Searching for Poland’s Unicorn

Dan Zakai, Co-founder of Mindspace
Israeli international startup workspace provider aims to foster a climate for innovation in Poland’s capital

Mindspace was established in Israel – ‘the startup nation’ – in 2014, and expanded quickly to Berlin and Hamburg. The company has secured $15 million so far from mainly Israeli angel investors to expand globally and are more than doubling in size this year, with two more locations in Berlin, two in Munich, one in Herzliya, a major expansion in Tel Aviv, and their new Warsaw location at Hala Koszyki, which will span over 3000 sqm and accommodate about 500 members. Globally, the company manages over 35,000 sqm and has a community of over 6,000 members.

Poland Today founder & editor Richard Stephens caught up with Mindspace co-founder & CEO Dan Zakai ahead of his appearance at the CEE Summit 2017, organized by Poland Today & PropertyEU at the Sofitel Victoria Warsaw Hotel on Wednesday 28th June.

Why Warsaw, and why now?

Warsaw is an energetic market where the forces of business and innovation are driving the city forward at an amazing pace. This creates a need for co-working spaces for startups, small businesses, and forward-looking enterprises. We’ve been looking at Warsaw as an emerging European hub for innovation and talent for a while, and when the Hala Koszyki opportunity came along, it was the right time and the best occasion to seal the deal and enter Poland. We simply fell in love with this place.

How do you perceive the startup scene in Warsaw?

It’s growing rapidly, and obviously at the beginning of the road. We see venture capitals from around the world starting to take interest in the Polish market. In Warsaw there is a highly qualified workforce and lots of young professionals – it’s just a matter of time for this market to mature into a successful startup ecosystem. We saw it happen in Hamburg and Munich before. It’s important to emphasize that it takes time. I am traveling across Europe and to the U.S. a lot and there aren’t many places that beat Warsaw in terms of vitality and speed of technology development. The Polish startups have the skills and DNA for entrepreneurship and Warsaw is already an important European city in that sense. We hope to grow the first Polish Unicorn at Mindspace Hala Koszyki…

What do you look for in terms of space?
Hala Koszyki

First of all, location. All our spaces, in all cities we operate in, are at the best place in town, at the center of the business district. Hala Koszyki demonstrates this well – what better place in Warsaw? Mindspace’s approach to work and lifestyle aligns perfectly with the vibe of the revitalized Hala Koszyki, demonstrating how classic foundations coupled with inspiring design can uplift both people and businesses. We’re excited to offer Warsaw’s innovative businesses a home in their journey to greatness.  

We are passionate about the vibe and lifestyle at our locations, and we create it through design, caring community managers, and a lot of activities that take place here. It builds a strong vibrant community.

At the same time, we care about the productivity and privacy of our members. We don’t offer a lot of open space for work, we provide mostly offices for teams of various sizes. You can shut the glass door of your office and focus on growing your business. Whenever you want, the community happens just outside your office – at the kitchens, lounges, and the event space. As a CEO or employee, you have the best of all worlds for you and for your team.

How many community members does Mindspace have in a single location?

It varies as each location is different in size. Hala Koszyki will accommodate about 500 members, working for about 150 different companies.

Lounge and Kitchen area-Mindspace Berlin Q
When are you moving into the space at Hala Koszyki?

Our space at Hala Koszyki is currently being fitted out – it will be ready mid-October. We’re already showing the place to interested enterprises, small and medium businesses, startups and investors, and taking pre-reservations. It’s going to be a super cool and inspiring place where the entire innovation scene  in Warsaw will meet, work, and collaborate.

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Written by: Richard Stephens