News From Berlin – Q1, 2022
Publish Date: March 16th, 2022
Helix Hub – Where Berlin’s Life Science Community Mix and Mingle
Helix Hub is a prominent co-working space for innovators, entrepreneurs, startups and industry leaders in life sciences, medtech and healthcare. Maybe even more, Helix Hub claims to be a space of inspiration, flexibility and a space for a whole community. At Helix Hub, 106 workspaces and 7 meeting rooms are made to give the perfect condition for collaboration and creation.
This fascinating place got our attention, that is why we have been talking to Juliana and Christian Dierks, the owners of Helix Hub. We have asked them about the very beginnings and about other interesting decisions they have made for their co-working space:
Berlin Business Office, USA: When did the idea to open the center come up and what were the first steps of implementation?
It was 2018 when we started looking for a home for Dierks+Company, our advisory firm for Health Care and Life Sciences. We wanted to be in Mitte, close to Charité, close to all stakeholders in Health Care. We were looking for something that was modern, had a feel-good atmosphere, had many communal spaces yet allowed for retreating into your own office. We looked at 30, 40 properties, some were run-down, others 45 minutes outside the city center or had no elevators.
When we were offered the Helix Hub, a whole building with 8 stories and 3500 square meters it became clear, that we’d have to rent out – actually create a whole community around Health Care Innovation. We knew that if we said yes, we’d have two babies: Dierks+Company and Helix Hub. We did not know then how well they would tie into each other – but of course it was a lot of work!
Healthcare is mandatory in Germany. In what way does it effect your center and the overall startup ecosystem in health industries? Are there issues/topics that are reoccurring because of it?
Germany’s Health Care market is the largest in Europe and everyone is covered. This attracts many companies and that is good for us. When they call us, we can help navigate them into the market –and offer them space. Both obviously fits very well together. Thanks to the combination of Dierks+Company and Helix Hub we’re a one-stop shop!
What companies are already located in your center?
They are all from the realm of Drugs, Devices, Diagnostics and Data. So far, we’ve found for example Roche (pharmaceuticals), Medtronic (devices), Bitmarck and RISE (data components), ALM (accredited laboratories) Q.D. Laser from Japan.
What makes the location in Mitte unique, such as proximity to Charite and other health related institutions?
It really is close to all the players in the field: Charité, which I already mentioned, the Ministry of Health, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds and basically all the important Associations. Central Station is close by and so is the wonderful Museum of Natural History. And Mitte is livable and edgy. Which also helps attract the most talented people many of whom love this part of town.
Community is a main pillar of your offering. Who is part of it and how can they be helpful for emerging innovators?
On the one hand, there is the office layout: you can close the door but there are also open workspaces, innovation labs and spaces where people just like to hang out. There’s a library with a fireplace, we have a terrace and a really good coffee machine – so there are conversations happening because people just run into each other. And once the Covid-regulations allow for it again we’ll continue our series of events, discussions, after-work-drinks, which bring in even more people from the wider health care community. We’d even like to see authors here one day who write about topics like illness or their experience being a patient. Also, we are very proud that the winning parties of the German elections chose us for the Coalition talks. People know us now. I think this shows that there really is a special community developing around the Helix Hub.
How does a virtual office work? Did you have help of partners or other institutions with implementing this concept?
Virtual office means for example that you can set up your business at our address, your company is advertised at the entrance of the building and on the website, that you get a local phone number – and you can also use our meeting rooms at a discounted rate.
Helix Hub is overseen by Elsa Schnaitmann who comes from a luxury hotel. And I think this shows. She runs it like luxury hotel, creating an uncomplicated atmosphere, where wishes of our members are anticipated before they arise.
Christian and I have lived in New York, Hamburg, Munich, Cape Town, and we said: if we set up our company in Germany it has to be Berlin and it has to be Mitte. It is attracting great people, scientists, artists and at the same time it is easy-going and uncomplicated, which is how we want the atmosphere in our company to be. It is easy to feel it at home here.
Juliana and Christian, thank you for sharing your insights, we are very happy to have you in Berlin!
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