How did you come up with the idea of opening a co-working space?
Madeleine van Mohl: It all began with three of us working with freelancers over a long period. Our office was always either too small or too large. We needed a space where teams could easily grow and shrink as they wished, so we opened betahaus and just invited the freelancers to test it out with us. Over time, more and more moved in. a mere four months after opening, we were fully booked.
How do co-working spaces improve productivity?
Madeleine van Mohl: It’s perfect for networking, for finding coworkers, co-founders and colleagues. and if everyone around you is in work mode and concentrating, it’s much easier to get your own work done.
What are the main values of betahaus?
Madeleine van Mohl: Openness, cooperation and collaboration. all this makes it a successful platform to bounce ideas around and get creative. But we do not like copycats.
What makes betahaus different to all the other co-working spaces that are springing up all over Europe?
Madeleine van Mohl: We have the betalab, which began as a test version of betahaus. In early 2009 we shared our desks with 30 co-workers and learnt exactly what web workers and creative professionals need for their work. We kept this principle, which means betahaus will constantly be evolving according to our co-workers’ needs. We also have the Fab Lab, which has mechanical tools in order to convert ideas into a functioning reality. There are a number of lounges in secluded corners for private discussions or quiet concentration, plus we have our own coffee shop, which gives the space a relaxed area to chat and socialise with a good caffeine boost.
Are co-working spaces a gimmick or here to stay?
Madeleine van Mohl: I think soon we’ll have lots of co-working spaces all over the place and people will get used to it. It’ll be the norm. Large companies and agencies have already started to approach us for manpower as they have noticed betahaus’s pool of interesting and creative people.
What’s the future for betahaus? European expansion? Global domination?
Madeleine van Mohl: Not quite, but we are opening a betahaus in Barcelona and one in Sofia… if our plans work out.
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