I guess most would agree that Helsinki is a strong name in the international startup community. There’s Slush, Rovio, Supercell, Gaming in general, Startup Sauna, App Campus and so on. On paper we definitely make a lot of bigger cities in the world look sucky.
But what is the true measure of the strength of a startup ecosystem? Is it the flashy supernovas or the little everyday things that make building the next big thing a little easier and inspirational?
At the end of the day there’s no magic formula for success other than work, work and work. No doubt we all shoot for the stars, but for anybody that’s not quite there yet, it’s best to be grounded in reality. For us it’s the everyday little things that get us through the day that matter the most.
The reality is that entrepreneurs need all the help they can get. Before money, it’s practical advice and a great place to work. That’s what co-working spaces are designed for – to help entrepreneurs work harder and smarter and make it more fun and enjoyable (but that’s easier said than done).
We started HUB13 a year ago to fill a massive gap in Helsinki’s startup ecosystem. We realised that apart from the big headlines and a few cool parties, Helsinki was missing vital parts of a vibrant startup ecosystem. Internationally co-working spaces are norm, but Helsinki lacked them completely. Offices marketing themselves as co-working spaces were clearly just shared offices, non-commercial or run by no one. Come to think of it, even the great Startup Sauna was starting to feel like that (don’t get this wrong, we love you guys!).
It was obvious that Helsinki didn’t know what co-working was or could be. A lot of people think it’s about space, but it’s really a combination of things. And, everyone always forgets that the most vital part is a well managed team that runs it and gets paid full-time for making it a little better every day. It’s hard to do with big money and impossible to run as a public service.
Our goal at HUB13 was to create the first independent commercial co-working space in Helsinki, build a great team to run it and prove a scalable business for it. We’re definitely halfway there. We’ve had a ton of positive feedback and we’re even more determined to succeed than in the beginning.
The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is thinking they can make it on their own. Even tiny everyday contacts with peers can make all the difference and we know for a fact that at the end of the day, that’s the greatest value HUB13 brings its members. The first three to five years of a startup are definitely the most exciting and everyday we’re lucky to have teams like that around us and see them change, grow, work hard and excite each other.
A big thanks to all our teams and entrepreneurs. We love you and at the end of the day it’s you guys that make the space to what it is. We do this for you!
So come and celebrate our first year in operations and bring us more luck and momentum to make year two even better than the first.
On behalf of the entire HUB13 team,