To the collection of collaborative workspaces with craft beer on tap, foosball in the games area, and conference rooms with quirky names, you can soon add InTeahouse. It will combine desks and conference rooms for entrepreneurs with a traditional Chinese tearoom.
There’s also a venture capital fund in residence that will put money into some of the startups that work in the space. InTeahouse is the brainchild of entrepreneur Xin Liu, CEO of a battery company in Acton called Hipower Energy Group, and Liu says it could be partially open as soon as August.
Liu said that she recently opened the first InTeahouse location in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. “We wanted to open Boston first, but Cambridge is very difficult sometimes, and we are in an old historic building,” Liu said. In Cambridge, the teahouse will occupy the first floor, and a modern workspace will be on the second floor, with room for up to 20 startups. Liu says the Cambridge site will focus on companies working on connected devices and “Internet of Things” technologies. Liu expects the second floor to open sometime in August, and the first floor to follow shortly after.
The slogan for InTeahouse is, “We sip. We listen. We share. Then we go make things happen.” Access to the teahouse will be for members only. Students and startups will be eligible for free memberships, but Liu says that “successful entrepreneurs,” executives at big companies, and venture capitalists will pay a $6,000 annual membership fee.
Liu says that the third location for InTeahouse will be Monheim am Rhein, Germany.
According to the InTeahouse website, a $30 million venture capital fund called the InFund will focus on making early-stage investments “in the high-growth, tech-enabled companies our membership deems promising.” Liu says the fund’s investors are based in China, New York, and Boston. Liu says she has previously made investments in startup companies, including Boston-based XL Hybrids, which converts traditional cars and trucks to hybrid-electric vehicles.
Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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