What are the startups working on the booth

The startups and the "startup look"

Berlin startup landscape
2016 – 2019
Lydia Hersberger


You might think that when it comes to designing a work environment, it doesn't matter whether you're working with a large corporation or a small startup. The days of sterile corporate offices with long gray corridors and many closed doors are long gone. At Dax ‑ 30 companies, too, the areas are full of sofas, the ceilings are open and the refrigerators are filled with lemonade. Only the expert can tell the difference between a real start-up and a “start-up flair” in the group.

But there is a difference. The budget. Corporations have framework agreements with high-priced furniture manufacturers from times when there was no lean production in the Far East or cut-throat competition in Europe. One is used to "Made-In-Germany-Prices".

A table for € 600 ?! A programmer can work half a day for this! We have more of ...

Stefan Lesche, Berlin

Procedure and learnings

Start-ups usually start with a trip to IKEA. And in order to get a more or less uniform look, IKEA will be used for the next round of financing. Every founder swallows over € 300 for a desk chair. Not because she is stingy, or because money is tight, but simply because the cost-benefit ratio is scrutinized very carefully ... and is used to different things. Working with startups means creating the same functionality and a similar look as for corporations, but with 3‑5x less budget.

Solution approach

For us that means: becoming more creative! How can you, for example, create the function of a seating arena for € 3,000 instead of € 12,000? There are different approaches here. For example the so-called "IKEA hack". That means organizing inexpensive starting material at IKEA, and then optimizing the look or function for the task through small but clever interventions. For example, we have tuned the existing IKEA shelves at meetrics, a young Berlin company for marketing analysis tools. A simple jacket construction turns boring open shelves into visually and acoustically effective room dividers that bring flair and structure into the open offices.

It often makes sense to think about the conversion of existing equipment or even to look around the used market or eBay classifieds. With the Potsdam startup "data4life" we were able to find a very good, inexpensive and individual solution for the acoustics problem of old buildings, which can usually only be solved at great expense: Recycled call center cabins in royal blue!

We are also happy to advise young creative agencies like ourselves. Here, too, the topic is often to create a special and impressive look without having to dig too deep into your pocket. Division of labor can work wonders here. Combining our more expensive external planning services with a lot of creative in-house work, and using architects and craftsmen only where their own team really does not believe they can, can cut planning costs by more than half. And this money is then available again for vintage pinball machines or chandeliers from the Palace of Tears.

Moral of the story

Beautiful and functional doesn't have to be expensive, even if we don't like to say so. If you are not bound by framework agreements, the creative handling of IKEA, classifieds and your own employees can save a lot of money and elevate the look to a real startup look. Because startups would never spend € 300 on a chair!