So, 3 out of the 5 team members of Business Casual went to Nashville, Tennessee for Spring Break. However, we decided to make the most out of it and not entirely party all day and night. Before we made our 7-hour journey south, I decided to email all of the big startup coworking spaces in Nashville to see if we could visit. Apparently, my email copy was good enough that we were invited to three different locations, Industrious, InDo, and The Refinery. Here is our journey visiting these badass spaces.
Sometimes luck hits you when you least expect it to because the night we got to Nashville, it was Nashville Startup Week. So, the first night we arrived in town, we went to Industrious and met some amazing people, drank some local craft beer (Yazoo), and heard a pitch from a networking app called Mixtroz. While networking, we met an employee from Industrious who introduced us to some great people we met the next day. Of course, the Industrious employee was from Lisle, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago (small world right?). This was our first taste of the amazing hospitality and welcoming we received from people in the Nashville Startup Scene. Everyone was helpful and excited to talk to us and hear about our experience and background.
On Tuesday, we went to meet our new friend, John Richardson. He's the owner of InDo Nashville. He showed us around his amazing space that included recording rooms, a kitchen space with a bar, and many different custom wall dividers made out of doors. We received the opportunity to sit down and have an interview with him to talk about the Nashville Startup Scene. Naturally, we spoke about everything Nashville from food to healthcare (which is huge in Nashville). After our interview, we spoke with a company called Project Belle, who works out of InDo. They were a group of 3 individuals (Armand, Kylie, and Carmin) who were well wise beyond their years. We got to talk about their experience in Nashville and why they work in Nashville. What we learned at InDo was that everyone in the Nashville startup scene knows everyone. Because Nashville is a medium sized city, the community is a lot closer. This makes it easier to collaborate between companies and it can generate more ideas.
After our trip to InDo, we stopped by The Refinery and spoke with our friend and Executive Director of The Refinery, Trevor. The Refinery was another cool coworking space that held a lot of web based companies. Funny story, we walked into the building that The Refinery is located in, but we entered through the wrong door, leading us to a pure empty ghost town of a space. We thought we were set up and the doors were going to lock. But, we walked through a different set of doors and found actual people so crisis averted. Thanks to Trevor, we were introduced to Fort Houston, which was across the street. Matt breaks Fort Houston down HERE, but let me just say it was one of the coolest and creative places I've ever seen.
All in all, Nashville treated us great. I didn't mention it much, but the nightlife is pretty incredible. There's live music, endless bars on Broadway, and the BBQ is to die for. As far as startups and the startup scene, Nashville is huge in the Healthcare, Entertainment, and Entertainment Tech industries. With schools like Belmont University and Vanderbilt University, student entrepreneurship is growing and making its way into the scene. Nashville's entrepreneurs will do anything for you and introduce you to anyone they can. Everyone offered amazing advice, help, and feedback to us when we visited. Needless to say, we would love to go back to Nashville in the near future.