New ways of working in Potsdam

The working world is chan­ging. As a result of digi­ti­sa­ti­on, more and more peo­p­le now have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work auto­no­mously in a new, inspi­ring envi­ron­ment. The pio­neers are inno­va­ti­ve com­pa­nies and start-ups – inclu­ding ones based in Pots­dam. In essence, the idea is that one should have per­so­nal con­trol as far as pos­si­ble on deter­mi­ning the time and loca­ti­on. Of cour­se, this also requi­res new spaces - which were par­ti­cu­lar­ly scar­ce in Pots­dam. But now they keep sprin­ging up all over the place. Cowor­king is being crea­ted in the­se new spaces – and that can be inspi­ring. This is whe­re one meets peo­p­le coming from a dif­fe­rent back­ground and giving new input.

Accor­ding to the KfW Group’s Entre­pre­neur­ship Moni­tor 2019, Bran­den­burg is now in third place as far as start-up acti­vi­ties in the fede­ral sta­tes are con­cer­ned. It is only top­ped by Ber­lin at the head of the field and with Ham­burg in second place. Flo­ri­an Kosak, CEO and Co-Foun­der of Uni­corn ( (UNFOLD Maga­zi­ne, P. 132-133), thus calls Pots­dam an “attrac­ti­ve loca­ti­on with an excel­lent start-up cli­ma­te”, and Ans­gar Ober­holz, Foun­der and Mana­ging Direc­tor of St. Ober­holz, points out: “I think new life is curr­ent­ly being brea­thed into Potsdam.”

Some cowor­king oppor­tu­ni­ties alre­a­dy exist at the Miet­werk, the Rechen­zen­trum or Ate­lier­haus Scholle51 in Pots­dam-West, the Offi­ci­um in Allee­stras­se or the Busi­ness-Cen­ter Pots­dam in the town cent­re, as well as at the Alte Fein­bä­cke­rei in Pots­dam-West or the Media­Tech Hub Lab, an office flo­or for start-ups loca­ted abo­ve Stu­dio Five on the Stu­dio Babels­berg lot. But now things are real­ly start­ing to happen.

In July 2019, the Uni­corn Workspaces ope­ned in the Haus am Platz (an exten­si­on of the Kutsch­stall­hof) on the initia­ti­ve of the Has­so Platt­ner Foun­da­ti­on. The workspaces at Neu­er Markt are within easy wal­king distance of Potsdam’s main train sta­ti­on. Start-ups and estab­lished com­pa­nies can rent more than 200 workspaces with dif­fe­rent office sizes on over 1,200 squa­re met­res on three flo­ors. The CEO & Foun­der of Uni­corn descri­bes the con­cept of an office with a fle­xi­ble sub­scrip­ti­on whe­re over­heads can be kept low as a “workspace as a ser­vice”(UNFOLD Maga­zi­ne, P. 132-133). Lar­ger con­fe­rence rooms for mee­tings can be ren­ted by the hour. Cof­fee is available free of char­ge for the cli­ents in the building’s ent­rance area, and help is pro­vi­ded in the event of any pro­blems. Unicorn’s first “Pots­dam Pitch Night and Net­wor­king Event” was held the­re at the begin­ning of Decem­ber 2019. “Pitch yours­elf into your new office” was the mot­to. Start-ups and estab­lished com­pa­nies were given an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pre­sent their con­cept in a five-minu­te pitch and con­vin­ce the jury. The win­ner can now use the workspace rent-free for three months.

The popu­lar St. Ober­holz, who has been estab­lished in Ber­lin for the past 15 years, will soon be coming to Pots­dam with its inno­va­ti­ve café and cowor­king con­cept. April will see it ope­ning its doors in Babels­berg. The old post office buil­ding in Vol­tas­tras­se will be given a new lea­se of life after having stood emp­ty for almost two years. Foun­ders, start-ups, entre­pre­neurs, but also free­lan­cers and employees are wel­co­me the­re. The­re will be a public café in the for­mer main hall - as a mee­ting place for inte­res­ted peo­p­le, neigh­bours and all kinds of café guests, with or wit­hout work. “What sets us apart from most other cowor­king spaces is that ever­yo­ne is wel­co­me here,” says Ans­gar Ober­holz. “You don’t have to be a mem­ber.” The­re are also sepa­ra­te cowor­king spaces and team offices at St. Ober­holz in Babels­berg - for mem­bers and tho­se purcha­sing day tickets. Mem­bers have access to the workspaces around the clock and every day. “We lik­ed Pots­dam and the loca­ti­on of the old post office when we were loo­king at the loca­ti­on as part of a pro­ject for a cli­ent,” Ans­gar Ober­holz stres­ses. “The buil­ding stands for the trans­for­ma­ti­on of work. Ever­y­thing just came tog­e­ther the­re. We are now curious to see what the peo­p­le will be working on the­re”. The com­bi­na­ti­on of sci­ence and busi­ness in Pots­dam and Babels­berg is defi­ni­te­ly uni­que. A per­fect place to inspi­re peo­p­le to work in the way that suits them.

Last but not least, a lar­ge and much dis­cus­sed IT and Inno­va­ti­on Cent­re is curr­ent­ly under con­s­truc­tion to the south-east of Potsdam’s main rail­way sta­ti­on and is expec­ted to attract inter­na­tio­nal atten­ti­on. A crea­ti­ve cent­re with fle­xi­ble offices, spa­cious com­mu­nal are­as and other faci­li­ties and its own restau­rant is plan­ned on the site of the for­mer rail­way repair works which had been vacant for years and a lis­ted buil­ding sin­ce 1997. Con­s­truc­tion is sche­du­led to start at the begin­ning of 2020. A fle­xi­ble-use space for events, a kind of audi­to­ri­um, is also plan­ned. New buil­dings will be con­s­truc­ted next to the repair work­shop. In total, more than 32,000 squa­re met­res of net space will be available. Up to 1,400 jobs will be crea­ted. The plan­ning coor­di­na­ted by the Ber­lin archi­tect Jür­gen May­er H. (crea­tor of the Metro­pol Para­sol in Seville) is under­way. The mana­ging direc­tor of The RAW Pots­dam GmbH, Mir­co Nau­hei­mer, wants to use the cent­re to help Pots­dam expand its lea­ding posi­ti­on in the fields of rese­arch and sci­ence. Opti­mum tech­ni­cal faci­li­ties will be gua­ran­teed sin­ce the fib­re optic cables run along­side the rail­way tracks. The buil­ding will be open to the public. Two inter­na­tio­nal hi-tech com­pa­nies have alre­a­dy expres­sed inte­rest in beco­ming ten­ants. Howe­ver, the area will not only to be a place of work as parts are also to be used for trade fairs and events. Well over 100 mil­li­on Euros are set to be inves­ted in this project.

Cont­acts for Uni­corn and St. Oberholz

Anyo­ne inte­res­ted can cont­act Uni­corn direct­ly by e-mail.
ttromposch@​unicorn.​de, pho­ne +49 30 629 390 167

St. Ober­holz
Anyo­ne inte­res­ted can cont­act St. Ober­holz direct­ly by e-mail.

By Eva Werner

More blog artic­les here.

About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.