A new item has been added to our Slovak startup infrastructure portfolio. Just recently established co-working space in Bratislava named 0100 Campus was opened in November 2016 and has already gained popularity in the community. Its location contributes largely to the fact that its also known among students as Mlynska dolina in Bratislava is famous as a big campus packed with young people and technical faculties.
To find out more about the goals of the space, what it is offering as well as its value for the community and future plans, I talked to the co-founder Dušan Duffek and community manager Sandra Hemzová.
Sandra, Dušan, right now we are in the 0100 Campus venue. Can we start with the story of the space? How did the idea evolve?
Dušan (D): It started roughly a year ago when I and my co-founders left one incubator that we had founded. Having a lot of ideas and energy to start something new, we realized that there was also an interest from our network and from the ecosystem to continue doing what we had been doing before. Thus, we decided to continue building the community and bringing together diverse people.
We looked into various locations and the first time we came to Mlynská dolina and saw this space, we immediately knew that this the right spot. Then the talks to interior designers and experts on working environment psychology and equipment followed.
In November 2016, after about six months of hard work, our space was open.
People seem to find the location as on of the biggest values of 0100 Campus. Why is it so interesting?
D: Many people consider this area as an emerging part of Bratislava. There is a very strong establishment of the Technical University in the location, specifically informatics, mathematics, and physics. To talk numbers, we have roughly 12 000 students located in the radius of 500 meters, and of this chunk, there is a big percentage of technical students that are future innovators, entrepreneurs, and people that will be providing a lot of value to the society and the whole country.
0100 Campus is a great base for young people to get inspiration. It is their first touch base of what entrepreneurship is, how technology works, how you interact with diverse people, how to present yourself, how to sell your idea or your product. Everybody who joins has a direct access to it.
There are several coworking spaces in Bratislava. How is 0100 Campus different?
D: There are several dimensions. What we found out recently is that location is super-important. There are people that come here solely because it is close to their house, and they don’t want to spend more than 5 minutes commuting. They do not mind what space is about and what’s inside. But after they come, they immediately know that it’s not only about the location, they also see the other values. But the first trigger is the location for them.
The other difference is the international approach, the diversity that Campus embodies and that we are building on. Ever since we started, we managed to bring people from 15 different nationalities. If there is someone who is international and has been living in Bratislava, he’s likely to end up in 0100 Campus just because this is an international setup and he is not going to feel that he does not belong here.
Even though word-of-mouth is very strong, it is surprising to us how quickly the word about 0100 Campus and everything that’s happening here and people sitting here spreads across the town.
Sandra (S): One of the greatest added value is the community of the people we got. They are friendly, open-minded, and willing to help. Everybody who enters has an opportunity to collaborate with others or find somebody who can give them a new hint.
What nationalities and projects are based in the office?
S: We have everyone from coders and developers to people who are coaching, teaching communication skills, people specialized in food and nutrition, there is e-commerce platform, people developing iOS applications, and much more. To name some of the nationalities, there are people from Iran, India, South Korea, Ukraine, Sweden, France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Russia,
What type of memberships do you offer?
S: Doesn’t matter if you are an individual or a small or bigger group of people, we provide Hot and Fix Desks. Hot Desk is a membership where you have limited access just during the weekdays with no fix spot, which is mostly used by individuals and people who are in a very beginning of their projects. Fix Desk memberships are for small groups of people or people that are in their later stages. There are also offices for bigger groups up to ten people.
What is the capacity of the space?
S: The capacity for fix desks is 36 people, hot desk can serve to up to 30 people and then there are 3 private offices for up to 10 people. As for the fix desks and private offices, we ARE excited to say we are fully booked.
D: There is actually a waiting list for people who want to join in. In the meantime, we offer them hot desks or daily memberships.
What types of events do your organize? How do you reach to people outside the members‘ community?
S: We organize events both for our members as well as public events. The membership events are aimed mostly at personal development like communication, branding, sales, and other soft skills. Just recently we have started to organize Yoga classes on our terrace that are accessible to general public as well.
D: One very interactive event is called Tea at 5. If an interesting entrepreneur is coming to the town, we invite them to come here, give a short talk on a highly specific topic they are familiar with. Afterwards, you can openly speak to the guest and discuss what you want to know. The idea is, on one hand, to provide some interesting knowledge and experience, on the other hand, to extend one’s network. It’s very informal.
What about the events for the outer world?
D: One of the main concepts we’ve been running on monthly basis is Startup Grind Bratislava by Google for Entrepreneurs. Besides that, we just recently launched a new type of event called NEXT events. The main idea is to create discussions around topics mainly in emerging technologies. It should be similar to TEDx events where a high-accomplished person or an expert who’s well educated in a particular domain comes and gives a presentation aimed at a particular topic. The first one was organized around AI and Big Data, then there was Cybersecurity and just recently we organized NEXT Biometrics. In June, the topic will be Chatbots!
What were the biggest challenges before opening and what are some of them today?
S: Before we were open, it was to get the right people in.
D: We managed to attract people that were a fit for our environment. We targeted former classmates, colleagues, partners, to attract them coming back to Bratislava and be part of this community. To our surprise, it worked.
If you had one word to define the community of 0100 Campus, what would it be?
S: I don’t have one word so I’ll go with two: friendly and international.
D: I would say openness and energy.
What are some future plans of 0100 Campus?
D: What we are currently working on is to extend the community to have more and more people coming to the venue for various occasions. If you want to increase the value of a community, the best way is to bring in more people who share their knowledge and experience. We want to represent a community for anybody who has the ambition to improve themselves and get to know other people. If there is a person who does not know what to do after graduation, we want to be the place where he or she can come and try to figure it out. On the strategic perspective, we definitely see the potential in growing the space to different locations.
What is the best way to approach you?
S: Whatever suits you most. We are on Facebook, on phone almost 24/7. Most of the people call. We are full in terms of capacity but there is still space for discussions, and we can figure out something:)
Dušan Duffek is also a co-founder of Slovak STARTUP.