Republikken: the first coworking in Copenhagen. Iván López (Republikken)

By coworkingspain

Being a pioneer in a sector poses both challenges and opportunities: especially when our initiative is part of a newborn activity sector. An example of this is Republikken history: the first open coworking center in Copenhagen.

In 2005, the situation in the Danish capital raised pros and cons for a coworking project. On the one hand, the economy was going well and there were many creative professionals finishing their training at that time.

But, on the other hand, there were few freelancers and there was no other coworking center, which posed in addition to a difficulty in attracting members, the need to “evangelize” in relation to the advantages of a collaborative work environment. Republikken's incursion therefore meant a brave and revolutionary commitment. In the tour of this coworking center, we can establish a series of milestones that allow us to know its history at a glance:

  • 2005: Year of opening. Republikken opens in Vesterbrogade, one of the most vibrant areas of Copenhagen, located in the heart of the city. The space is conceived as a project linked to the traditional values of the French Revolution: freedom, equality and fraternity, and welcomes a total of 20 professionals who constituted the initial community.
  • 2007: Expansion Phase. They expand the office space and contemplate the organization of meetings and conferences.
  • 2009: Crisis Due to the economic crisis in Denmark many independent professionals are reduced their income and leave the space to work at home. Then introduce the flexible positions.
  • 2009: FABLAB. They carry out a second extension with the launch of FABLAB, a service through which they offer food services for conferences and events. In addition, they also include meals and coffees for community members.
  • 2015: Second Crisis. The inefficient management of Fablab and the catering services with which they intended to improve their offer make the project lose profitability. They find themselves in the situation of refocusing their business model to save the project.
  • 2019: the return. Focused on the business again, they come back with more strength and determination than ever.

History of a community

One of the values of any coworking space is in your community. In its beginning, Republikken mainly welcomed newly graduated professionals in creative disciplines. In addition, there was little age diversity and few families, which meant that the community was not as heterogeneous as they wanted.

To expand it, they choose to include new benefits and activities, such as food service, workshops or social activities, whose objective was to foster interactions among community members. To the types of fixed and flexible membership, they add the existence of private offices, as well as meeting and conference rooms. In addition, they set up incubators in collaboration with some creative schools: training initiatives aimed at students, and aimed at attracting new professional members.

All these measures aimed at consolidating a community of value have required a work team made up of people specialized in the different areas. Hence they have paid special attention to having an efficient organizational structure.

2019: the future is now

After a journey with successes and mistakes, in Republikken they have recovered the main focus of their project: the consolidation of a community of value. Although they are still open to experimentation and innovation to evolve and grow, they are clear that the backbone of their business model is coworkers, along with events and rental of meeting and conference rooms. However, its history is being written in real time.

* Text based on the presentation of Iván López Garrido, Community Manager of Republikken, at Coworking Spain Conference 2019.