VenueAgent trades cool spaces for hard cash

Jocelyn Cates wants your house and your office. But don’t worry, she’s willing to take it over when you’re away, and she might just pay your mortgage or rent in return. As the founder of VenueAgent, Cates is always on the lookout for unconventional spaces to turn into event venues.

Cates’ company, VenueAgent, matches available spaces, including bridal shops, art galleries, design studios and coffee shops, with event hosts in the area. “Just about anything could work,” she says. So, if you have a house that overlooks the Ohio River, or a sweet loft downtown, or just a big office or warehouse space that’s frequently unused, VenueAgent wants your property as a listing.

Cates herself is something of a networking wizard. She credits Joshua Johnson of Mindbox Studios, a local web design and development company, with helping her start thinking of herself as a web entrepreneur. She’s also participated in startup groups and incubators like Continuous Web, the Hamilton County Business Center, and has aligned herself with the startup-development powerhouses including the Brandery and CincyTech, a venture-development organization.

Today, she’s using those network skills to find new spaces that could fuel the success of VenueAgent. "One of our listed venues, 915 Monmouth, told me just last week, ‘We don’t have to worry about our rent or other overhead from month to month now. The events that we are hosting in our off hours more than make up for those expenses,’” she says. "That’s inspiring to me, and that sums up my vision for the future." The site currently has more than 30 available venues.
 
By Robin Donovan

Related Company

  • VenueAgent
    3044 Sundance Blvd.
    Burlington, KY 41005 Website
    With a business model akin to well-known online travel agencies, VenueAgent enables betrothed couples to book the best venues in town (often at bargain prices) while relieving event vendors of worrisome vacancies. . . a marital match made in heaven.