PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is an apartment off of 19th and Diamond Streets near Temple University’s campus which appears to be like so many others in the area.
Inside, four current students and recent graduates live. They are all close friends, enjoying meals together, and even the occasional Xbox tournament.
But what makes these guys and their apartment so unique is what’s in the basement, a think tank of sorts where the friends all have created or operated their start-up businesses.
“We all met kind of one-by-one through each other,” said Beau Rosario. Beau, along with his twin brother Clint and Justin Swallow operate Philamedia, a videography, photography and DJ company which is rapidly expanding.
“We ended up living together as a fluke. It just so happened we all had kind of the same goals in that we all wanted to start businesses and we all had different talents. We’ve been bringing them together ever since,” continued Rosario.
Besides Philamedia, another graduate, Jesse Dilaura started his business from the very same basement. Repair U fixes broken cell phones. Dilaura started it out of his dorm room before moving into the apartment on Diamond Street. He’s recently moved out as his company has expanded.
“Repair U is trying to be the first cell phone repair company to operate out of a food truck,” explained DiLaura.
Two other friends also share the title of both roommate and office partner. Brandon Study, a senior at Temple University just ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for his company, Understand Your Brand.
He currently helps create sustainable clothing from around the world.
“We design and create clothes that are zero waste,” explained Study. “Right now we’re working with a production facility in Cambodia. We ensure everyone that touches the product is paid a fair wage,” he continued.
All in all, the diverse set of businesses under one roof allow the friends to bounce ideas off of one another, and even help in different aspects of each other’s businesses at no cost.
“We bounce stuff off one another all the time, and even whiteboard other ideas,” said Sean Hawkins, a current Junior.
He works at Triple S Branding, and has helped his roommates market their fledgling companies.
“They are exactly the kind of brainpower we want to keep in the city,” said Ellen Weber, the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Temple’s Fox School of Business.
Weber said she uses the ‘start-up house’ as an example of how students with diverse backgrounds can come together and create successful businesses. The roommates all helped Temple What If, an innovation festival held last year, which connected small businesses from throughout the community.
Through the years, nine businesses have started from the same apartment. When the businesses take off, the companies leave for more space, but the friends often return to the apartment to reconnect and bounce off ideas from one another.
“We’re friends first before we’re business partners,” said Justin Swallow, another member of the Philamedia team.
“I think that’s what holds us together and makes this so much fun,” he continued.