All will stay the same for 1776 members in the near future after its merger with Benjamin’s Desk is complete, a source close to the company said.
Announced Monday, Philadelphia-based co-working chain Benjamin’s Desk will merge with 1776, and Benjamin’s Desk’s co-founders, Anthony and Jennifer Maher, will come in as co-CEOs of the newly formed company. The new 1776 will be headquartered in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. As with any leadership change, there’s bound to be questions, and, for some members, that question is what’s next?
For now, 1776 members will receive the same services as before, with the added benefit of being able to access expanded facilities, according to a press release. Pricing and rates won’t change for now. Events at 1776 locations will go on as planned. The Challenge Cup will continue uninterrupted. 1776 members will also still be able to use the UNION platform, despite the fact that the software will be spinning off into its own startup run by former 1776 CEO Evan Burfield. It’s unclear if any of that will change as the merger continues to go through in the next three months.
“Our goal is a seamless transition throughout this merger,” Burfield said in a statement to DC Inno. “1776 will continue to place our priorities on our core mission of supporting entrepreneurs and helping our members scale. We’re thrilled to combine 1776 and Benjamin’s Desk resources to achieve that mission and look forward to providing more programming, more engagement, and a stronger community.”
On Monday, 1776 sent an email to all members outlining the terms of the merger, welcoming Benjamin’s Desk to the team and describing what this means for current membership. A version of that email was reviewed by DC Inno.
DC Inno reached out to a few 1776 members following the news of the merger. Here’s what they said:
“It’s great to see our first major customer, JBG Smith, and our investor, 1776, join forces. 1776 has helped put #dctech on the map, and we look forward to seeing it grow from here.” —Ryan Croft, co-founder and CTO of TransitScreen
“HousePouch has really benefited and we’ve enjoyed our time this past year with 1776. We definitely plan on sticking around and are looking forward to seeing some exciting changes come out of the merger.” —Jake Metzger, co-founder and CEO of Housepouch
“I’m excited for 1776 and the community. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes, if any, happen and to meeting the Benjamin’s Desk team and getting to know them better. Through 1776 and Union, I’ve been able to meet some really great experts in every part of my business that I have questions about.” —Janice Omadeke, founder and CEO of The Mentor Method
“1776 was the launchpad for my organization’s growth. The people I met at 1776 have been crucial to our organization’s success over the past year. I hope that this merger means that 1776 will remain in its role as the DC-based hub for early-stage entrepreneurs solving intractable social problems in entrenched sectors like education, healthcare, and transportation. I would hate to see 1776 get diluted in this broader mission – it has such an important role to play in the DC economy and has helped so many entrepreneurs innovate within a changing regulatory landscape.” —Michelle Brown, founder and CEO of CommonLit
Editor’s Note: DC Inno will update this post as more member statements become available.