Category Archives: coworking

Italian H-Farm signs €101 mln agreement to launch H-Campus

H-Farm is a digital platform launched in 2005 to support young entrepreneurs start new initiatives and help in digitalization of Italian firms. So far they have invested in 86 innovative small enterprises and their total amount invested over the last 11 years is €24 mln.

Their latest project, H-Campus, has a goal to be the European most important innovation hub. The latest €101 million contract was set up by launching a real estate fund managed by Finint Investments SGR and will operate after the buildability approval is received. It will be undersigned by Cattolica Assicurazioni, which will have 56% of shares, with help of the FIA2 Fund “Smart housing, Smart working, Education & Innovation” managed by CDP Investimenti SGR, which holds 40% of shares, and Ca’ Tron Real Estate which holds 4% of shares. The €101 million fund has current assets, acquired by Ca’ Tron Real Estate (their value is €32 million) and assets which belong to by Cattolica (their value is €10 million), plus €59 million of liquidity to be spent on the project’s development.

H-CAMPUS is supposed to serve over 3,000 students, young startuppers, professors, entrepreneurs and managers. Sharing the same place caused exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices as inspiration and examples. It may also establish new opportunities. The real estate project implies extension of the area absorbed by H-FARM from 14,000 m2 of built space and 12ha of park to 31ha of land, with 26,000m2 of new buildings. Everything costs €69 million. The whole complex is under a 30-year lease.

At a normative level, H-CAMPUS was identified as a “project of strategic interest” by the Veneto Region and is a subject to Regional Law 35/20, art. 32, now in its final authorization stage.

Italian startups worth to track in 2017

Despite of a quite slow start, at least when compared to European powers like Germany and UK, the startup scene in Italy has started to grow seeking global stage. Italian startups have been notably active in the last few years, supported by programs like the governmental Italia Startup Visa Program. Here are some of them worth to know:

Talent Garden –  it is a coworking network with places to work all across Italy and also in other countries: Spain, Albania, Romania, Lithuania. Soon it will open in France. Talent Garden was launched in a small Italian town and in just a few years it grew from a startup to Europe’s largest coworking provider. It has diversified its core business, from shared offices to a hub for innovation-related activities. In 2015 it began with training courses for developers, which were requested by companies willing to make use of digital technologies.

D1 Milano – last year this company created the world’s first thermochromic watch. The startup was opened in 2013. With average prices of $230, the company aims to offer affordable wristwear. It is currently trending in Japan and is stocked by retailers like Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and The Dubai Mall.

BeMyEye is an innovative service for crowdsourcing shop checks and mystery shopping. It provides trustable observations via a widespread network of more than 350 000 on-demand workers using a smartphone application in few days from thousands of locations in Italy, Germany, Spain, France and UK. Soon it will start other European locations.

Drexcode – an online platform for rental of luxury clothes, that has a portfolio of high-end clothes and accessories from the latest
collections of the most famous fashion brands.  It was founded in 2014. In 2015 it closed an investment round of the of the total value of 556k Euros.

Waynaut – a platform for multimodal transportation with innovative solutions such as ridesharing and carsharing. It brings all available transport means under one search, providing users with the fastest, cheapest and most convenient options for their route and guides them on to the travel operator.

Musement – an app which enables you to locate and plan guided tours, city passes, museum tickets, and more. It was launched in 2013 and currently operates in 450 cities across 55 countries. In 2016 the startup obtained $10m in an investment round aimed at improving the app and expanding internationally.

At present startups in Italy seem to suffer from an image problem because the country is usually considered by foreigners as a tourist destination, rather than an innovation powerhouse. Hopefully, having some successful startups already,  the local ecosystem will be noticed by international investors, giving it the needed boost.

 

What is coworking and how is it affecting SEEMEA region

Coworking is a concept of working in an open office, developed in 2005 by Brad Neuberg. With the modern, faced paced, way of doing business more and more large companies implemented the principle of distance working for their employees. This allowed workers to work from homes, and while this has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Working from home comes with a lot of distractions, and a non-work focused approach, so a lot of these people started working from coffee shops or rented offices. The same applies to freelancers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and everyone working from their own home.

Coworking concept allows you to work in a shared office space, with all the resources of the office with much less expense. You get the work environment, inspiring atmosphere, people around you with who you can network and socialize, and still get the work done.

75% of coworkers claimed working in a coworking space increased their productivity, 80% claimed they had an increase in business, while 92% claimed to have expanded their social circle, as researched by Deskmag, coworking magazine.

Another amazing fact is that coworking is growing exponentially in the past few years around the world, with 160 coworking spaces in 2008, 600 in 2010, 1130 in 2011 and 2150 spaces in 2012 worldwide.

As coworking spaces attract freelancers, startups, small business and other similar profiles, it is only naturally that we would see these essential focal points popping up throughout countries where freelancing and startups are becoming more developed. SEEMEA region for that matter has been a fertile ground for spreading the coworking concept and culture.

Still regarded as pioneers, several coworking spaces are opening throughout this region, paving the road for all those who will come after them and becoming much more than just offices where people work. Coworking spaces in SEEMEA are becoming the places to be if you are working online, developing your business or expanding your business network.

Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Jordan and much more countries have coworking initiatives or opened spaces. Check out this Coworkingmap project and visit a coworking place near you.