CORI Innovation Fund Selects Proximity for Opportunity Zone Investment
Proximity, the Country’s Largest Network of Coworking Brands, Will Use the Mission-Aligned Funding to Accelerate Its Rapid Growth
Global leader in connecting and enabling coworking, Proximity Space, Inc., announced new funding from the CORI Innovation Fund, a qualified opportunity zone fund that invests in high-growth technology companies supporting job creation and revenue generation in rural communities.
Proximity’s headquarters and primary operations are based in Montrose and Grand Junction, areas of western Colorado designated as opportunity zones under the 2017 Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Opportunity zones offer tax incentives for investors to fund investments in low-income areas throughout the U.S.
The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) launched the CORI Innovation Fund initiative in September 2019 and the investment in Proximity is the first placement for the fund. This is the third opportunity zone investment for Proximity and in August 2019 the startup became one of the first operating businesses in the country to receive equity investment under the federal opportunity zone construct.
Proximity provides software, hardware products and apps that enable coworking spaces to efficiently operate including solutions for billing, member management, resource scheduling, communication and access control. Coworking spaces are hubs for entrepreneurs seeking connections to collaborators and potential customers, as well as affordable, flexible space for daily work, meetings or events. Shared workspace also supports the growing number of remote and freelance workers who want to work outside their homes and can perform their jobs from any location with fast and reliable internet.
For communities actively building startup ecosystems, establishing a coworking space is often an early step to attracting and supporting entrepreneurs and drawing digital talent. The Proximity Network has a national footprint and contains many coworking spaces located in rural areas and recovering economies poised to support the growth of new businesses and entrepreneurs.
“This important investment in our current fundraising round further accelerates the growth of our network and allows us to broaden our reach to more coworking spaces, entrepreneurs and members of the mobile workforce,” says Josh Freed, CEO of Proximity. “The CORI Innovation Fund is an authority on opportunity zone investment and is a great partner in pioneering how opportunity zone funding can work to support rural economies and spark change in communities like ours.”
CORI is responsible for the Rural Innovation Initiative (RII), a program to support the creation of startup ecosystems in small and rural communities. Durango, Colorado is among the most recent cities to join the RII which partners with communities to create an ecosystem where startup businesses can thrive with abundant ideas and talent, strong physical and technical infrastructure, programs to promote coding and job skills and a support network of like-minded communities to assist in realizing growth potential.
“Success and growth of startups is not limited to urban areas and the tech hubs we commonly recognize,” says Jay Bockhaus, Managing Partner of the CORI Innovation Fund. “We are impressed with Proximity’s business growth, their mission supporting the coworking space industry and the potential of the Proximity Network to reach freelancers and small businesses across the country. Our goal is to reduce barriers to funding in rural areas and enable companies in a wider variety of locations to reach their growth potential and our investment in Proximity exemplifies these principles. The strong mission alignment between CORI and Proximity will enhance the trajectory of startup growth occurring throughout the country.”