Q&A with Joel Hauer from WeCo
Sometimes we forget that the Sydney city centre is not the centre of the world. Co-working spaces and incubator hubs are popping up left, right and centre outside Sydney metro, making the commute for many tech workers much easier. WeCo, set in the Eastern Suburbs locale of Edgecliff, is due to launch sometime next week. We talk to Joel Hauer, the co-founder of WeCo and get the lowdown on the new space and how it came about.
Pitch WeCo to me in 60 seconds.
WeCo is a purpose built coworking space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and independent workers to get out of a mundane working environment, café or home and start to collaborate with like-minded people to further develop their projects. We offer rates by the day, week or month, with affordable bulk discounts for those people who can’t plan too far ahead.
Why is it called WeCo?
It’s short for We Collaborate.
What is the WeCo philosophy?
The WeCo philosophy is two fold. It’s that working out of your home sucks, so it’s getting away from isolation, and it’s also where big ideas go to work. So, if you have a big idea but you’re stuck in isolation you come here and meet people to collaborate with and make your big ideas even better.
What inspired WeCo to start?
The concept of collaboration is quite important to me. I started a few businesses by myself as a sole trader and I found it difficult to go anywhere by myself. This made me realise that you have to be able to share and bounce your ideas off other like-minded people. The start-up community in Sydney is an amazing group of smart people, and supporting their growth is important to me. I’d like to see more young entrepreneurs be a part of a global start-up ecosystem, rather than trying to go it alone.
The space in Edgecliff offers enormous potential. We have an outdoor area which we were looking for. It’s brilliant to have an escape from bright office lights, and our courtyard is a tranquil retreat for coworkers to remind themselves of why they’re doing what they do.
Secondly, I didn’t want anything to be directly in the city, when it comes to coworking- the city is overpopulated already. I don’t think it’s conducive to innovation and creativity.
We wanted to take it out of the city and get into the Eastern Suburbs market, as it’s a community feeling we’re going for. Thirdly, we’re lucky enough to have unmetered parking close by, and we’re literally metres from the train station, puts us a 6 minute ride to Martin Place.
What’s your background?
Digital production and advertising is my background – I have a Bachelor in commerce and marketing. Connecting people is my passion. I’ve also worked on a number of start ups, ranging from outdoor coworking events called UnOffice to a Bio-plastic business called UnOil.
What are some of things we should be expecting with the launch of WeCo?
Half do the WeCo is about awesome events and versatile industry training. My hope is that students will come for events and training, and stay to cowork with the community at our space. The training will be on topics of technology, entrepreneurialism, and design, will be done by industry professionals, and provide a unique, affordable opportunity for people to expand their knowledge base
That kind of stuff is important to me but also it’s important to a lot of people starting businesses because knowledge is the key to differentiation, and understanding yourself and your market.
What do you think is the future of coworking spaces in Sydney?
That’s a good question. I don’t want to give away my secret! I think coworking is the next step that corporates are taking right now with activity based workstations perfect for collaboration – the idea that you don’t need to be competitive with the person sitting next to you. Rather, you can put your brains together and come up with a solution that will better the both of you. This idea is something that’s going to attract big businesses, encouraging innovation with their products and giving them a fighting chance to retain the share they once had.
Big businesses will see that collaboration and innovation through networking is the way of the future.
Last question! What is your favourite website/app right now?
You know Flipbook? There’s a competitor called Feedly, that hardly anyone knows about, but I love it. It’s nearly identical but it’s just different – it’s an aggregate of all of your favourite websites and it’s like my coffee in the morning.