Justin McMurray is the founder of SomewhereHQ. He has already been featured as the start-up of the week. He recently won the betapitch, so we decided to interview him again. He grew up in Australia and finished school with a degree in Commerce and Marketing in Australia. He afterwards worked for IBM for some time. It took him some time to realise what to do to get fulfillment in his working life. After a lot of travelling all around the world he settled down in Europe. He was living in London for three years, but in the end figured out that Berlin is the more appealing place for him and moved there. One interesting aspect of Berlin for him is the great amount and quality of street art which can be found here. Actually he created a side project for fun, which is documenting street art on the walls of Berlin. He uses the co-working space of Betahaus since August last year.
How did you discover betahaus? How has the co-working space in betahaus changed since you are here?I don’t remember exactly how I catched sight of betahaus. I searched a co-working-space in Berlin and went to visit a couple of them. Maybe a friend mentioned it to me. My first day in betahaus was quite amusing: Me and a friend of mine walked through the building, looking for the offices and desks. We tried to use the lift to get to the top and it broke down. We thought we got stuck, so it was a bit scary. At least it was a kind of funny first impression of the betahaus.
Somewhere action shot moviepilot
I started working at betahaus in August last year. It wasn’t that crowded, also there were less events and projects going on. I had a great time working in the team-space in the fourth floor with my two interns. Since that, the betahaus certainly has changed in many ways. There are bigger and more interesting events and projects going on. A lot of improvements have been made.I’ve met lots of people and friends her. The space it is not just a co-working space, it is a place where people can cross-over between work and social life.
Why did you decide to apply for betapitch? What do you think about betapitch?It took me some time to consider if I should apply for betapitch or not. In some way it is a super early stage for a start-up. We were just working on it for a few months. Now we have a product and is going quite well. A couple of days before the applications closed I sat down with Christoph (co-founder of betahaus) He told me that he had done several of those betapitches before which got a lot of feedback and resonance. He also told me that the jury was quite strong.
At least we really entered the last possible day and were happy to be accepted. After the pitch was done and the winners had been announced, we really were surprised that we were one of the winners. The other startups were pitching their ideas really strong, too. A lot of great people who have great ideas and do very interesting things. The main purpose of entering betapitch in this stage of the Somewhere HQ evolution was to connect with people and to build a network, not to win the pitch.
Somewhere source code
The betapitch audience was extremely savvy. They understood that beyond us crafting a beautiful service and helping companies address a big headache, our challenge is to turn invisible information into rich, structured data. Which means that we're actually cracking the source code of company culture.
How do you promote Somewhere?At the moment we are focusing on the beta launch which just took place. The main focus is to get small companies on board and to use the service. I spoke with a number of companies and explained what Somewhere HQ is all about. We exist to help people and companies find a social fit. We can be a fantastic alternative to existing recruitment solutions.
When I spoke with companies or start-ups in Berlin, a lot of persons told me that the biggest problem is to find the right employees or (the other way round) company. So when we came up with this concept - creating a social fit - we’ve directly got a great feedback. We approached 30 companies and 20 of them they said they want to be part of Somewhere HQ. Those companies are placed in Sydney, London, New York, San Francisco, Denmark, Sweden, Berlin, France…
That’s one side of the concept. Another one is to create a market place: bringing together an individual and a company. Until now we didn’t try to get the individual on the board or sing up yet, it just happened. People are hearing about us through quite a lot of press or media coverage.As an individual you can create a profile on Somewhere HQ. You can start showing the real you, as we say. We are reaching hundreds and hundreds people from all over the world.
Does Somewhere has a vision for the future?We exist to help people to become happier with their work. We're not making a joint vision statement, we think more personal. We want to help people to find a place where they can be really happy, use all their talents, skills and experience. To make many contributions, so that when they open their eyes in the morning they can really look forward to the day.
We still believe in place. The country where you should be is the most important question.The “place”, which includes the team, the people, the environment, the working atmosphere, values is really important. If you find a place somewhere where you really feel good, then the rest comes super easy.
Still wondering about a membership at betahaus? Click here and read more about it!
Let’s start with the big one. Anyone who has ever moved houses before knows there are tons of tiny expenses that suddenly add up to a very expensive relocation. And that’s just for you and your stuff.
When you start an office from scratch, you’ll have to invest in everything from new furniture to office amenities. You’ll need to outfit meeting rooms and stock the kitchen. Sign a monthly contract with the internet provider. Decorate. Even if you have a lot of these things from your old office, you’ll have to hire someone to help you move it and use up hours of your time getting everything set up.
One of the best parts of moving your team into a coworking space is that most of these costs are already covered in your monthly membership. You’ll move into a fully-furnished space with everything you need to get to work, AND you’ll know exactly how much you have to pay from the time you move in.
In a traditional office, you’ll typically have to sign a year lease (or longer). You’ll be committing to a fixed space that won’t grow with your team or give you flexibility if things change. Unless your contract goes month-to-month, you might just find yourself in a lifelong cycle of “let's figure it out next year”.
We believe that your office should help you grow, not hold you back. That’s why our Team Spaces come with leases as short as two months. Your rates are on a per-member basis, so you can easily expand your team or take over new rooms without having to break your lease. We work beside you rather than against you to find an arrangement that gives you the comfort of a home base with flexibility.
Did we mention this was going to be easy?
Just kidding. We definitely did.
But, look. Your space will be fully-furnished from the day you move in. We’ll have the WiFi up-and-running and printers online. The meeting rooms will be ready to go. The kitchenette stocked with mugs and freshly brewed coffee. And you’ll have the support of our coworking team. They’ll provide everything from reception to package handling to space maintenance. They’ll get you oriented in the space and make sure you have what you need to get to work.
New office without the downtime.
Some office spaces have a one-size-fits-all approach, but that's not really our style. The reason no two betahaus locations look the same is because they’re locally designed. And we give our Team Space members this same opportunity to customize their space.
Choose a room with a view of the city or one on the ground floor with easy access to the garden. Change the lighting fixture or bring your own bookshelf. We want teams to be able to white label, decorate, and really make the space their own if they want to.
And if you’re really looking to customize, Team HQs allow teams to collaborate with our architects and coworking team to create a space that is completely bespoke. Whether it’s additional meeting rooms, unconventional seating, or a yoga room, we apply our 10 years of experience in building functional workspace to your creative vision to create something that’s just right.
Probably the biggest benefit of coworking is community and events. Now we know it may not be the first thing you’re looking for as you seek out your next office space, but bear with us.
Imagine using your lunch breaks to chat with someone in your industry. Meeting freelance developers at after-work beers. Networking with investors at BETAPITCH. Pitching at our weekly betabreakfast and getting support and feedback on your new ideas.
betahaus has spent the last 10 years cultivating a community of people who we genuinely like working with. And when you join, your team will become a part of it, too.
" 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.