By Kevin Smith | San Gabriel Valley Tribune

A host of business leaders and city officials gathered Thursday afternoon in Pasadena for the grand opening of Cross Campus, a new center for innovation and technology.

Located in the heart of Old Pasadena at 87 N. Raymond Ave. , Cross Campus is a membership-based collaborative work environment that provides flexible workspace options for creative people and companies, a state-of-the-art venue for business events and a community hub for entrepreneurs and innovators.

“This is really exciting because it’s a different model for startups,” said Paul Little, president and CEO of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

Cross Campus, which operates another facility in Santa Monica, was co-founded by Ronen Olshansky, the company’s CEO, and Dan Dato, who serves as chief financial officer.

The Pasadena campus occupies several floors of two adjacent buildings that were purchased last year by Rising Realty Partners and technology entrepreneur David Sacks, who launched a rebrand and technical upgrade of the buildings with the help of 5x5 Telecom. The building’s new fiber and carrier-class network makes for Internet connections that are about 1,000 times faster than a typical home network.

Sacks was the founding CEO of Yammer, a social enterprise network that was acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion. He was also the first chief operating officer of PayPal, which was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, who attended Thursday’s opening, said Cross Campus is a welcome addition to community.

“The opening of Cross Campus reflects a movement in support of an innovation economy,” he said. “It will provide many jobs — jobs that are useful for the 21st Century.”

Christopher Rising, president and chief operating officer for Rising Realty Partners, is a strong supporter of the Cross Campus business model and the people who are running it. “We believe in this management team and the concept of co-working,” Rising said. “We think this will be a real revenue generator for Pasadena. And with this connectivity other businesses can lease space here and work in a collaborative environment.”

More than 60 members have already signed up to become part of the Cross Campus community and Dato said that number is growing.

“We’re getting new members every day,” he said.

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