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!
Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.
Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.
If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.
The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.
It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.
Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”.
Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?
It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as well as urban planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!
A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.
Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!
Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.