Enjoy this Chat with Franz Glatz, Managing Director, Werk1
CFA was in Germany recently and caught up with the Managing Director, Werk1, Munich. Arguably, the biggest incubator and coworking space in this part of Germany.
WERK1 is an incubator for digital entrepreneurship. The campus provides facilities and an environment that supports founders and innovators to grow and succeed with their ideas.
Their coworking space offers a great place to work for freelancers of any profession, startups and entrepreneurs. It also allows them to network and share their passion for their business. You’ll find people working on their own as well as a group of people. It’s a creative area for inspiring moments, business talks, and an energizing atmosphere.
How many startups do you have here at the moment?
In the incubator, we have 40 startups. Perhaps I have to define what an incubator is because if you look to the American side, an incubator is they raise money, the team for what they want to do. It is more of a venture capitalist. We do not invest in the company; we have no money to invest in them. We have rooms we rent to the startups; we give them the whole community. Presently, summer, It’s August, the weather is too beautiful to be in the office. We offer them workshops, we look for lots of events, and we have two farmers entrepreneurs coach the team. We are doing a lot of marketing. We want to show them that Munich is better than Berlin.
Don’t you have plans investing in any of the startups?
No. I have the plan, the problem in main state program we are in, it’s a public model for this reason the public/state is not allowed to invest indirectly in companies. They can give money to new investments or venture capitalist company that can determine co invests in startups. We are not allowed, but this is where we have real connections with this investment. Meaning that there is another venture capitalist company that we have.
Is this a hardware focused hub?
It’s not a hardware focused; it is focused on business models. It is not for hardware companies. We have some businesses doing IoT; we have companies producing bulbs. But some firms have business models, so they are are doing something with the internet.
What is the percentage of foreigners here, or is it strictly Germans that are here?
They are mostly German startups. We are like instrument to marketing for the public. We have applications from electronic startups to come and stay here in Munich. Recently, we received a request from an American startup to come and stay here in Munich. They want to open doors here in Germany, and that’s a good sign that they have recognized us.
In the world few women work in the digital space, how is it in Germany?
They are few too in Germany. Personally, women have to change themselves in the next five years. A lot of companies just decide to work with a startup. Sometimes unusual and punishing.
How do you maintain this place, is it money coming through the state or you get money from other sources?
Half of the money comes from the state, but not enough. We need rents of the startups this is one primary source of the income. We have to pay the rents. We run some affiliate programs for some companies, but more of the funds come from the state.
The affiliated program you execute, does it benefits you, do they pay for consulting?
It’s beneficial. They pay that we find look out for five startups. They pay for maintenance and consulting as well. They provide the startups with the necessary things they need.
You are a lecturer in a university, so, how do you run the two works, because one is more theoretical, while the other is practical?
I get fulfilled and to do teaching gives me a lot of fun.
What is your vision for this hub in the next five years?
My idea is for us to grow as a digital hub; I want to see companies and people think digital, at least to see 500 startups on this hub across
Some of the startups that I met in Berlin told me that the response of the Government to startup ecosystem is quite slow is that affecting you as well?
It’s not affecting me. I would say the reason to that is Berlin is internationally recognized; it is the capital. A lot of things which can just happen, people understand the success of startups in Berlin. They kind of say, they want that kind of development for the country. Munich has lots of history of startups more than Berlin, but Berlin overtook, and Munich trying to recapture it. We don’t want to invest in startups because they pay tax. It is one of our big topics. We don’t say as much as Berlin; they are known for making noise.
Have you had any startup from Africa contact you?
None from Africa yet, but we have China, India, America that have contacted us to help them start a business incubator.
What would be your advice for startups generally, what do you think they should focus?
I think in former times, companies have been successful and they have patterns and close voice. They should network, talk about problems, exchange ideas collaborate ideas and not set boundaries amongst ideas.