Christoph Fahle
May 14, 2012

A Day at the betahaus | Barcelona (During the Lab Phase)

Jordi, one of the betahaus | BCN founder picked me up in his Mini at the airport and gave me a nice drive through the sunny streets of Barcelona. After half an hour we arrived in Graciá, Vlilafranca 7 1km from the center of Barcelona. A well known neigborhood for the creative dudes and hipstars, the Gaudí-designed Parc Güell is around the corner.

Jordi, one of the betahaus | BCN founder picked me up in his Mini at the airport and gave me a nice drive through the sunny streets of Barcelona. After half an hour we arrived in Graciá, Vlilafranca 7 1km from the center of Barcelona. A well known neigborhood for the creative dudes and hipstars, the Gaudí-designed Parc Güell is around the corner.

I have the feeling I entered a layback very little village, right in the center of 

Barcelona. Every other street you find your self in the middle of a plaza sitting next to an old Spanish couple or a bunch of tourists from Scandinavia.

Right here is the betahaus | Barcelona located. It s an old industrial building with 5 storeys and 5 rooftop tarraces. One of them is guarded by an old banana palmtree. The perfect place for coworking, chillin and hot summer bbqs overlooking Barcelona and the sea.

The building was empty for more than 15 years and is packed with trashy stuff. Since a few weeks its onder construction to become the place to be for coworker, startups and maker from all over the city. For the last 10 days 17 architecture students from the Elisava University, Barcelona, Masterprogramm in sustainable Architecture and Design have been working hard on a project called „Waste-nity“ waste as an opportunity.

The task for those days has been to create some new furniutures out of the material the students find in the building.

4 teams had 2 days to design the betaspace objects, then another 4 days to work on the prototypes. There are two betabreakfast tables, some chairs out of paper cartonage and a mobile livingroom box.

Marisol, one of the students tells me how the mobile livingroom box will function: „If the box is not in use, it looks like a plain storage box, as soon as you snip your finger it will become a cosy living room, a place to relax, drink and enjoy a break from hard working.“

After this day at the not-finished-yet-but-soon-to-be betahaus| Barcelona I already can imagine how it will be packed with a bunch of coworkers, the next superstar startup enjoying lot s of „sundowners“ on the rooftop tarrace. We have some construction work a head of us but the spirit is already there!

For those of you who are in Barcelona in the moment please come and join Jordi and the rest of the betahaus team for a cold beer on the rooftop tarrace and have a look on the great „Waste-nity“ objects. For the rest of you we ll keep you posted when the official opening will be, you definitely have to book a flight to Barcelona then.

Want to become a member at betahaus l Belrin? More information here!

Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.

Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.

If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.

The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.

It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.

Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for‌ ‌example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”. 

Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?

It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌urban‌ ‌planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!

A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.

Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!

Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.

Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company. 

Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.

Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard.  The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.

Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one? 

Then head over to our Future Logistics Challenge! Applications are still open until September 23rd.

Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.

Ellie: I eat a lot in cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.

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