CORI Innovation Fund selects Proximity as its first Opportunity Zone investment
Proximity Space, a global leader in connecting and enabling coworking, becomes first CORI Innovation Fund portfolio company
HARTLAND, Vt. — CORI Innovation Fund (CIF) closed on its first investment: Proximity Space, Inc., a fast-growing software business based in Montrose, Colorado, that creates technology for managing coworking spaces. The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) launched the CORI Innovation Fund initiative in September 2019 and is excited that Proximity is its first investment.
Proximity has demonstrated impressive business growth, and the company’s mission of expanding the use and networking potential of coworking spaces aligns with CORI’s belief that coworking spaces are a key driver of downtown economic development in rural America. The Proximity Network has great potential to reach freelancers and small businesses in all geographies across the US, and CIF is excited to support their continued rapid growth.
“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.”
“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.”
Proximity provides a software platform that helps coworking spaces manage operational needs. The company 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.
About the CORI Innovation Fund
The CORI Innovation Fund invests in growth businesses located in qualified Opportunity Zones in the United States to enhance economic growth and job creation in small communities. The Fund seeks to find attractive technology-enabled operating businesses in rural geographies, which are under-served by traditional venture capital institutions. The CORI Innovation Fund identifies, funds, and supports the best tech entrepreneurs American small towns have to offer. Learn more.
About the Center on Rural Innovation and the Rural Innovation Initiative
The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is a nonprofit action tank that is sparking the revival of small towns across America by helping them build rural innovation hubs. CORI launched the Black River Innovation Campus in Springfield, Vermont; developed and regularly updates the Rural Opportunity Map that provides the unique Rural Opportunity Mapping tool for identifying areas of opportunity in rural America; and launched the Rural Innovation Initiative (RII), which works to bridge the opportunity gap in rural America by helping communities build the capacity to create resilient, innovation-based jobs.
RII communities receive intensive technical assistance as they execute an innovation hub strategy: an economic development model that works to educate and train local residents in digital skills, employ them in new economy jobs, and empower them to launch startups that will drive their digital economy. Learn more.
About Proximity Space
Proximity is connecting the mobile workforce through a growing network of independent coworking spaces. Proximity software helps coworking spaces manage their member communities by providing digital door access, conference room booking, event management, membership billing, guest visit and package delivery notification, and controlled internet access — all through a single platform. The Proximity School of Coworking provides space owners and community managers with the training and resources they need to run a successful coworking space. Proximity was founded in 2015 and is based in western Colorado. Learn more.