Interview by Alessandro Vercesi (current intern at betahaus)
What is OleaPark and what does it offer?
Oleapark is the first horizontal platform for events and gives the possibility for users to interact with other attendees before, during, and after an event. iPhone and Android users can download the App for free and start using it by simply logging in from their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile. The App has been created to allow customers to network at events as well as having the important information needed to attend it. Customers create a “badge” for each event and have a portfolio in which they can manage them. In this way, they are able to keep up with what is happening at the event and be in touch with the other attendees before, during, and after the event. Therefore, users can plan a meeting with other attendees and keep in touch with them after the event through the ability of creating a contact list. Thanks to the possibility to link with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the App shows people going to an event. These are displayed according to three categories; people that you have already met at an event, people that you are connected with in the other social networks, people that you might know or be interested to meet because you share interests or contacts with them. Another benefit of the App is that users can request to arrange a meeting with another attendee of an event through a messaging/chat system within the App. In addition, the “badge” gives information about the location, agenda, hosts, attendees, and a description of the event. Check out this video...
Florent I know you were part of "Le Camping" in Paris, how was the experience and why did you decide to move to Berlin?
Le Camping is an accelerator for startups. The structure could be considered similar to betahaus because it is a coworking space where 12 startups work at the same time in the same place. Many startups face recurrent problems and being in a coworking environment can help people to be more confident and have the possibility to network and learn from the experience of the other startups. After living in Paris and working at Le Camping for 6 months, we - Florent (CEO) and Karl (CTO)- the two co-founders, decided to move to Berlin 3 months ago. This decision we made primarily because Berlin is considered the best place to be for startups. In fact, here startups can find many investors willing to support them and a very creative environment that can help the company to grow. (Check out this video ...)
Why did you decide to become a member of betahaus?
The choice of betahaus came straightforward to Karl and me because of our experience at Le Camping. That experience taught us that we want to work in a coworking environment because of the possibility to exchange opinion with other startups and the possibility of networking. After 3 months at betahaus, we are still enthusiastic of our choice and believe that the coworking environment helped us to grow a lot in this initial and crucial phase of our company.
What kind of problems do you have to face?
As for many startups, the biggest challenge that OleaPark faced is a lack of time. In fact, whenever a startup is built, the most important variable is time, and in particular, how to prioritize all the important decisions that has to be made. In addition, only two people are part of the team, which could be considered a disadvantage in bigger companies; however, this created the opportunity to be very flexible in each decision and work. As a matter of facts, we were able to develop an App for iPhone and Android, develop a web platform that corporates can use to upload their events, and being able to success in all commercial aspects. In fact, if you work in a well-integrated team, you can be even faster and more efficient than a big team.
Which are your future goals?
As most startups, our main goal is raising more funds in order to open an office in Berlin and keep developing oleapark. During one year, we were able to increase our market share from Paris’ events to a more international range. In fact, right now the app has badge for many events in Europe: Berlin, Paris, Milan, London; and the US, especially in San Francisco. Another goal of the company is being able to wider our range and be able to offer as many events as possible.
Thanks alot for the interview!
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January was the month we settled in our new ‘haus at Rudi-Dutschke-Straße. Just like moving into a new apartment, it was cold at the start. It felt a little new and different, but the moment the Club Lounge started filling and members were getting lunch together at the betahaus | Cafe, a new magic started to happen. The magic we call the betahaus community. It takes time to build, but the connections that blossom inside the ‘haus stay forever.
In February betahausX released The Accessible Transportation Challenge - a partnership with Toyota Mobility Foundation for the BETAPITCH challenge in Berlin. Devoted to making Berlin a more accessible city, this edition of BETAPITCH gathered many startups working on great new transportation solutions.
In March, we announced a soon-to-be-open second location in Berlin in our favourite neighbourhood in the city. We took over the iconic Geyer Werke building in Neukölln and with the help of our architects from Kim Wang we turned the place into a four-floor coworking space. We shared with you some fun facts about the space before it’s opening and made a virtual map with our favourite businesses around the ‘haus.
In April, we celebrated a decade of coworking with our biggest party in the last few years - ''10 Years in beta''. For this one we transformed the coworking area in betahaus | Neukölln into a party venue. An art exhibition took over The Basement underneath and The Garden was filled with activities like acro yoga, mandala painting, and a collage workshop.
‘’One of my many favourite betahaus moments this year was when Christoph, Max and I stood nervously in the Garden to give a speech in front of all our friends and members at our 10th birthday party. We talked about our values, our future goals after this whirlwind of a change and our intention to make tech more human. There was just so much love and appreciation around us.’’ - Madeleine (Co-Founder, betahaus)
"My favourite betahaus moment of the year is the woman who was gently putting beef and minced meat around our 10 years party installation. Until this day, no one knows exactly who she was and if this was a part of the installation, but out of all the things we saw on the 10 years in beta, she stays my highlight.’’ - Maria (Graphic Designer, betahaus)
The 10 Years in beta party was also the official opening of betahaus | Neukölln. Spring was the perfect time for our new project to start growing. The Club Lounge started filling, amazing new teams joined the community such as LAUDO, Obst Digital, Wonderwerk, Trybe and The Zeitsprung Project. Our Gil became the Lord of the house, giving hugs to everybody, fixing all kinds of problems in the ‘haus and keeping it run smoothly with the rest of the Front Desk team. This was also the month when we launched our beloved weekly yoga classes guided by our dear Cynthia from Arrive Yoga.
" People matter! Community was always what we were all about. ‘’
In June we launched #PeopleInbeta - our monthly blog post series in which our Content Manager - Vihra interviewed teams and freelancers from the betahaus community to present the variety of creatives we have in ‘haus, to understand their missions and get some useful advice for our audience. We talked on topics such as sustainability (with PlanA) , decentralized digital identity (with JOLOCOM), curated music experiences (with Bespoke Sounds), freelance photography (with Sara Herrlander), full-stack development (with Obst Digital), design (with LAUDO) and much more.
In the summer, we launched a couple of new events in Neukölln like Freelancers, Unite!, The Backyard Sessions and My friend’s BBQ.
Freelancers, Unite! developed as our productive coworking session with freelancers from in and outside the ‘haus. Once a month, we picked an important freelance topic (such as taxes, time-management, etc) and invited experts to give us insights on the topic. We saw so many new faces and had the chance to come back closer to where we started from - the freelance, grassroots culture.
Another event, which started in July (and turned out to be our favourite events) were The Backyard Sessions. Organised by our queen of Neukölln - Robbin – the Backyard Sessions are our creative evenings with live music jams, movie screenings and cocktails.
This last event was hilarious because for quite some time, nobody knew exactly who organised it or invited them. The friend was throwing a BBQ for the community in the garden and this led to all our members joining and staying after for a beer or two with us.
‘’My favourite moment this year was the second friends bbq which was actually cancelled because of the rain forecast. But despite the bad weather, people show up and it turned into a super nice intimate evening with Elizaveta and Paul giving a garden concert.’’ - Robbin (Community Manager, betahaus)
''In July, it was great how the casual after-work BBQ turned into an impromptu acoustic blues jam session with Elizavetta Barsegova and Paul, who have the voice of an angel. Actually, all of the My Friend's BBQ's and Backyard Sessions were AWESOME.’’ - Paige (Head of Marketing, betahaus)
This year we released a new event format in Kreuzberg called ‘’The betaSalon’’. It's an open panel discussion which aims to give stage to important topics and give free speech on them. The fist one we did on the EU elections, last month we talked about changemakers, but our favourite one for this season stays ‘’Mother + Founder’’ where we partnered with FemGems podcast and recorded a live podcast episode for them having Madeleine Gummer von Mohl (betahaus co-founder), Kristine Zeller (co-creater of ooshi period underwear) and Luisa Hoffman on the stage.
Every September, our co-founders take part in the Techfestival. in Copenhagen, spending a few days disconnecting from the daily life and focusing on creating a better, more human-centered tech future. This year the think tank which included our co-founders Madeleine and Max came up with the TechPledge. The Tech Pledge was made to emphasize the need for a new direction in tech. Similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors, the Tech Pledge is a promise to make tech a force for good and ensure responsible and sustainable tech leadership. It’s a commitment to driving a new direction in technology.
One of the most exciting projects for betahausX this year (which is also continuing in 2020) is their new startup challenge called The Werder Lab - a global startup competition that aims to reimagine the way clubs like Werder work with athletes, fans and partners.
This year couldn’t end without us having our favourite events - the end-of-the-year holiday party and the BETAPITCH Global Finals. On the 6th of December we saw the 9 finalists of the regional BETAPITCH competitions pitching in front of our jury. Congrats to Troy from Hamburg for winning the big prize.
We finished the year at our Holiday Party celebrating anything and everything at betahaus | Neukölln together with our members, friends of friends and our favourite artists from Passiflora LIVE, Tapete and Kotoe.
Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.