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"We reached one of those ebb moments," he says. "I thought, OK, interest is dying off."
But is he concerned about the village's viability or a threat from Austin?
"The short answer is no," Barreth says. "I'm not worried about that. My house is full starting May 31 for three months."
After those three months, an Arizona-based company is slated to move into Hacker House.
"People [are] willing to move to Kansas City from way out of town," he says. "This guy is from Tucson, Arizona."
But what the neighborhood really needs is a coffee shop, Barreth says. The nearby Eddie Delahunt's Café (which opens daily at 7 a.m. and closes between 2 and 3 p.m.) is for sale, and he says the village residents are hoping that someone will buy it and expand its hours. "We need a 24-hour place where people can meet and hang out," Barreth says. "We need, like, a local version of a Starbucks."
Barreth is also hopeful that people will buy more houses and allow entrepreneurs to stay in them. He knows of a pair of startup founders who recently closed on a house down the street. And in the past few weeks, he has shown other potential homeowners around the neighborhood, including Tam Nguyen, of San Jose.
Nguyen is wrapping up a weeklong stay at the house. He says he came to try Fiber, but the community has impressed him, and he's considering buying a house in the village and renting it to other startups.
"The vibe here is cool, man," he says. "Everybody is like family."
Barreth hopes to see the family grow: "I'm just doing this to help put Kansas City on the map. In a year, the goal is 50 startups."
A big whiteboard hangs on Hacker House's living-room wall and serves as a makeshift guestbook, covered with visitors' Twitter handles. In an adjoining dining room, desks and chairs line the walls beneath another large whiteboard, which displays a schedule of upcoming visitors. Two bedrooms — one with bunk beds, the other with a solo bed for the Airbnb renter — are on the first floor.
Phil Jaycox, 23, moved from St. Louis to Hacker House in January and is the only full-time resident. It's midday, and he's barefoot, wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt, and clacking away on a Google Chromebook while sitting on a green, L-shaped couch in the living room.
Jaycox is building a platform for his social courier business, Dealivr, which allows potential delivery drivers to sign up and accept jobs from other users. He says the idea struck him in college when his drunk friends would call and ask him to deliver Taco Bell. Thirty potential local delivery drivers are awaiting Dealivr's launch.
"Even Wal-Mart is looking into delivery," Jaycox says. "That really validates my idea."
Jaycox likes Startup Village's homey atmosphere, but he admits there have been struggles in the past six months: the lack of residents at Hacker House, few companies moving into the neighborhood, and the village's lack of identity. He says the villagers are making an effort to avoid the chaotic meeting atmosphere that occurred at the previous meeting. Now they'll discuss village business exclusively at meetings biweekly. During the alternating weeks, they'll focus on the citywide startup community.