WHAT IS THE NOTMAN HOUSE ?
Notman’s mission is to support and grow the Montreal startup ecosystem, by offering a vibrant and open campus that enables and fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange amongst all members of the community. Leading to a rich and diverse economic future for Montreal.
The story of Notman began in 2009. As the Montreal startup community began to take shape and pick up steam, early community leaders met at a hotel on the corner of Sherbrooke and St-Laurent to ask a simple question: “What do we need to do in Montreal to establish a community with the same energy and dynamism as we see in other cities around the world?”
The answer to this question soon became clear. What the ecosystem needed was a physical space to bring the community together, a hub where people could collaborate, share ideas and strengthen networks in an organic process driven by individual entrepreneurs and community builders.
In order to support the creation of such a space, these community leaders created the OSMO Foundation. The name OSMO plays on the word osmosis, a biological process of absorption and exchange. It is also an abbreviation for Operating System for Montreal. Since its inception, the OSMO foundation has focused on Notman House as its key vehicle for supporting the growth of the Montreal startup ecosystem. The first experiment in startup life at Notman House began when Real Ventures, a venture capital firm, rented space in the historic Notman House, which had been abandoned for more than a decade. Real Ventures filled some of the space with their own staff, other rooms were rented as offices or shared desks. Real Ventures also established the original Notman Café, an open collaborative space available to entrepreneurs as a free work space, and made the space available for community events.
After its first year of operation, Notman House had more than 50 paying tenants and had hosted over 300 events organized by leaders in the community. The demand for a physical home for Montreal’s startup ecosystem was clear. In providing that home, Notman House’s location was an enormous asset. Located at the heart of Montreal, at the intersection of East and West, North and South, it was truly a place where all members of the community could meet, interact and collaborate.
The initial success of Notman House opened up the possibility of a more ambitious plan. Accordingly, in 2011, the OSMO Foundation, working with the support of dozens of companies and individuals, acquired the historic Notman House and former St-Margaret’s Hospital and began the process of transforming it into Montreal’s home for web entrepreneurs.
In all, OSMO raised the funding to refurbish Notman House and St-Margaret’s for the use of the startup community. The vast majority of this money came from from private and corporate donations, including a crowdfunding campaign that saw community members contribute more than $100,000 to the cause. For more information about the amazing backers that have supported Notman House during this ambitious expansion, please visit our supporters page.
The construction of the new Notman House Campus took 3 years, during which time the original Notman House continued to operate as a key startup hub. Finally, on June 3rd, 2014, the new Campus was unveiled. With the arrival of the full campus, Notman House has been able to drastically increase its service to the community as a communal work space, event host, low cost office space provider and physical and spiritual hub for the fast growing Montreal startup ecosystem.
Responsible for the management of Notman House. Emma is focused on bringing the startup community together, improving diversity and helping Notman and Montreal shine on the international stage.
Responsible for the internal operations of Notman House, Brittany handles all things social media, startup relations and community management.
Responsible for the events at Notman House, Gabrielle aims to bring a wide variety of interesting gatherings into the various spaces in order to support the learning of our community.
Our volunteers are what make Notman run. From web development to legal to event programming to gardening, they’re there to help make sure we’re best able to support our community.