“Digital nomads” may spend Mondays working in Hamburg, Tuesdays in Amsterdam and jet off to work in San Francisco a week later. Nomads value being able to work whenever and wherever and merely leasing a workspace for a day, if needed. But similar to those toiling away on their laptops; artists, craftspeople and creative minds also value free space and independence and can benefit from the trend towards flexible workspaces. Three north German companies have taken note of the unabated demand and launched Craftspace in early 2016.
400 locations in Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin
Craftspace works on the same principle as AirBnB, but offers studios, workshops and kitchens instead of apartments for lease. Their mix also includes places for hosting events and seminars. The owners present pictures of their offers, add a description and quote prices on the web page. Those interested place an enquiry for a certain a time slot. Craftspace recently scored a partial victory when it notched up a record 400 locations including pop-up restaurants, food trucks, film studios and factories across Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin – and that in just over a year.
Searching for a food truck
Robert Frisinger, Christoph Lange and Dr. Til Rochow are those behind the start-up. The trio have known each other since their studies in Maastricht and Barcelona and have inputted their personal experiences. Lange was partly responsible for getting a Berlin-based film production company off the ground while Frisinger worked as a consultant for a north German SME. Rochow had also worked as a consultant and in 2015 became a co-founder of the hot-dog food truck in Hamburg. He eventually hit on the idea for Craftspace when searching for space suitable for a creative project.
Community platform for big cities
Craftspace was originally founded as a platform for private people, start-ups and doers. However, more and more B2Bs joined gradually. Lange noted: “The demand for media production, catering firms or workshop providers surprised us at first. We thought a good infrastructure already existed in the sector.” Craftspace aims to be mainly a community platform. He added: “The concept works best in big cities. We may expand our offers in Cologne and Munich next.”
Organic growth versus fast profit
However, other goals take priority. To begin with, Craftspace is aiming for a critical mass of over 500 locations. The entrepreneurs cancelled provision for successful deals at the turn of 2016/2017 to push growth. As a result, the web page is now available free of charge to both tenants and landlords. “Our platform is working. It’s growing and making many great projects possible. We are mulling other good services and remuneration,” said Lange. Yet, the trio are not looking for investors. “Our offer is growing organically,“ he added. An investor’s profit expectations would only put the start-up under undue pressure.
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