Each week we’re profiling one company that has been selected for Boost – our early-stage startup growth program. Catch up with these companies in person at The Next Web Conference Europe on April 23 & 24.
As someone who works as part of a geographically distributed team, I can appreciate the desire to pitch up at a co-working space and tap out a few words from time to time. Not only does it get you out of your usual surroundings, but if you’re lucky, you’ll be surrounded by a group of people who are just as talented and interesting as you. Or at least someone who can string a sentence together.
The problem, however, is that it’s not all that easy to rock up at a pay-and-play workspace. Most have ongoing commitments for weeks or months, so if you only want to use it for one day a week, it doesn’t make a lot of financial sense.
And yes, you could always do ‘the coffee shop hop’ for your Wi-Fi and power needs, but that’s not a great long-term solution. It can also be pretty expensive, depending on your choice of coffee shop.
Setting.io’s answer to that has been to build a platform for existing workspace providers that allows them to rent out desks on a short-term (daily) basis for a cost of around €10 per day, or €160 per month. It’s good for the professional-only audience that needs somewhere to work, and it’s good for workspaces that might otherwise have empty desks.
For now, it’s only available in Berlin but I could see its potential for expansion if it can attract enough new workspaces in other cities and countries. Then you’d know you could always arrange a work space somewhere in the world, wherever you happened to be each week.
We caught up with Nadine Achilles, co-founder of Setting to find out exactly what stage the team is at now.
Tell us what you do in two sentences
Starting out in Berlin, our product is a network of workspaces across the city for up-and-coming startups and independent professionals. We partner with existing workspaces (studios and co-op or startup offices) with under-utilized space to make use of. For simplification, others also described us as the ‘Airbnb for workspaces.’
What’s your origin story? How did the company get started?
Setting started out as an arrangement for a productive workspace between us (founders – Johnathan Teh, Alexander Schulze and Nadine Achilles). We started off working independently on different startups while [staying] in Romania. Being often situated in meetings or travels, a proper workspace quickly became a shareable commodity among our group of friends. Realizing how many others around the world are actually doing the same, it came to us that there’s a bigger need for on-demand workspace than just our personal arrangement. Current commercial leasing conditions are not suitable for new work and lifestyles.
Who’s your biggest rival and why are you better than them?
Local co-working spaces and open marketplaces for office space (competitors vary by location; notably sharedesk.net) are our main substitutions and competitors. For space owners Setting solves their problem to make easily use of under-utilized space, by taking away all administration involved in renting it out. For our users, Setting provides the perfect environment to get work done when they need to, and connect with like-minded people. Highly valuable for local professionals, the Setting network is also used by travellers or other people in transit.
Get rich or change the world – which is more important and why?
Setting started out as a solution for ourselves to enable us to work productively. Our mission is to enable and create accessible workspaces – connecting people who need a space to work in with space owners who have extra capacity. The commercial real-estate market is currently constrained by lengthy contracts and high investments, making is hard for new companies and professionals to take up an office and plan their actual usage.
Tell us one weird fact about a member of your team
As it was briefly mentioned above, we got to know [each] other in Romania, with none of us being actually from there. From all places in the world, we chose Romania, probably mainly known for being the country of Count Dracula, to work on our previous businesses. Romania is actually a pretty good place to focus and start up a business with low resources.