Interview with Zion Kim of Juice Tank

Juice Tank co-working space in Somerset, New Jersey

Juice Tank co-working space in Somerset, New Jersey

juice tank logo fueling startups

On Monday I had the exciting opportunity to visit the co-working space of Juice Tank, a co-working space, consulting group and startup funding firm in Somerset, New Jersey. I spoke with Zion Kim of Juice Tank, who gave me the tour and introduced me to a few of the people. Zion connected with me via LinkedIn; he initially was looking to see if I was interested in the co-working space. At present I’m not, but I asked if I could interview him for this blog. Here are some of the questions I asked:

Questions and Answers with Zion Kim

Zion Kim

Zion Kim

You describe yourself as a social entrepreneur, community manager and a digital media strategist. Can you elaborate on that?

As a digital media strategist I have worked with brands and small businesses to help figure out the best ways of reaching their target audience. When I first posted about being a community manager, I was referring to my position with Dell University (the marketing campaign setup by Dell to reach college students) where I curated relevant content and engaged with our audience. Since then, I have been helping to grow two communities side by side in the entrepreneurial community, through Meetup and our coworking community at JuiceTank spaces.

You run a meetup called NJ Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups – how is that going? Can you describe some of your more successful events?

Joining the meetup community has been an amazing experience, the group has grown to almost 500 people in the last 4 and a half months. The growth of the group shows there is definitely a need here in Central Jersey! The group was originally started to bring people together with the common goal of furthering entrepreneurship in New Jersey. I believe our three events have been so successful because of the quality of the speakers and panelists and their willingness to share their experiences with our community. The time available for networking gives people so many opportunities to explore potential synergies. We already have some very interesting stories including a company finding their new CEO, and a programmer meeting a business development partner. (See http://www.meetup.com/NJ-Entrepreneurship-and-Tech-Startup/)

You originally contacted me about shared space. Here we are, in that space. What can you offer a small business person to attract the person to this office? What are the perks?

We provide subsidized office space by covering many common expenses (internet, printer, coffee, water, snacks and more!) while providing month to month leases so no one has to lock themselves in for the long term. Our members also get access to the space 24×7 with use of our conference and meeting rooms. We are consistently trying to bring in different resources for the benefit of our members. For example, on Friday’s we have Mark, a patent agent, who offered to give free advice on patent searches. One of our partners, Brio, offered to give 3 hours of free financial/accounting services and advice to those working here.

Other then the perks we offer, the real value is in the human capital, the people that are here. Many startups or small businesses usually have their one or two core competencies, but their weaknesses can be complemented by the other coworkers in the space. Our community of serial entrepreneurs, consultants, angel investors, marketers, creatives, developers and much more who all believe that by working together we can accomplish more than we could alone.

I am a firm believer that if entrepreneurs are the one’s trying to solve today’s problems, we are the ones that are trying to solve theirs. This space is able to support them to accelerate their chances of success. I think once people come down to our space they just see why they need to be here.

“I like eating and taking pictures of all kinds of food.” – what are some of your favorite foods? Do you have food photos to share?

I’m probably really bias but my favorite food is Korean food but I really like to eat anything. I just discovered a new dim sum place in Edison yesterday which I am already very fond of. I will pretty much eat anything in front of me. As for the photos, I just take pictures of food and put them on instagram, nothing too impressive. Most of the pictures I have are pictures of sushi anyways. I’m usually that guy that just gets everyone else hungry!

The Juice Tank Space

I took a few pictures of the Juice Tank co-working space (click to see the photos):
entering the tank juice tank juice tank co-working space juice tank mural juice tank logo zion kim juice tank chart
I also walked around with my iPad mini as he talked, so I could capture a few more of his comments. I learned a bit about the investment side of Juice Tank – they invest in “start-ups and small to mid-sized companies where our expertise, relationships and capital can assist in creating value and accelerated growth.” If you want to do your own blog interview, you may want to visit this post Blog Interviews – How To.

Your Turn, Please

Where do you work? What appeals to you about the space Juice Tank provides (such as dedicated seat, awesome community, free coffee and water, wifi and conference room access)? Would the meetup he describes appeal to you? Have you attended meetups in your area? Finally, if you have done a blog interview experience, what advice would you give someone?

19 Responses to “Interview with Zion Kim of Juice Tank”

  1. Geek Girl says:

    Wow… that sounds like a great opportunity for anyone in that area.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Zion told me that they have co-working spaces in other areas, such as in Princeton and in the Boston area. It’s new to Central New Jersey.

      I hope to interview others that are utilizing the space – a lot of creativity there!

    • Zion Kim says:

      Which area are you from? Like Leora mentioned, there are many spaces throughout the country and the world, I would be more than happy to point you to some of them.

  2. Susan Oakes says:

    Good interview Leora and a key advantage of this type of office is the ability to share and collaborate with others. Sounds like Zion is truly helping and I am sure it is appreciated.

    Regarding the blog interview what i found was to make sure the person being interviewed comes to the blog to answer questions.

  3. Susan Cooper says:

    I have seen this in action with some of my friends. They very much enjoy having a space away from home for many of the obvious reasons, less personal interruptions , more collaboration opportunities and the social interaction many miss not being in an office. Then there is the reduced cost of sharing a space as well.

    Aside for that this was a great interview. :-)

  4. A.K.Andrew says:

    I think shared work spaces like this are a fantastic idea, especially for start-ups . All the basic set-ups cost a fortune if you are going it alone, so I think this is an excellent way to both use the space and also to have the opportunity to meet-up with other link minded people. The San Francisco Bay area have a number of projects such as this that originally sprung from Silicon Valley and they’ve been v. successful.
    As to the interview, I liked how your mix of the personal and the professional, which gives us a more rounded picture of Zion Kim. Thanks Leora

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Interesting to read about Bay area projects.

      Glad you enjoyed my approach to the interview – I like to find out more about the person, not just the business venture involved.

    • Zion Kim says:

      I am glad you like the idea, we are trying to help as many people as we can! Many spaces also just have some great programming which makes finding other like minded people even easier. I know wework in NY has events where people are able to have people beta test their products and other events where they will bring in investors. Other spaces have open office hours where you can ask questions to lawyers or accountants! The idea of shared resources and shared advisory is isntrumental in helping to increase the chances of a startup, everything helps.

  5. Jeri says:

    I got involved with my current writer’s group via Meetup. I have never heard of the site before I moved to a new city and had to start from scratch in finding people of similar interests. There is a Meetup for almost anything a person could want! I highly recommend them.

  6. Hannah says:

    Very interesting post (from a teacher’s point of view) about co-working spaces!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      When you say from a teacher’s point of view, do you mean that here is a sort of seating arrangement (for want of a better term) that works or do you mean because you teach business English and this is an interesting example of how businesses might work together?

  7. Carolyn says:

    Hi Leora, Fantastic interview! Juice Tank is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs so they can get office space and support without having to make a huge financial commitment. These business have limited capital and the less they have to invest in office space the more they can put back into growing their businesses.

    That’s wonderful that Zion has formed such a successful MeetUp group. He is not only finding new ways to support small businesses, but also has created an effective marketing tool!

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Leora!

    • Zion Kim says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      That is exactly right! We started out with the mission of being able to provide subsidized office space to startups and entrepreneurs but evolved it into more of a supportive community where people are able to help each other grow. We are still finding out how we can drive the most value to our meetup community to make sure they are getting the most out of it!

  8. Leora,

    Great interview and I really love his idea. It got me to thinking if something like that could be done here and how much it would cost. I think that I am going to look into it.

    Thanks,
    Jenn

    • Zion Kim says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      You can really start with anything and grow your community from there. There are those that have space left over after establishing their own office and then lease the rest of the space as office space. There is lot’s of great information on the coworking wiki: http://wiki.coworking.com/ that may be of assistance to you!

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