• Austin

Hack Reactor’s Latest Move Demonstrates Draw of Austin’s Growing Tech Corridor

Software Engineer Bootcamp Partners with
Cushman & Wakefield to Meet Challenges of Robust Growth

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Overview

hack-reactor-logo-300x90Hack Reactor, which offers immersive, 12-week coding bootcamps, started in 2013 as MakerSquare in Austin, Texas. At the time it was the first school of its kind in the Capital City, preparing software engineers for immediate careers in the growing tech market. In 2015, MakerSquare was acquired by Hack Reactor, the coding bootcamp with the top curriculum and outcomes. Smart, skilled coders are in high-demand in a tech hub like Austin. As a shift in society continues to put more importance on experience and abilities, enrollment for Hack Reactor’s bootcamps also have been on the rise. Aside from being drastically less expensive than a traditional four-year degree, Hack Reactor is able to be more agile and update curriculum to stay current with the industry—teaching the most useful skills employers are seeking. Hack Reactor grads graduate from the 12-week program with a skill set that prepares them for a long, successful career in software.

Challenge

When Brian Walker, director, Cushman & Wakefield Austin, first began working with Hack Reactor, they had just incorporated as MakerSquare with around five staff members, 15 students, and no space in which to hold the Austin coding bootcamp. Adding to the challenge, he had three weeks to bring it all together before the first class began: understand their business and real estate needs; identify the ideal space; negotiate business terms; review and negotiate the lease; and assist with the process of building out and moving into the space. Classes started successfully within a week of move-in.

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Students engage in one of many daily immersive lessons in Hack Reactors newest space.

That first space was 4,600 SF on Congress Ave. near the Capitol— a first and second floor office with front-facing retail space and coveted outdoor branding. According to Walker, “This was by far one of my favorite client requirements. I was presented with a difficult challenge, figured out how to make it work quickly and exceed my client’s expectations.”

Because Walker was able to secure a flexible lease term at a rate below market value, the pressure on the start-up’s finances was drastically lessened.

Success soon followed and more room was quickly needed to accommodate the growth, including almost two years at the incubator co-working space, Capital Factory, located in Austin Center in the burgeoning downtown tech corridor. In 2016, Hack Reactor came to Walker once again with the mandate to find a much larger space, but this time it needed to not only accommodate immediate needs but also allow for future expansion. With the top coding program in the country and demand for software engineers at an all-time high, Hack Reactor needed a physical space that would accommodate sustained growth.

Solution

Austin Waldo lounges in the new lobby in front of the wall he made from old barn wood.

Austin Waldo lounges in the new lobby in front of the wall he made from old barn wood.

Austin Waldo, business operations specialist, Hack Reactor Austin, was Walker’s main point of contact and tasked with facilitating the entire relocation: defining their real estate needs; selecting the site; designing the interior of the space; working with contractors; and even building some of the furniture and features (he’s a woodworker). “It was critical that we stay in the tech corridor and near Capital Factory,” he said. “We have a great relationship with them and the start-ups who utilize their co-working space. As our students graduate it’s a natural transition to employment at the same companies we call friends and neighbors.”

The outside of Hack Reactor’s newest home, the recently renovated Brazos Place–800 Brazos St.

The outside of Hack Reactor’s newest home, the recently renovated Brazos Place–800 Brazos St.

Walker was able to negotiate an attractive lease for the entire 6,800 SF 5th floor of 800 Brazos St. In addition to ample room and a great location, Hack Reactor needed a space to support students through an intense, career-transforming educational experience. Walker found them a perfect fit.

“Our new space has it all,” Waldo continued. “Great food, entertainment and amenities within easy walking distance for employees and students; easy access to I-35; affordable parking options; and proximity to high-tech employers.”

For Walker, this move was different than the others because he knew that accommodating longer-term growth was a priority for his client. “I wanted to find them the perfect space that they would love now and in years to come,” he said.

Waldo added that not only is it cost-effective in terms of monthly rent, utilities and operating expenses, but the building management is onsite and eager to work with tenants. “The management has been extremely accommodating to our build-out of the space,” He said. “Having a space where the staff loves coming to work and students feel energized during long and intense days of learning is critical to our long-term success.”

Results

The open-concept workspace enables students and staff to easily collaborate, and fosters a friendly, vibrant, and exciting environment.

The open-concept workspace enables students and staff to easily collaborate, and fosters a friendly, vibrant, and exciting environment.

According to Waldo, Hack Reactor couldn’t be happier with their new space, “It works so well for us!” he proclaimed. “It has a relaxed, open, start-up vibe that fosters collaboration and a strong community. The staff and students really enjoy being here. Plus it’s poised to support our growth plan.” Part of that growth will come in part from a new partnership with the University of Texas to offer financial aid to students of the program. The end result will be even more highly-skilled tech workers moving into great jobs and driving the Austin economy to even greater heights.

The gong is frequently banged, celebrating a graduate of the bootcamp finding a job in the field.

The gong is frequently banged, celebrating a graduate of the bootcamp finding a job in the field.

Waldo summarized by saying, “Brian Walker has been a key ally in helping Hack Reactor become the best in the business. His experience with tech companies of all sizes and our long partnership gives him a deep and invaluable understanding of our needs. The results are clearly demonstrated by our continued growth and success at producing the best software engineers in Austin.”

 

About Hack Reactor

Hack Reactor is a 12-week coding bootcamp focused on providing the best software engineering training on the planet. Their Austin coding bootcamp was the first in the city (starting as MakerSquare), and regularly places software engineers at top tech companies and exciting startups. The curriculum focuses on full-stack JavaScript, with an emphasis on skills that apply to any language or area of software engineering– allowing their graduates to work in a wide range of roles. Recently they announced two exciting initiatives to bring new communities and perspectives into tech: a $1.3 million diversity-focused scholarship and a partnership with UT Austin that will allow students to take their immersive bootcamp for college credit. They host free workshops for beginners at their beautiful space at 800 Brazos St.

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