What is it like to work in a startup hub? A question that can best be answered by asking someone who is not only working in such a hub but also managing it. A little more than a year ago, at the beginning of April 2018, Claudia Witzemann joined weXelerate as managing director. We have asked her what the working life in a startup hub is like.
weX: Claudia, thanks for meeting with me. First of all, congratulations for the one-year anniversary of being managing director at weXelerate.
weX: What do you like about your job as managing director at weXelerate?
Claudia: The most interesting part is this “openess-idea”. People coming to our hub just feel that we work differently. We are open and open-minded as well as innovative and dynamic. To put it in one word, we are and work startup-like. I really love working in general. It is fulfilling and fun and I am proud to be part of the accelerator. Working in the hub means working in a kind of creative chaos with little structure. You have to like that kind of non-structure to appreciate the hub.
weX: What are the biggest challenges?
Claudia: I think keeping the hub and the way we work open and innovative is the most challenging part of my job. What I love the most is to turn challenges into something positive. It might be hard to see at first, but there is always something positive in every challenging situation. Think positively, focus and turn a challenge into something motivating. What is also a great difference to other office buildings is that we are free to shape it the way we like. Of course the physical structure of the building has to be taken into consideration, but apart from that we are free to create spaces as we like. Everyone can bring in new ideas. We had a few of them for a trial period for four weeks and are now thinking of buying some of them as the feedback from the employees and tenants was really great.
weX: What are your key-learnings after one year in the hub?
Claudia: Our hub is popular, startups as well as clients are in the mood for weXelerate. They appreciate the open character of the house, the short distance to potential clients or partners and the networking-possibilities. I almost always get a lot of positive feedback such as that the offices are cool and that working in the hub is really motivating and inviting. It is important to have many different players in the house. This way we can learn a lot from one another. Startups as well as tenants have learned to work differently, they network and exchange ideas. Inspiration is also a great part of the job. Bring in new ideas or get inspired by ideas or projects of others.
weX: Any specific plans for 2019?
Claudia: Well, we definitely want to keep the house as lively as it is now. As far as I am concerned it is even livlier than it was when I started working at the hub a year ago. We are constantly looking for new ways to encourage and live open innovation. I’m also proud of the fact that we already had three successful batches. Batch 4 is currently running. We learn from past mistakes, turn them into something positive, something even more innovative.