Where should startups and growing businesses look to lease office space? Berlin startup, Setting.
Setting was founded in Berlin by Alexander Schulze, Johnathan Teh and Nadine Achilles (German, Aussie and Austrian) and aims to make the commerce real-estate industry more efficient by digitising the entire office leasing process (from discovery to lease). We spoke to Nadine about why we all need Setting.
When did you first come up with the idea for Setting?
We started Setting about a year ago.
What inspired you to transform the idea into a business?
We noticed that the office market reflects the way businesses operated 20 to 30 years ago when, in reality, the way we are working is changing.
The trend is heading towards small, agile teams, and away from large enterprises. Being part of this rise of new businesses, we ourselves needed an easy and flexible solution for our office situation. Today, searching for an office is a highly difficult and inconvenient task; the market hooks you into long-term leases, with time-consuming processes and within a highly in-transparent market.
Looking at the current market, what is your take on the Berlin scene? Are we growing? Will we be short of office space soon?
Everyone is looking at Berlin at the moment. We see many entrepreneurs coming to Berlin to start their business here and take advantage of the thriving ecosystem.
The commercial real-estate is still reacting very slowly to these new companies and their needs, leaving very limited options. In some areas of Berlin the office market is getting very competitive, such as in the startup hotspots in Mitte and Kreuzberg. But not to worry, we are here to help with better options in the marketplace.
So Setting is targeted at startups, right? Or are you also dealing with older, more established businesses or, for example, artists looking for just a studio space?
Startups is the group which has the most difficulty in finding office space. But first, a “startup” is hard to define clearly. Among our customers, we have companies which received Series A, B or further investments and that are still classified as “startups”. On the other hand, we also have small teams that have just started, or independents and creatives looking for more flexibility.
We help these guys in their office search so that they can get on with their work instead of having to navigate their way out of this traditional and slow-paced industry.
The requests and stats you collect must be quite interesting. Knowing a startup is looking to scale up from 20 to 100 people means they must be really successful or have potentially received major new financing. Do you ever have to sign NDAs?
Absolutely, it’s fascinating to learn from different startups and their ways of executing, varying from the type and stage of business. We’ve been working with many different companies over the last year, from teams just moving out of their living rooms to startups who secured investment and need a larger office lease. Our goal is to support entrepreneurs and growing businesses with all their workspace needs.
We treat confidentiality very seriously, sometimes it does involve signing a NDA. ;)
How do you imagine Berlin five years from now?
Berlin’s growth will be on par with, or exceeding, London’s in terms of startup activities. Berlin is the place that matters in Continental Europe and we love it here.
What is the funniest co-office environment Setting helped create?
Besides saving costs, sharing an office space can also unfold synergies between the companies. In one case of a co-office, the combination was nearly perfect: a startup who created an app for ‘adultery’ working next to a startup making mattresses, and a startup for (refillable) perfumes. We should have given the office a name :-)
When was the first time you felt that Berlin Loves You?
Spending New Years in Berlin for the first time this year was definitely an experience. Between celebrations and escaping rockets, the city felt so alive and excited for a change. Getting on the streets the next day and seeing the mess left behind, showed the sometimes much-appreciated carelessness of Berlin.
Anything else you would like to say?
If you need an office, let us know. I am sure we will be able to get just the right office for you.
Thank you very much Nadine for the interview!
Setting recently did a great infographic on the U8 – Berlin’s Startup Line.