Back in 2012 in our Club Lounge at Mortizplatz, the Urban Sports Club co-founcers, Benjamin and Moritz, were only sketching their idea about Urban Sports Club. Seven years later, they're the European market leaders for sports memberships, they've partnered with 3.000+ sports venues in four countries (Germany, France, Italy and Portugal), and they've grown a team of almost 200 employees. We talked with them about their story, the way coworking has space shaped their company and what's ahead for them in 2019!
That’s right, we are proud to have started in betahaus and like to think back to the good old days. At the very beginning, it was just my co-founder Benjamin and myself sharing one desk. We weren’t even full-time, but rather twelve days a month. During that time, we got well acquainted with the unique atmosphere and the inspiration it gives you. It is, for example, the people you meet repeatedly at events, see by the printer, or have a chat with in the café that contribute to this special experience.
During that time, we got well acquainted with the unique atmosphere and the inspiration it gives you. It is, for example, the people you repeatedly meet at events, see by the printer, or have a chat with in the cafe that contribute to this special experience.
At the time, our concept for Urban Sports Club wasn’t entirely finished. As we were thinking through different concepts, the creativity betahaus instills definitely helped during that process.
We wanted a clear separation between our private and work life. The office had to be affordable and well equipped. To choose a coworking space was a natural fit for us.
What definitely stood out at betahaus was the creative atmosphere in the community. It seemed like a melting pot for good ideas. We got in touch with future developers, future designers, grew our small customer base from there and were able to gather a ton of valuable feedback.
In my opinion the answer is a clear yes. Networking happens a lot quicker if you are mingling with other similar-minded companies on a daily basis. Being at betahaus helped us to hire team members, get customers, collect input and close deals with cooperation partners faster.
We do keep in touch a lot. One example is One Coworking – a startup created by betahaus co-founder Christoph Fahle that gives you worldwide access to coworking spaces with only one membership. As I have always been a big fan of betahaus itself, I am excited to be a mentor and business angel at One Coworking.
Maintain your endurance! Particularly at the beginning, everything developed slowly. We bootstrapped, therefore we did not have much money to invest. Like us, you will encounter investors who don’t believe in your product. But we kept on going because we believed in Urban Sports Club.
In the end it is working out nicely, but that wasn’t always clear. So, long story short: Don’t give up!
One main challenge that we are facing is recruiting. In a hotspot for start-ups like Berlin, great possibilities come with tough competition to get the right team together. We have grown to roughly 200 employees and I am extremely proud of the team that we have built and are still building. But finding the right new colleagues at the right time is extremely difficult.
Thank you! After Germany, France and Italy we have just expanded to our fourth country: Portugal! Now, with one membership, our members can do sports anywhere from Berlin to Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Lyon, Milan or Munich and so forth. Of course we won’t stop here. Our goal is to bring the offer to more and more European cities and shape the future of sports memberships.
There is a bunch of exciting or even exotic activities you can attend. We take pride in integrating as many interesting sports into our network as possible.
For example, there is Aerial Yoga, Archery, Meditative Walking or Floating, a relaxation treatment in a tub filled with salt water. There is a nice ice skating location by the lakeside of Müggelsee near Berlin I can happily recommend. A truly unique experience during the time at betahaus was the Brazilian-themed team event where the host mixed up the order of events a little bit: first came the Caipirinha, then the Capoeira.
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.