See inside startup studio Unstuck Labs’ new permanent home in Rosslyn
The program helps founders with tech components, workshopping ideas and getting funding. “We’re kind of their cofounders for those 12 weeks,” said CEO and cofounder Wa’il Ashshowwaf.
By Michaela Althouse
Next month, a NoVa startup assistance program will celebrate the launch of its first permanent, dedicated home.
Unstuck Labs, in partnership with American Real Estate Partners (AREP), Arlington Economic Development and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID), is launching its new permanent home. On Sept. 7, community members, founders and others will gather at AREP’s Rosslyn City Center at 1700 N. Moore St. in Arlington, Virginia to open the new space.
At Unstuck, CEO and cofounder Wa’il Ashshowwaf said that the team helps founders with tech and software development, product builds and more. At the same time, it’ll help with growing the company itself and advise in a cohort format. But what makes Unstuck different is how closely it works with the founders. Instead of just serving as an advisor, Ashshowwaf said that the Unstuck team becomes an integral part of the company during the three-month program.
“We roll up our sleeves and do the work with them, so we’re kind of their cofounders for those 12 weeks,” Ashshowwaf told Technical.ly.
In the new Unstuck space, founders can take part in Unstuck Tuesdays, an open house where any entrepreneur can come and get free help with their startup. Ashshowwaf said that the team often gives these founders homework and holds them accountable to make sure they’re progressing. There’s also a startup founders’ room with mentors who rotate through to offer advice. There’s also a podcast room for Unstuck to launch a series, as well as resident growth-stage startups that began in the area who can help the early-stage companies.
With this new, dedicated spot, Ashshowwaf said that Unstuck can focus solely on its programs for the first time.
“This is our first dedicated space that we own, where we’re not elbow to elbow, where we can welcome the community and really start building our vision and executing it and launching it,” Ashshowwaf said.
Cohorts range from six to 10 startups, with one or two founders present for each company. On top of programming, Unstuck also holds curated introductions with funders and prepares founders for seeking money.
In startups, Ashshowwaf said he looks for early-stage companies with a track record of resiliency.
“If they feel like, ‘I’ve tried something and I failed really badly at it,’ I’m like, ‘Yes, okay,’” Ashshowwaf said. “They failed. They have the experience and they’re willing to do it again.”
With founders and companies coming together through the program and meetups, Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick said, the team hopes to build the area’s tech and entrepreneurship pipeline. The new space allows founders to work on their startups and host meetings with outsiders in the facilities, including the food and drink hall downstairs.
“Like-minded people want to be together and so, when you really create a space for them and you surround them with the resources that are going to make them successful: access to capital access to expertise, access to other companies and businesses. … When you start bringing these all together, it feeds on itself,” Burick said.
Check out the new digs below: