Stockholm is named as one of the hottest startup hubs in Europe (SparkLab Global Ventures, 2016). It has a vivid and tight-knit startup community where people are keen to share and learn from each other. It is well known for its top-notch programmers (programmer and system developer are the two most common jobs over there), high-quality of life, well-educated people, great universities and tech colleges, ready and available capital, flat organisations that boost creativity and innovation AND it has the second fastest broadband speed worldwide. All of these elements make Stockholm a great and large enough home market to kickstart a business. So we visited Embassy House, one of the leading coworking spaces in Stockholm.
Stockholm is also home for more than 20 buzzing, energetic and creative coworking spaces. We can find a great variety from diverse to more niche and sector-specific spaces via café-like and office hotels – anyone can find the one that best fits their personality, type of business and needs. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Embassy House which is the leading coworking space in Stockholm for those operating in the Gaming and VR industry.
Founded in September 2016, Embassy House offers a home for businesses within gaming, VR/AR/MR and the media-tech sector in two locations in Stockholm. Founded by CEO Anders Nilsson who ran a smaller space for 4-5 companies in 2005 went back to startups and the opportunity to start Embassy House appeared Summer 2016. “We wanted a space where you can turn to get help – when you need. This is what Embassy means to us.” said Joakim Thornberg, COO of Embassy House. Embassy House sees itself as an ecosystem and a space to grow both your company as well as being an entrepreneurial endeavour. It is a place to connect and share, and thanks to the Embassy House network, startups can connect to almost any kind of service providers and other cool startuppers operating in the industries they primary focus on.
There are about 100 startups working out from Embassy House’s two locations, and on average, each team consists of 3-4 people, making the total number of member community to 4-500. 80% of their tenant companies are coming from the core industries they focus, while 20% from other sectors that complement and support the development of their core community (such as graphic designers and marketing professionals). Companies at Embassy House are mainly between 1-2 years old and are on a straight trajectory to continued growth. According to Anders Nilsson, about 40 startups have grown in the last year, and those companies who outgrow their offices, they can upgrade to bigger ones. No one has to leave the community, there are plenty of office space in the coworking spaces which of the largest is a 5-storey building. People seem to like the community, as I learned, about 75% of members stay for more than a year. Work together and play together is one of the corner stones of the Embassy House concept. Amongst many occasions, play together is possible on the ground floor where there is a small gym, basketball court and a full VR centre with multiple rooms with the latest in hardware and experiences. The VR centre is not only for members but the public is also invited to enjoy the fun that virtual reality brings into our lives.
Embassy House only offers private offices for their tenants, but members can find communal areas and event spaces. Small offices can be rented starting at a price of 600 euros, which price, compared to other coworking spaces in Stockholm, is really convenient. As Anders Nilsson explained, Embassy House members won’t find any fancy design, harsh colours, hipster furniture, but rather simple offices where members can even bring their own furniture and the opportunity to decorate themselves.
When asking Anders Nilsson about the future of the coworking industry, he foresees the restaurant and hotel initiatives that utilise down hours, larger corporates going for full service and more niche coworking spaces appearing in cities of all sizes. He also believes that workation (Work+Vacation) will be a future service for companies to treat staff and teams with a temporary relocation for a week from their home coworking space. He also thinks that anonymous or generic coworking spaces might be less popular as people will look for spaces where they “get that special feel, network or relevance“, it is not all about the Facebook or Google-look people want, he believes in more personal and tailored spaces.