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Alice Nell
September 10, 2015

Coworking on the open seas

Imagine yourself on a boat, relaxing in the sun shining brightly above you, surrounded by crystal blue water with the tranquil rhythm of waves crashing. While you sip on a tropical cocktail, you’re working on your business idea, raising funding for your startup, or writing your first book. Sounds like a dream, right? Well. A not-for-profit project called Coboat is turning this fantasy into a reality. Much like Remote Year, Coboat is a coworking space for digital nomads who want to work, create, explore, and network...all while sailing anywhere from Thailand to Indonesia to the Mediterranean. We were curious, so we asked Coboat's Gerald Schömbs a few questions about the project and how you can take a trip with them.

In short: what’s the vision of Coboat?

Coboat wants our electric sailing catamaran to be a relaxing yet productive and creative space. The goal is for different teams to be able to bounce ideas off of one another and work efficiently with little distraction. Coworking in Greece, Spain, or Turkey can make for a serene and tranquil atmosphere for productivity.

What is the experience of Coboat like?

The 82ft retrofitted electric sailing catamaran can hold up to twenty people and offers comfortable sleeping and working accommodations. Coboat provides three meals a day and water sports equipment for when teams want to take a break and have a bit of fun. It is good for the environment too! Our boats use sustainable green technology and rely solely on solar and wind generated power and desalinated ocean water.

Is there WiFi on the boat? Is it possibe to get good enough internet in the middle of the ocean for people to work effectively?

Well, Coboat uses cutting-edge technology. We offer a seamless transition from cellular to satellite-based communications so you can always stay connected.

Any way we can get on board for free?

Coboat has teamed up with Jovoto for an upcoming competition called “Made on Coboat” where winners will have 100 days on the catamaran to work on their startup projects. All you have to do is submit a one-page summary of a project or idea you’d like to work on while at sea. We have only 8 days left to apply! 

Don’t want to compete and just want to get on board? Use the code CBBHAUS10 to get a 10% discount on your next Coboat journey!

Click here for more information! 

Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.



Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK


Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !

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