Shquared — short for shared square — wants to launch a platform for the shared, parallel use of space. The three founders, Daniela Weinhold, Nasti Broda and Julian Nitsche, were sick of constantly running into closed doors and dark shop windows while walking through the city. Especially because Munich has so little free area and space available, in particular in the restaurant business. That’s why the founding team recently started a crowdfunding campaign. Our Seven Questions and the Shquared answers follow!
1. Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
We are an interdisciplinary team that includes Daniela, Nasti and Julian. Daniela Weinhold is our 26-year-old creative go-getter with a strong background in management and a degree in design and media management. Nastasia Broda, 34, is actually a town and country planer. Our graduate geo-ecologist indulges her passion for detail in the fields of finance and law at Shquared. Julian Nitsche, 26, is a designer with a focus on human centered design and is responsible for branding and design at Shquared.
“Share space and minimize risks and investments.”
Together, we’ve made “space” our topic. With our successful pilot projects Bananaleaf and Knolle & Kohl, we’ve been able to gain experience in parallel use. We’ve demonstrated that it’s feasible. Now we want to make it possible for more people to fulfil their dreams by sharing spaces and rooms with Shquared while simultaneously minimizing risk and investments. At the same time, we’ll be able to utilize space more efficiently, take the pressure off operators in terms of rent — and we’ll create a city that’s even more exciting! Win, win. Pretty ingenious, right?
With Shquared, we’ll be providing a simple yet ingenious solution to that dilemma: by utilizing existing spaces beyond normal opening hours with additional, complementary concepts. We call it parallel use. It involves long-term partnerships with the aim of finding a space in which an additional concept can be perfectly integrated into the space and structures of the main operator. That makes harmony between the partners extremely important. Our mission as intermediaries for space and concepts is to achieve that harmony.
2. But that’s nothing out of the box!
No, it hasn’t been done. Digital platforms exist where spaces can be booked for popups, events and other functions. In that case, the focus is on one-time bookings and events in a space that does not have a set use. That’s why booking those kinds of spaces costs so much. A platform like ours with a focus on long-term parallel use doesn’t exist, which means we don’t have any direct competition at the moment.
3. What was your biggest challenge so far?
Our biggest challenge has been bureaucratic and legal issues, such as building permits and mixed-use permits. And at the moment: reaching our funding target for our crowdfunding campaign. We appreciate any kind of support, which will make it possible for us to help a lot of people fulfil their dreams in the future.
The “Shquared Pioneers”
4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
We’ve had interested people knocking on our door from a wide range of fields. Great ideas and concepts; great people with big plans. We’ve noticed: The need is there. Primarily for space, but also for consulting services on the road to self-employment.
There are also people who want to open their doors and spaces and have contacted us. Spaces are not efficiently utilized due to their capacity limits. That might be due to personal or conceptual reasons.
“The business case exists.”
We aren’t earning any money yet with Shquared. But we’re also just getting started and have to shape our services first. We keep our values in mind while doing so and get people involved from the very beginning. We call this stage the pioneer stage and everyone involved the “Shquared Pioneers.” We want to create a service that is open and transparent and that really offers added value.
Of course, we also want to make a living from it in the future so we can pay our rent, future employees and for everyone’s vacations. And that is okay. We’ll have to invest in the beginning. Be we’re confident that the concept will pay for itself. If for no other reason, then just because it makes so much sense.
Munich will play a pioneering role in space sharing
5. What does Munich mean to you?
When comparing all big German cities, Munich is the city with the highest percentage of area for building development and traffic areas among all cities with more than one million residents. On top of that, the legal requirements and bureaucracy are also very complex and complicated because the amount of space available in the urban area compared to the existing population density and increasing pressure for urban development are in a very unfavorable relationship. That’s why the pressure is higher than in any other big city to tap into potential for densification of the urban area. You also have the economic strength and high standard of living and recreational activities offered by the city, which then has a significant impact on real estate prices. They’ve been going nowhere but up for years now.
The combination of these factors is a unique feature that can only be found in this form in Munich. The pressure to do something here for further urban development is so extreme at this point that a lot of new suggested solutions need to be tried out first in Bavaria’s capital city. Munich has to go above and beyond.
We think it would be great for Munich to take on a leading role in space sharing among Germany’s big cities and for the city to support local startups by giving them space instead of just to big, established names.
“High quality service, sustainability and happy people.”
6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
Our idea has major potential. It’s scalable, we can expand and cooperating with room booking tools, cleaning services, agencies and so on would allow us to create an end-to-end offer.
Right now, however, we’re not thinking about growth, big bucks or our IPO. To us, it’s about high quality service, sustainability and happy people. Everything else follows bit by bit.
7. Hiking or beer garden?
Hiking. You can have beer on top of the mountain!