John Weston has lived in Downtown Cleveland since 2007, residing in five buildings before settling into the Bingham in the Warehouse District last year. During his 11-year stay, he’s witnessed the growth of downtown’s livability first hand.
Weston, 31, is the CEO of Wheedle, an app that allows people to create and share events. Wheedle is a Flashstarts Accelerator company headquartered at 50 Public Square in Terminal Tower, less than four blocks from his apartment.
The prospect of one day moving to the suburbs, buying a house, getting a car and dealing with the maintenance of it all holds no interest for Weston. He doesn’t even want to own. “That’s not my dream,” he says. “My dream is to build companies.”
Until last year, Weston had a car, but he got rid of it. Living and working downtown, he never used it. These days, he enjoys his apartment, the 10-minute walk to work and the occasional Uber ride. “I’m just trying to focus on growing a company, creating more jobs and building a better environment for [Downtown Cleveland’s] tech community.”
While being a big champion of downtown life, he acknowledges some challenges for tech entrepreneurs. In Weston’s experience, investors in the Cleveland market gravitate toward traditional business structures with tangible assets they can understand — like a brick-and-mortar space, inventory, etc. With the intangible world of tech, he sees a blind spot with local investors who are unfamiliar with virtual/digital ideas that don’t entail any of the logistics of physical businesses. It’s a tougher sell here.
But Weston says he loves living downtown and building his business here. Along with the freedom of not having a car and easy access to restaurants, bars, shows, games and all the things downtown has to offer, his favorite benefit is the lower cost of living. It’s no news that one gets a markedly bigger bang for their buck in Cleveland. Having spent considerable time in other tech hubs around the country, he asserts that the standard of living you get in Downtown Cleveland, compared with the cost of other markets, cannot
“I’m just trying to minimize my lifeallows ,” he says.
“And if I’m worried about maintaining a house, a yard, a picket fence, a car... When would I have time to grow a company?”