunity to network and make new, potentially valuable connections.
To me, that sounds exactly like what a startup is supposed to do.