Christoph Fahle
May 21, 2012

Startup of the Week: Somewhere

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.

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!

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Have any of these brilliant ideas made you curious about the challenge? Follow us on LinkedIn for updates on the competition!

To be honest, I sort of fell into it. I was always working somewhere between content marketing and the music industry and around seven years ago a friend of a friend was searching for someone to help him curating music for his boutique surf spot on the beach in Costa Rica. The owner was a big music fan, but he just didn't have time to keep all the music up-to-date. So I got introduced to him, we shared similar tastes, and agreed that I would do the music for his space - curating it and updating it with new music on a regular basis.

This for me was a dream come true. I could finally work with music all day, and at the same time, I could help create an awesome experience for the guests. I saw people's reactions when they heard a song they liked. I saw them dancing, getting a little closer to each other at the bar and that for me was really rewarding.

This was the moment when I realized that there is something special about this idea and I got interested if there is actually market out there. I did some market research, and a lot of interviews with different hoteliers people in the industry trying to get more feedback. And the idea started growing more and more. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



Interesting is the story of the last years winner in the category “Creative”. Hamburg based headraft literally took music experience to the next level by creating the world’s first AR Music Video for the German band “die Fantastischen Vier”. Designed for their song “Tunnel”, the cited app unfolds a virtual story world once the track starts playing, giving fans the opportunity to go on an interactive journey with the band rather than being a passive viewer. 

Applications are now open! Finalists will be awaited by a curious jury of five leading industry experts. Among others, Kathleen Cohen who was already taking part in the first year will be in the panel of judges again. With a 25-year multiplatform career history under her belt, she is one of the most regarded in the field. As a digital experience expert, she has successfully implemented projects for DreamWorks Interactive and IBM Innovation, to name a few.

Needless to say, the yearly AUREA Award is definitely the place to be. Apply and become a member of the community bringing together all the promising products and solutions in the AR/VR sector.

Photo by AUREA Award

OKAY BUT HOW IS BESPOKE SOUND DIFFERENT THAN PLAYING MY "DISCOVER WEEKLY’’ OR ANY OTHER AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED PLAYLIST ?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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