When you're working in an early-stage tech startup, it can feel like you're stuck inside a box trying to get a million things done on a tiny or non-existing budget, which typically translates to endless hours of work which sometimes can turn your passion into a grind. Well, every now and then one needs to step out for a different kind of grind, the coffee variety. What better way to do it than to mix the café society with the startup and innovation, that's what SAP opened this week at HanaHaus in Palo Alto, California, the epicenter of innovative minds and startup culture in Silicon Valley.
I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of HanaHaus on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, St. Patrick's Day. Lucky indeed that there's a place like this accessible in Silicon valley and will be open to the public on Thursday, March 19th, right in the heart of downtown Palo Alto. The vision and idea behind HanaHaus came from SAP's co-founder and Chairman Hasso Plattner, to provide the community with a space where people and ideas can come together in an open networking and social atmosphere. This can especially be important for startups that don't even have an office yet.
HanaHaus meeting rooms restored the feel of the historical New Varsity Theater
According to a postcard at the grand opening, here's What to do at HanaHaus:
Blue Bottle Coffee Cappuccino
- Drink a cup of Blue Bottle coffee
- Have an expresso drink
- Eat a pastry
- Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner
- Hold a meeting
- Get some work done
- Find a refuge or some inspiration
- Hear a great speaker
- Listen to music
- Attend a special event
- Ask for input on a technical challenge
- Get support for your latest idea
- Attend a workshop or Meet-up
- Check out an innovation showcase
- Learn about design thinking
- Make something
- Talk with someone you've just met
- Daydream in a quiet corner
Blue Bottle Coffee - Vacuum Preparation Method
After visiting the grand opening, I would add to the list:
- Find a co-founder or members of your startup team
- Deliver or attend a Startup Pitch
- Meet potential investors
One does not need to be a member to drop in and use the space, which has free areas for cafe patrons, or $3/hour for individual seating. Individual workspaces can be reserved. Meeting rooms can also be reserved, though the cost probably depends on the size of the rooms.
The feel of HanaHaus is like a Startup incubator space meets an internet Café meets AWS Pop-up Loft meets an Apple Genius Bar. Who knows when and where the next big startup will come from, but HanaHaus may be part of those stories in the future of Silicon valley. I'm not sure what measures of success SAP is gauging for this venture, but I'm sure more HanaHaus are planned for other locations worldwide. I'll certainly be hanging out at the Palo Alto one, who knows maybe I'll find our next customer or investor there while sipping on Blue Bottle coffee!