Dan Zakai on the Future of Start-ups and Co-Working
Mindspace is a co-working space concept and reality originally founded in 2014 by Dan Zakai and Yotam Alroy. The concept is to offer stylish and cooporation-friendly office space to businesses of any size and point of progression. The reality are nine very modern co-working spaces with about 5000 members as of today.
With Mindspace opening up a new creative space in Munich we had a chance to chat to Dan — offering us a perfect reflection of the current tendencies of the start-up world in Europe. Here is the interview we at KOMPAS did with him.
Hello Dan! In a few sentences; what is Mindspace?
Our aim is to create something that goes beyond your everyday coworking space and to be different to other providers. We provide a boutique product that is bringing something new to the international coworking market. Our locations include private offices, suites, open spaces and hotdesks which offer countless opportunities of a modern working surrounding to companies of all sizes. Due to our size, we have the chance to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to scale their business and expand their teams according to their needs.
Furthermore, we offer our members a perfect place to get inspired and to create a new network. To achieve this, we put a lot of effort in every detail — starting from the design of the prime locations to all the included extras. At Mindspace you don’t have to take care of anything except bringing your laptop to start working in a creative and inspiring surrounding.Does Mindspace work more broadly in bringing start-ups and investors together, for example through showcases or workshops?
In general, our focus is to give our members the best experience possible and to make coworking attractive for a wide range of people. Mindspace, in comparison to incubators and accelerator programs, does not focus on creating ties between start-ups and investors. But due to the variety of companies that choose Mindspace as their home, we do have start-ups as well as VCs, Angels as well as investors sitting amongst our members. Our community events that are promoted in all our locations, play an important part in bringing members together. But a lot of the synergies are taking place naturally.
How does Mindspace differentiate itself from other co-working spaces in Germany, and in Munich generally?
In general, competition only does good for the entire market. Whenever a competitor opened a branch in a city where a Mindspace location already existed, we noticed a surge in demand. The more coworking spaces there are, the more people notice this new way of working. A broad and diverse coworking landscape increases the awareness among potential members.
In order to differentiate our concept from other providers, we created something that goes beyond the everyday coworking space. Our boutique concept for example offers options for all types and sizes of businesses. Depending on your needs we have open spaces with flexible desk options, hot desks, open space, offices for all sizes, as well as suites that can be locked for larger companies. So even if you think you are not the type for coworking, you have the chance to work privately and concentrated in our office options. Next to those options, our flexibility is a key factor of our success. Our monthly memberships enable us to build a real community with long-term partnerships.
It is hard to describe the difference, but people that come for a visit, certainly feel it. It is a feeling hard to describe.Did you yourself work in a co-working space beforehand, and how did this lead you onwards?
I never actually worked in a coworking space but I saw the change that took place in the market. The need for coworking concepts grew and will become even more important. My love for design and aesthetics gave me the idea to launch Mindspace and to form the future of working.
The spirit in coworking spaces is a very special one and is extremely fascinating. I am very happy and excited to be part of this global movement with our soon to be nine locations and to create a new way of working.
In what direction is the co-working sector developing as of now?
A couple of years ago, the majority of coworking spaces was rather basic. Nowadays the coworking market becomes more diverse. Concepts like Mindspace with focus on a boutique service allow a new, stylish and flexible way of working. We realized that giving a seat and a table is not enough any longer. In order to stay in the game, coworking spaces need to give an experience consisting of events, community, networking opportunities and more.
Even big corporates like banks or automobile manufacturer realize the advantages of innovative coworking spaces which shows that the sharing industry is on a rise and will have a big impact in the future.
From our own observations, a lot of start-ups launch in Berlin but with time, and especially when they start turning successful, move to Munich, London, or otherwise. Do you see this tendency, and why could it be?
Berlin is a hub for young and innovative startups. The so-called scale-ups, more mature and advanced startups, are often looking for new locations as the war for talents in a city like Berlin is really tough. In cities like Munich or Frankfurt the competition is not as big and startups have a better chance to get recognized.
How do you envision the future for start-ups in Munich?
Founders and startups are always looking for the next big thing. As Berlin has been on the startup map for a long time now, new cities have the chance to catch up. Munich is currently building up a new startup ecosystem which will benefit their whole economy. With events like Bits & Pretzels and the growing coworking culture, the future looks extremely promising and we are excited to be a part of this movement.