A new member of StartupBlink’s Coworking Community, Merkspace, is setting an ambitious standard for coworking competitors. We recently sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Sapir Shpigel to discuss Merkspace’s approach in a rapidly growing and increasingly competitive coworking market. Shpigel decided to establish a coworking center together with her father, Jacob Shpigel, after realizing they could offer entrepreneurs not only an exciting place to work but greater access to helpful resources as well.
Like many great startup ideas, Merkspace was born from a previous failure. After an unsuccessful attempt to found a startup in college, Sapir realized how important professional connections can be for founders. The right mentor, investor, or educator could change the entire trajectory of a project. One relationship could mean the difference between success and failure. This realization led to long discussions with her father, and the subsequent decision to create a coworking space designed not only around providing founders and teams with a place to work, but with a heightened focus on connection and community.
The family duo’s approach is two-fold: offer well-designed spaces with exceptional, community-oriented working experiences. Merkspace’s first building, located just off of Tel Aviv’s bustling Derech Menachem Begin Street, was so successful that three months after it opened in 2015, Sapir and her father decided to open a second coworking space on Tel Aviv’s Karlibach Street. Since then, Merkspace has expanded to a third location in Israel, focusing on innovation in sports, and a new location in Amsterdam focusing on international partnerships between Israeli and Dutch startups.
In our discussion, Sapir highlighted the importance of receiving feedback from others and listening carefully to people who have become successful in your desired area of business. Community Managers at Merkpsace facilitate these interactions by organizing pitch nights, workshops, and business-themed speed dating events that support local founders in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam. Additionally, members also enjoy guest lectures and communal breakfasts where they can network with other “Merkers.” Many of these activities help provide what Sapir initially lacked in her first venture, support from other founders and mentors.
The Merkspace Edge
When asked to describe what sets their spaces apart from others, Sapir explained that Merkspace provides an ideal balance between comfort, luxury, and utility. Importantly, Jacob brings 25 years of experience in real estate and interior design to their projects, enabling Merkspace to move forward with carefully planned expert layouts. The team’s newest venture in Amsterdam was established in a centrally-located canal house with historic charm and modern upgrades, including easily available electric bikes for busy founders.
In addition to links with the broader startup ecosystems in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam, Merkspace focuses heavily on internal community development. With members from across all sectors, including freelancers, entrepreneurs, and service providers, Merkspace has wide market appeal and a rewarding strategy. In 2017, the company managed to raise $4M for its resident Merkers and has high hopes for the future. StartupBlink is glad to support Merkspace as part of our Coworking Community and we look forward to their continued success!
To explore a coworking space in your city, check Coworker, a coworking space directory that lists out 9000+ coworking spaces with friendly communities in 160 countries.