Soho Innovation Lab launches in downtown Toronto

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Toronto-based HBNG, a provider of investment and real estate management expertise, is launching its new hybrid accelerator and co-working space, Soho Innovation Lab in downtown Toronto. This hybrid accelerator and co-working space aims to combine community and funding into one location, and will open its doors at the corner of Queen West and Beverley.

This high traffic space will offer 11,000 square feet of startup offices, co-working, mentorship, funding opportunities, and events. The new lab is also offering investments to active businesses, from startup to scale-up. 

To celebrate the launch, Soho Innovation Lab will host a networking event tonight, with a panel discussion on tech startups and innovation in Toronto, featuring BetaKit Editor-in-Chief Douglas Soltys, as well as speakers from the City of Toronto, Bunz, and The Globe and Mail.

“It is our goal to create an environment where startups can thrive.”
–John A. D’Angelo

Daniel Francavilla, founder of Creative Group, who planned and organized the event, panel, and branding for Soho, told BetaKit the space was inspired by a premium office design model, with the amenities of a co-working space, with tall ceilings and furnishing from Toronto-based Model Living. The lounge and offices will overlook Queen Street West, and will also feature a rooftop patio.

“It is our goal to create an environment where startups can thrive,” John A. D’Angelo, CEO of HBNG Holborn Group. “We can achieve that goal if we truly build a community where entrepreneurs feel inspired to develop new technologies and help create the future.

Francavilla said that HBNG looks to develop, build, and rent out space, but the company also created the RGF Real Estate Fund LP, a private partnership to invest in the acquisition, development, and management of strategic real estate assets.

“[HBNG] decided to combine these two passions into one and make [the Soho Innovation Lab], where they can invest in companies while housing them in a high-quality space,” said Francavilla.

Pricing for the space starts at $315 a month for hot desks. The location also offers dedicated desks and private office spaces. Members will have access to events including networking opportunities, launches, conferences, programming, and workshops. 

According to Francavilla, to qualify as a member, companies must be operating a startup of some kind. Membership in the space and funding are handled separately. Francavilla said that the approval system is to ensure Soho Innovation Lab can deliver the type of community it is promising.

On the investment side, once a company applies for funding online, Soho’s VC team reviews and if they feel it is a good fit, will invite the company for a pitch and then meet to consider funding. Investment could include a combination of space rental and funding, in exchange for equity. Funding is available for up to $100,000 initial investment for startups and up to $1,000,000 for scaling startups. Francavilla said that short term, there will be many coworking members who aren’t receiving an investment, but Soho’s goal in the long term is to eventually fund a majority of the startups who work within its space.

“They have the great ideas, and Soho has the ability to help them grow through services from partners, which include banking, accounting, and insurance,” he said.

HBNG is a developer and builder of industrial property, commercial property, municipal infrastructure, institutional buildings, and residential lands. In addition to Soho Innovation Lab, the group has extensive retail, office, industrial and residential holdings.

Images courtesy Model Living.



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