In the diverse landscape of co-working spaces in Copenhagen, Rainmaking Loft stands out as an interesting addition. After its opening in the beginning of 2015, the Loft has attracted more than 60 startups. This amounts to 320 entrepreneurs who call Rainmaking Loft their home. Rainmaking Loft is therefore effectively the biggest co-working space in Copenhagen.
The Loft is idyllically located on Holmen, an area previously reserved for the Danish navy. The building itself was established in 1888 and served to dress the new recruits for service. After a substantial renovation, the old building has now been transformed into a modern and stylish co-working space.
Cooperation across borders
Rainmaking Loft in Copenhagen has by no means sprung out of nothing. The co-working space is rooted in the startup factory Rainmaking and Copenhagen is only the third capital to get a Rainmaking Loft. Rainmaking itself was started in Denmark, but the first co-working space was established in London and thereafter Berlin.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Johan Vardrup, the Head of Communication at Rainmaking Loft. In the interview, Johan shed light on Rainmaking Loft’s role in the Danish Startup environment.
“There is no doubt that we could see a momentum for co-working spaces in Copenhagen. We have been a bit behind compared to Berlin, London and also Stockholm, but the timing seemed right,” says Johan Vardrup.
Many of the people behind Rainmaking are originally from Copenhagen. Johan notes that the return to Denmark in some respects can be seen as a “return to the roots” for the founder group. London and Berlin have served to prove the concept and returning to Copenhagen was a natural decision to get closer to families.
In addition to the 3000 m2 of office space on Holmen, the residents have free access to the Rainmaking Lofts in both London and Berlin. This is one of the ways Rainmaking Loft tries to build bridges between the three cities and promote the startup scene in Copenhagen.
Rainmaking Loft has, since their opening, been able to attract some very prominent names. The roster currently includes startups such as Lunar Way, Labster and Swiftcourt. Martin Bjergegaard, who is one of the founders behind Rainmaking, also uses the building to develop his startup Frokost.dk.
With groups such as Startup Bootcamp Mobile and Business Angel Copenhagen, it is not only tech startups who uses the house. A broad specter of agents around the tech startups are also seated in the building.
By bringing startups, business angels, and event planners under one roof, they achieve a busy environment where people can learn from each other. The team puts a big emphasis on culture in the co-working space.
Creating an open culture
To get a desk in the building, a startup has to fit into certain criteria. The startup should be scalable beyond the Danish market, have tech in the DNA and the team should consist of between 1 and 12 members who, last but not least, have to be nice people.
“The other thing is, of course, the person. Is this someone I want to drink a beer with? If I would hang out with this person, then so would others. You have to use your gut feeling during that first meeting. But we strive to be an open community, rather than a selective one,” says Johan Vardrup
It is through genuine curiosity and open communication that the most productive relationships are formed. Neutral spaces such as the lobby and the kitchens are important because they are spaces where people can meet outside the boundaries of their endeavors.
“If you pursue your startup alone, you can get stuck. It makes a difference to be close to fellow entrepreneurs who care about what you’re working on and say “keep me posted”. People at Rainmaking Loft are accountable to each other in a constructive way,” says Johan Vardrup.
Bringing the right people together
To improve the global visibility of Danish entrepreneurs, Rainmaking Loft hosts Danish Startup Council. The mission of the council is to create valuable connections between Danish entrepreneurs and foreign investors.
The size of Rainmaking Loft makes it a natural venue for events. As part of the effort to create contacts between business angel and entrepreneurs, the house hosts both Rainmaking Connect and has been the venue for multiple AngelNext. The event Rainmaking Heroes was held in October, where Mathias Dalgaard, the CEO of GoMore, was invited for a talk about the ups and downs of creating a successful startup.
New events are continually added to the roster, with the Friday bar Tech & Tonic starting this February. As a new incentive, Rainmaking Loft has also started cooperation with the Danish insurance company Tryg.
“Instead of just having passive sponsorships, we work with partners from industries such as banking and insurance. Our starting point is what they already deliver well. Then we ask: How do we customize your services to fit the daily needs of entrepreneurs because we know the challenges they face,” says Johan Vardrup.
The benefits of scale
It is clear that Rainmaking Loft has a lot of muscles to work with. The size makes it possible for the house to facilitate a large array of events and workshops. Rainmaking Loft is therefore not just office space, but it represents a frame for the growing startup scene in Copenhagen.
“At the core of things, the biggest differentiator for us is to have the nicest and most talented entrepreneurs out there. Everything else is just packaging,” says Johan Vardrup.
With culture and community in the forefront the co-working space also tries to create quite a specific atmosphere for the residents to work in. It is therefore not only the size that gives the place its character. The co-working space uses these extra resources to offer their residents a bit more than just a desk.