“We revitalised the space and, as a result, we see restaurants and coffee places opening up around us”- Dan Zakai, MindSpace (Tel Aviv)
The evolution of coworking is no longer following a straight path. From spaces that are purely bottom up, to purely top down, and everything in-between. One thing we are seeing now is spaces that are combining various elements to create a mixture of fully service offices that also cultivate strong communities. Mindspace is one of those spaces. After setting up its first location in Tel Aviv close to 3 years ago and has been going strong ever since. Now with 4 locations, 2 in Tel Aviv, and two more in Berlin and Hamburg, co-founder Dan Zakai is set on creating a new standard of office space for today’s generation of professionals.
Hi, Dan. Can you please tell us about the coworking scene in Tel Aviv before you established Mindspace?
When I first started my business 3 years there weren’t actually too many coworking spaces in Tel Aviv, unlike today. Of course, there were some established spaces, but many of them were just offering basic amenities. We saw great potential to create something new in the city.
What is the coworking scene like in Tel Aviv?
Overall coworking in Tel Aviv is growing. In 2015 there was a 74% increase in property designated to serve as coworking spaces. The coworking surge has caused the SME market in Tel-Aviv to thrive as well, as fully equipped serviced offices are providing a boost to tech-oriented businesses, old and new.
At the moment, Mindspace is one of three major coworking players in Tel Aviv, which includes Regus and WeWork. We were also one of the first spaces to offer high-end serviced office space that incorporates contemporary aesthetics and a highly professional surrounding without being too corporate.
What is it about Mindspace that sets it apart from a more “traditional” coworking?
Firstly, we are always sure to choose prime locations, which are already filled with established business and places to go out. We tap into these vibrant areas by offering a wide range of services for professionals in a modern, spacious location. For example, our smallest space is 2,000sqm and our largest space is 5,000sqm.
Secondly, it’s important to know that while coworking is a very sexy industry nowadays it’s still growing in the context of the real estate industry. Since the market is still small, it takes time to create room for these types of coworking spaces. We are paying attention to this growth while simultaneously subscribing to the coworking values. we make sure to invest a significant amount of time into researching our member’s needs, ultimately curating our services to meet their specific demands. Because we offer a highly professional landscape, plus a strong communal foundation, we tend to have a very diverse mixture of professionals who come to Mindspace.
Has Mindspace had any noticeable impact on the neighborhoods where you set up spaces?
I don’t think we can talk about specific major impact as the locations we choose are already primed for business, such as digital companies and startups. But we do change the look and feel of the buildings that we inhabit. For example, we took over 2 floors of a formerly traditional office space and totally revitalised the space and as a result we also see restaurants and coffee places opening up around us that is closer to the Mindspace level.
What types of members typically come to Mindspace and what have you noticed about their working patterns?
Our members range from individual freelancers to whole companies. We offer open workspace as well as private offices. But, one thing that we have noticed is that freelancers decide to have their own office after a while. What this tells us is that many of our members want access to the coworking community that offers resources and support, but that they also need the privacy of an office to ensure productivity.
Why do you think companies are so attracted to coworking spaces? Could it be they want to tap into talent, or need inspiration?
At Mindspace, we have companies that employ up to 200 people. Many of these companies want to be a part of a community, in addition to having access to our excellent locations and the chance to be more flexible. In Tel Aviv we have also seen that companies are looking for new talent, so they are coming to us to build up their base via the coworking model and becoming inspired by the community as a result.
You mentioned before that you pay close attention to your community, consistently altering your services to meet member needs. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Our community is a central part of the Mindspace model. We don’t limit ourselves, but we want to be sure that we preserve our vision, which consists of providing services and also catering to each specific community.
At each of our locations, we have we have an open space for members that is also open to the public. We try to maintain diversity within the events so that they don’t just focus on startups and freelancers, but rather target a larger audience, whether it is art, lifestyle, or anything that is relevant to this new generation of professionals.
I see this type of community building as one of the most beautiful things about coworking spaces. While they emerged as a solution for startups and freelancers, they have now expanded their reach, allowing all types of people to have access to knowledge and resources. Again, we see ourselves as a platform for a new generation and once we know our members, and we spend time experimenting and modifying our community services.
How does the community in Tel Aviv differ from the communities in Berlin and Hamburg?
In all of our locations, we are gaining traction. Some of our tenants include M&C Saatchi, Target Global, and Minimalism & Co, to name a few. We also have long waiting lists in Tel Aviv as well as in Berlin. When we were setting up our space, we felt that like in Tel Aviv, space in Berlin and Hamburg was also lacking high-end professional amenities for companies. So, while communities may have different needs, they also lack the same resources.
But, as we see ourselves as a platform for a new generation, we want to meet needs beyond office space. We do this by additional services to members, and also through our partnerships in Hamburg and Berlin as well.Some things we are looking at now are various finance solutions, discounts, travels, etc. Overall our mission is to make coworking spaces available to new industries new customers and to grow simultaneously.