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!
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.
Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark
Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France
utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, 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
Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal
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
Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號
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
Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines
Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia
Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt
Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
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.
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 email@example.com !