In spite of the fact that you can create a startup entirely virtually these days, with everyone working remotely, the fact remains that you can’t beat real-world interaction. But the commercial property world — especially the thorny world of leases — remains stuck in the 19th Century. Real estate developers are still sleepily optimizing for profits with long-term contracts, when the world has gotten much faster. That’s why we’ve seen the rise and rise of co-working and office sharing from startups like WeWork, Factory, Station F, TechHub, Second Home, Google Campus… the list goes on. It’s even extended into co-living. But it’s office space that remains the big area of development. And everyone has their particular ‘schtick’ whether it be soft ‘salesy’ furnishings or grungy ‘hacker’ spaces.
The latest to scale its model is Factory. Originally hailing for Berlin, where it built the original space now occupied by Soundcloud and others, it’s moved onto another huge project in the city, and is now scaling in Lisbon, which we recently ear-marked as a new European startup hub.
It’s now announced a €1M funding round, from a well-rounded group of investors, to grow beyond Germany. Lead Investors are Round Hill Capital, 500 Startups, Elkstone Capital (the private fund managing the wealth of clients such as supermodel Elle Macpherson). Plus several angel investors are now on board including Christian Reber, Matthias Ummenhofer, Florian Moerth, Moritz Sell, the founders of Makers and Adjust as well as various other Europeans, supporting the company to expand across the continent.
Factory founder Simon Schaefer and his team have set up their second 75,000 sq ft tech campus in Berlin, dubbed Silicon Allee.
This is now home to a number of different local and international tech companies like Stripe, Drivy, The Family, Here, Zenloop, Progedo, Klara, Point Nine Capital as well as ResearchGate and… an organic supermarket. As well as offices, it has a bar entitled “R&D”, three event spaces and 16 apartments on the top two floors. Swish.
Travis Todd will be the CEO of the new campus. He was founder of Silicon Allee community, recently acquired by Factory in early 2016.
Back in early 2012 we broke the news that Berlin’s startup innovators were creating a ‘Factory’ to call their own. After converting the former Oswalder Brauerei’ building – right by the old Berlin Wall – into the epicenter of the Berlin startup scene, attracting firms such as SoundCloud, 6Wunderkinder, Twitter, Zendesk, Mozilla, Uber and others to the space, the project was hit with many delays. The building finally opened in the summer of 2014.
In mid 2015 the Factory team sold all assets and contracts associated with ‘Factory Berlin’ and licensed the Factory brand for Germany to the real estate developer s+p real estate, at the time responsible for the first construction.
“Our vision has always been to grow the business internationally, and we stepped away from a partner who did not share this vision. A team is now in place doing a great job at continuing what we started”, explains Schaefer.
The team have now their eyes set on Lisbon and have already established an office and small team in the Portuguese capital to build out their next project, which, they say will be pretty big.
However, they will have the join the queue of all the other players who seem to be doing more or less the same thing. As with tech, it’s a competitive space this property game…