When coworking doesn’t work – Betahaus Hamburg and Cologne declare insolvency

Betahaus Hamburg
Betahaus Hamburg

It hasn’t been a good year for German coworking space and events organiser Betahaus: After its Cologne branch announced insolvency in February, Betahaus Hamburg has now followed suit. The company is left with home base Berlin and international branches in Sofia and Barcelona.

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In a blog post on the website late last week, the company wrote: “Dear community, today we had to make a tough decision: Betahaus Hamburg has been declared insolvent. What will seem to come out of nowhere for many of you is for us hitting the emergency brakes.”

It goes on to say the coworking space wasn’t always full, draining the finances. An attempt to look for a more appropriately sized space, relying on events to support the company in the interim, also proved unsuccessful: “The situation escalated both in the short- and long-term so we didn’t see any way to involve the community (in seeking a solution).”

The Betahaus Hamburg staff will receive three months pay, meaning that for now the coworking space will remain open – hopefully until mid-July. The team said if they need to close it during the insolvency process, they’ll use their contacts to help their users find new workspaces.

Betahaus Hamburg opened three years ago, which means it survived one year longer than the branch in Cologne. Betahaus Cologne likely closed down in part due to a highly competitive market – the city is home to a number of coworking spaces, including Clusterhaus, Startplatz, Gasmotorenfabrik, Solution Space, Colabor and UFA Lab.

Today’s news leaves only the BerlinBarcelona and Sofia branches of Betahaus running. Launched in 2009, Betahaus Berlin was the first of the chain of coworking spaces and claims to house more than 200 freelancers. While not the largest coworking offering in the city (Club Office, with its soon-to-be two spaces, takes this title) it is the most well-known thanks to a large amount of publicity, events offerings and collaborations with high-profile startups and organisations. This will likely keep it afloat even if all other branches fail.

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