Flexibility, globalisation and digitalisation are changing the working world and new forms of collaboration are emerging. Creative people know perfectly well that they get some of their some of their brightest ideas during a chat over coffee. Nowadays, nearly every big city has co-working spaces where web developers, lawyers, architects or designers work side by side in an office and share the technical infrastructure. The offer is particulary suitable for a growing number of companies that wish to avoid being bound to a certain area for longer periods of time and international firms whose staff are in Hamburg temporarily.
Hamburg already has several co-working spaces which Hamburg News recently hightlighted in a series.
The Tel Aviv-based Israeli company Mindspace is due to open Hamburg’s biggest co-working space in the Alten Klöpperhaus at Rödingsmark in mid April. The new offices will be bigger and more international than other co-working spaces in the city. Tenants will have access to nearly 600 fully equipped, high-tech desk spaces on 4,000 square metres of office space 24/7. Dan Zakai, CEO and co-founder of MINDSPACE, showed Hamburg News the offices spread over four storeys.
Dogs allowed, cats are a no-no
Dozens of builders and craftsmen on every floor are adding the final touches to the building and young artists from Berlin are painting the walls. But Zakai says everything is going according to plan, seems well organised and has an answer for everything. Asked about Mindspace’s style, he replied: “We like vintage pieces with industrial and urban influences. The offices will not be ultra modern or kitschig.” Our chat is constantly being interrupted to allow Zakai deal with workers’ questions or queries from people interested in leasing. Then a wispy looking terrier comes along. “Dogs are allowed in our offices, but cats are not,” says the former investment banker and laughs. Nothing seems to ruffle him.
Kitchens on every floor
The light sandstone façade and Jugendstil elements of the 100 year-old, protected historical merchant’s house are still impressive despite the building-site atmosphere. The high ceilings, tall windows and glazed office section give it a loft-like character. Every storey will have a small kitchen complete with coffee machine, fridge and microwave for snacks. A weekly happy hour with beer and food is also planned. “We might even invite young chefs to present their latest creations here. We want anything but routine,” says Zakai.
But Mindspace’s exclusive offices are pricey at EUR 600 for a single workspace. This puts the Israeli provider in a higher price category than other co-working spaces in Hamburg. However, Zakai points out: “The extras offered by other co-working spaces are included in our full package.” Eight community managers will ensure that members do not want for anything during their workday. “We offer fully furnished, technically equipped, large and single offices, cleaning and repair services, discounts for restaurants and gyms.” The first floor will be the venue for regular networking events such as founders’ talks, start-up speed dating or workshops.
Yet, the question is whether young founders can actually afford such comfort. Unlike Hamburg’s other co-working locations, Mindspace is aiming for a broader target group including firms with 30 to 50 employees in addition to young start-ups and freelancers. Zakai explains: “Synergies emerge and innovations are created when founders, designers and freelance meet mature firms. Mindspace wants to promote that.” The concept has already worked in Tel Aviv where freelancers and founders work side by side with employees in big companies such as Barclays, ProSieben or Coca-Cola.
Outings to Tel Aviv
Mindspace has chosen Hamburg and Berlin as the company’s first international locations as Germany has repeatedly shown keen interest in Tel Aviv’s start-up scene. Many political figures and initiators of various funding programmes have visited. The media sector in Hamburg makes the city stand out and the will towards more innovation is almost palpable. The demand hitherto for office space in Rödingsmarkt has already lived up to Zakai’s choice of the location on the Elbe River. He said: “We wish to send firms from Tel Aviv to Hamburg and Berlin and vice versa. We are also constantly updating our app on which members of Mindspace can already link up with each other.”
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