(photo by Rana Fayez)
Over the summer, Factory Berlin founder Udo Schloemer announced plans of expanding operations to the United States following conversations with Global Delaware. On Monday, Europe’s largest startup campus did just that, cutting the ribbon on the new location in downtown Wilmington as promised, located on the ground floor of Buccini/Pollin-owned building 608 Market Street. The 3,300 square foot space will be called Factory Berlin Delaware.
Schloemer says he is driven by supporting “young people with their big eyes and their big ideas, we wanted to invest in them.”
Gov. Jack Markell, secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and real estate magnate Chris Buccini were all a part of the process as Schloemer snipped the ribbon with a pair of big scissors.
So, what exactly is it? An incubator? An accelerator? A coworking space?
“It will be a co-networking space, there won’t be a single desk,” said Sascia Schloemer, daughter to Udo Schloemer, who will be planning events for Factory Berlin’s Delaware location along with her best friend, Aileen Nicole Pascual.
As Udo Schloemer put it, in an interview with Technically Delaware: “Coworking is dead.”
In its two locations in Germany, the co-networking space is home to some of the world’s biggest startups such as Soundcloud, Uber’s European offices, as well as Pinterest and Twitter, and currently hosts 600 events a year. The intention is to set out to hold a minimum of 50 of those events in Delaware once the space is ready for use in six months. Factory Berlin will be looking to the startup community for suggestions in the mean time.
When the first space opened in Berlin, it opened its doors with 60 members with help from investors Klaus Hommels, Dario Suter and Marc Brucherseifer. One of its walls rests on the East side of remains of the Berlin Wall, almost as though it’s leaning on historic change. With only 18 percent of their members being German, the organization has positioned itself as a global player in the startup resource community.
But it’s not just co-networking. Factory Berlin has also built its own “matchmaking” software, which has been amicably named as “Factory Family.” Through this software, carefully curated individuals and companies are matched with investment opportunities through a rating system.
As a recent graduate from the University of Stuttguart, Sascia Schloemer expressed an interest in experiencing life in the United States. This aligned perfectly with her father’s expansion plans. Sascia’s best friend, Nicole, will also be a part of the event planning team at the space. Prior to being recruited by Factory Berlin, Pascual was a customer service representative at Telus International in the Philippines, a company that is contracted by gaming company Zynga. The pair will live in Wilmington on the waterfront.
Udo Schloemer said he wants his network of companies to be composed of diamonds in the rough.
“We’re looking to bring together the 100,000 most important people int he world. This doesn’t mean politicians or rock stars, but people who want to change the world. Maybe it’s that 14-year-old girl in Texas who wants to change the world but doesn’t know how yet.”