Julian Jost of Spacebase
If you're planning to hold a workshop in Berlin, you no longer have to work through a list of phone numbers of individual providers of suitable venues. The platform Spacebase allows those planning an event to compare and book suitable venues. A little like Airbnb – except that there's no room for mistakes when renting out event spaces in the business segment. Woe, if the beamer fails to work or catering is late. Projekt Zukunft talked with Spacebase founder and managing director Julian Jost about what makes a good workshop and how the right venue can influence this.
Mr Jost, you have worked as a consultant yourself. Thinking back on past workshops and training courses, what memories come to mind?
First of all, it is a fact that there's an endless number of workshops and meetings taking place in the business world. Creative workshops or team events in order are also in demand to foster a company culture. On paper, this is all well and good. However, there's a tendency to get stuck in routine and rush from meeting to meeting without an agenda and a clear concept. Often these workshops take place in very basic conference rooms that all look equally boring. This is not the way it's supposed to be.
What exactly is the problem?
These rooms are not conducive to creativity. Why shouldn't people be able to meet in an atmosphere that contributes to the goal of the meeting? Prior to founding Spacebase we thought: Let's see what rooms are available on the market and how we can market them. Lo and behold, every city has amazingly beautiful and exciting spaces, however, as your average organiser you stand no chance to book these spaces. Using the sharing economy approach, i.e. the shared use of capacities, we then set out to develop our platform. Whoever has a good space can list it with us.
But you've only been online with this platform since this summer. In order for your platform to be useful for event organisers, they require offers that are available. How large is the variety of venues so soon after the launch?
Berlin is clearly our core city. In total, there are 250 venues registered in the system. Since the launch, we have also been able to gain a solid foothold in Paris and Hamburg. At the moment, we're focusing on growing in Germany. Of course, as a start-up we're still on a modest level, however, our bookings have doubled every month so far. We'd like to keep it that way!
Are your clients from a specific segment?
No, even though clients from the consultancy sector prevail, for obvious reasons. Our clients come from various backgrounds, including some large corporations - Deutsche Bank or Deutsche Bahn have already booked conference rooms with us - as well as freelancers and start-ups. However, more than 80 percent are business clients. Also in terms of venue providers, commercial providers outweigh private ones. However, there are some providers whose core competency actually is not in the event area. For example, a photo studio does not necessarily offer seating for 50 people, however, it can be a great workshop room for certain occasions. Support from our side is especially vital at this stage.
This means you're more than just a platform offering venues for rent?
We coordinate complete packages with several contract partners, including additional services such as seating or catering. After all, a meeting is like an event that has to be properly prepared and planned. If you book with us, we'll support you throughout the whole process, in order to improve the quality of the meeting or workshop. By now we have gained an excellent overview of the market situation, which puts us in a position to directly book you with the right partners. The booking is always made via our platform, part of which we keep as commission.
Mr Jost, one last request: Could you please complete the following sentence: "Berlin is...
...home to creative conference rooms."
Thank you very much for this interview.
After graduating in economic sciences and management, Julian Jost initially worked as a consultant at Roland Berger. In August 2014, he founded Spacebase GmbH, together with his business partner Jan Hoffmann-Keining and Stephan Ekbergh.