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Christoph Fahle
March 26, 2012

Member of the Week: Julio Santos

Julio Santos is a software engineer with a Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering. His main interests are web and mobile development, interaction design, and building Facebook applications. He is based in betahaus Berlin as lead developer and founder of the Facebook application, Gruvi. Gruvi is a platform that helps entertainment brands build and manage their communities by allowing users to give and receive movie recommendations within a network.

Interview by Mateja Plaskan

Julio Santos is a software engineer with a Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering. His main interests are web and mobile development, interaction design, and building Facebook applications. He is based in betahaus Berlin as lead developer and founder of the Facebook application, Gruvi. Gruvi is a platform that helps entertainment brands build and manage their communities by allowing users to give and receive movie recommendations within a network.

Gruvi is a start up registered in UK, but you started to develop the program in Copenhagen. How did you become involved with founding Gruvi, and what inspired you to found it?

I started out as one of the two initial developers, not a founder. But it so happened that, as time went by, I developed a very close relationship with both the product and original founders, and I eventually became part of the company, and am now considered a co-founder.

What made you decide to come to Berlin to develop your product? How has working from betahaus affected you and your work?

I came to Berlin because right now it really feels like the European capital. I came here from Copenhagen, and I had gotten a little tired of how strict everyone was over there - though I found it easier to communicate with people, since there were more English speakers there. In Berlin, I find everyone to be more open - you can communicate and connect with nearly anyone. It really feels like people are living here!

I had been working from a similar coworking space in Copenhagen. This particular place was located in a building formerly owned by Nokia, who, after having experienced an unfortunate round of layoffs, had left a lot of free space. So the environment here isn’t radically different, but I still prefer betahaus.

You’ve worked with some well-known studios before. How did you get in touch with them?

One of the original founders has a background in the film industry, and used to work with a trailer distribution company, so he had a lot of contacts and a good idea of how the industry worked. Aside from that, our product is revolutionizing the way business is done in that industry, and so these brands end up coming to us for help, without us having to ask them.

What is the aim of your product? Do you have any challenges in the future for Gruvi?

the Gruvi app

The aim of our product is to do something with movie recommendations that has never really been done right before. There are already products like Netflix, who use complex algorithms to try and determine what movies one wants to watch. Nobody really cares about that. Instead, people are more likely to watch movies based on recommendations from a friend, or from someone they trust to know their taste. So we base our product on that, by helping people find contacts who can get to know their taste and recommend movies to them.

What kind of advice would you have for young software engineers, particularly those wishing to found their own start ups

Software engineering is probably the best job to have at the moment. There is amazing demand in the market for software engineers, so it’s a highly-valued position. However, I see a lot of people getting pulled away from what they’d perhaps really like to do because they are so seduced by such a highly-valued job. In the end, the quality of your product depends entirely on how passionate you are about your work, so it’s best if you do something you love, even though you may not make as much money from it. Of course, if you have a family to feed, money should be more of a concern, but before that, I’d say you should just do what you love!

Want to join Julio and other entrepreneurs at betahaus? See how here! 

In addition to the betahaus locations, we've formed a close relationship with some of the world's best coworking spaces. With your betahaus membership, you can work from any of our partner spaces for 1 day per month.

Coworking Spaces in Europe

Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark

Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France

Le Laptop - Coworking Paris

utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain

utopic_US - Coworking Madrid

Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nest 71 - Coworking Bosnia & Herzegovina

  

Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy

Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK

Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece

 

CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway

CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal

SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia

Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway

Tøyen Startup Village - Coworking Oslo

Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia

Smart Coworking - Coworking Prague

Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal

Lighthouse - Coworking Tel Aviv

Coworking Spaces in North America

Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days

  

Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Coworking Spaces in South America

Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Area Tres - Coworking Buenos Aires

 

HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

HubBOG - Coworking Bogota

Coworking Spaces in Asia

CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號

CIT - Coworking Taipe

 

Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India

 

Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia

Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

Midori.so - Coworking Tokyo

Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines

Coworking Spaces in Australia

Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia

Coworking Spaces in Africa

Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt

Urban Station EGYPT - Coworking Cairo

Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Garage - Coworking Nairobi

 

BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay

 

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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