It was June 2016 when Campus was born. Some of you might be thinking, “wait, but you guys opened your space in November 2016?!?”, - YES! But the community was established a few months before ☺ Since then, incredible things and events happened. We not only grew our member base to 200 people, organized 170+ events, started or joined a number of educational initiatives within our space, met and connected some incredible people, but foremost we understood what business we are in.
It took us a while to understand that we are in the people business. Within a few months we realized we are not in the office rental business, nor a startup or event management per say. We are in the business of helping people to succeed and making sure they will help others further on!
It was early May 2016, after finishing our previous startup endeavor, when we decided to look for a spacious office for our upcoming projects with my co-founders (co-founders of 0100 Ventures) and a bunch of our startup friends. At that time, we knew we would need space for 20-25 people; nothing big, nothing fancy, just to accommodate some highly energized people and organize some small events we enjoyed organizing.
Little did we know that by agreeing to go checkout this new space in development in Mlynska dolina, we set ourselves up for something bigger than initially planned. The decision to include a space just opposite the largest university campus in Bratislava into our viewing schedule changed it all. Immediately after stepping onto the concrete floor of the 2nd floor in this modern minimalistic building – still under heavy construction – we knew this is it!
Binarium, a building where it all started
“But wait, what is the floor area?” we asked ourselves, while looking on the never ending corridor of the open construction site. Finding out that the total area can provide space for multiple times the number of people we initially wanted, brought us to think: “what we will do with such a huge space?” – we asked ourselves. The answer to which we all agreed, came quickly. Few hours after our first visit to the site, we made a decision that the space has so much potential, that it would be a shame not to bring our friends and small projects together, but to also open up to other startups, entrepreneurs and students which could be amazed by the space, its atmosphere but foremost appealed by its location. Not only the building in which our new space was based is located right on the edge of the two city parts, allowing for easy access through good public transportation and close proximity to the highway, but it is just few hundred meters from some of the best university faculties and biggest dormitories in the city! Yes, this is it! Let’s open our brand new co-working space and let’s open it up for everyone. So the decision was made and the time had come to roll our sleeves up and get to work.
Campus opening party in November 2016
Looking back into time, I still find it crazy that in November 2016, only 5 months after making the initial decision to start our co-working space, we managed to open the doors of our 570m2 space - fully furnished, all customized to its brand identity, along with the new website, first partnerships closed and mainly - half-filled with the new members of our community!
Culture of creating value
It was our new members, their stories and energy they brought to the space that started to shift our perception of co-working business as is. We realized that it is far more than just a provision of desk in a shared area, private office or nicely furnished meeting rooms, that provide sufficient working conditions for our new friends. Few months in, and after organizing the first dozens of events and networking parties, we realized that even this is not all there is to be in the game for the members of our community. What we came to realize is that the most valuable thing we, the Campus team, can do is to provide value for everyone and in all occasions.
It may sound gloomy or too generic, but providing value is what our business represents. I am not only talking about giving value by providing a good quality office chair, spacious and modern open space or access to entrepreneurial community, but really about caring if there are enough opportunities for every member of our community to access.
This is why, ever since we opened our gates, we have been constantly working on starting, co-organizing or facilitating many different initiatives, stretching from networking and motivational events such as Startup Grind, NEXT Events or other workshops and meet-ups to educational programs – Coder Dojo, Brain Basket and Creative Academy to Student programs – Mentoring sessions, Student Masterminds and regular student evenings and small conferences. This is only part of the happenings that I hope have offered a big deal of value for many – freelancers, entrepreneurs, corporates, students or anyone interested in technology, innovation or just looking to meet new people. Then there have been numerous occasions when we have partnered up with different conferences or tech festivals to provide our members complimentary or discounted tickets to make sure they will not miss this opportunity to meet more people and build stronger networks. Furthermore, we have always listened and anytime we have received a special request from some of our members, we immediately said yes. Whether it was letting a student member stay in the space 24/7 during weekends to let him finish his master thesis, helping one of our companies to organize their event to increase brand awareness or organizing feedback session for our entrepreneur before his pitch in front of investors. Anytime there has been value that could be utilized by any of our members, we decided to grab it.
Kids coding during weekly organized CoderDojo Bratislava
The most interesting part of providing value to others is to watch how the circle continues. It didn’t take long to observe that our members want to provide value to each other too. Even at the expense of their time, energy, sometimes even their money, many members of our community have decided to help, mentor, connect or co-create with others. This is a culture of creating value and we are excited that Campus has written it in its DNA.
New Brand, New Space
This time around last year, we had some thinking to do. Already knowing what business we are in and having filled our space to the last desk, we started asking ourselves what we should do not only to fill increased demand coming from new potential members that wanted to join, but also how we can scale our core business – creating value for others.
We knew that in order to create more value for existing members and future members too, we needed to allow more people to access our community, and increase the likelihood of creating new relationships, opening business opportunities and making new friendships between members of our community. Whether it was single entrepreneur, growing startup, student, NGO or corporate partner we knew that the only way to provide bigger value for each and every one is to open another co-working space.
Campus' second address. Award winning building UNIQ
After viewing different locations, the conclusion was clear – the second space we will open should be in the modern, well built building located as close to the city center of Bratislava as possible. The decision to go with UNIQ, one of the most modern buildings in Slovakia that sits at the edge of the pedestrian zone in a historical part of the capital was made. Soon we are opening our doors and we can’t be more excited to welcome new members of our community in the city, as well as present our existing members additional space, more opportunities, and provide more value. ☺
Enter brand evolution. As they say “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumers it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” This statement is simple, but somehow very powerful. Being excited about the opening of our new space and initiating the first preparations, we, at the same time, started to look back on what 0100 Campus – our original brand meant.
We knew that “0100” represented our belonging to 0100 Ventures – a mother company of 0100 Campus, but little did we know that not many actually cared about this fact. When we realized that the members of our community, partners and other people that have come across our co-working space only referred to us as “Campus”, not much was needed to take another decision – iterate our brand. To keep things simple, we cut of “0100” and decided to only keep Campus! … and add a paper plane as a symbol of Campus.
The concept of the paper plane – transformed from the polygon that we used as part of “0100 Campus” branding is a good symbol of what Campus has become. A paper plane is an object that can be created from anything soft and simple and be quickly thrown into the world. Same as an early stage project it can fly many meters away, but can as well fall to the ground instantly. When in the air, it might hit a barrier and be left stranded in the air and only after some time, if lucky, go back to fly. After falling to the ground, in most of the cases it only needs to be brushed off and it can be released again. Over and over again!
Same as a paper plane, any early stage project or idea can be vulnerable and one can never say how long it will fly. What is certain though is that in most of the cases one can always recover from the fall if surrounded by right environment of people. We believe the Campus community has what it takes to support one in her endeavors, allow her to take off and fly and even if she falls, there is always someone around who will support her to brush off and move forward.
Campus is two years old – not too old to have it all figured out; not that young being unable to know where it stands and what business it is in.
We are soon opening our second doors - excited to grow our community further and provide as much value as possible to everyone around. Will you join?
Co-founder of 0100 Ventures
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841 04 Bratislava
811 03 Bratislava
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