Primalbase Annual Report
An overview of company developments in 2018
Making Progress: 2018 for Primalbase
This year’s progress has been substantial and I feel we have made some important steps forward. The growth of our physical and digital presence, and the added value it brings to the Primalbase community, is incredibly encouraging — and there’s so much more to come! — Ralph Manheim, Primalbase CEO
Having launched in 2017, last year saw us set about the task of taking things to the next stage. This brought with it a host of new challenges. It wasn’t always easy, but we learned valuable lessons. Ultimately, we made significant progress towards our goal of bringing blockchain technology to the coworking sector, using it to provide physical workspaces for the tech community with lower costs and greater flexibility.
Our ever-expanding team launched new locations, welcomed new members and hosted inspiring events. We opened our third office in London, bringing our operations to the UK’s tech scene. We also introduced the long-awaited leasing function, which has been incorporated into our new booking platform. We are already starting to see the impact of this, with a steady stream of developers, researchers and engineers beginning to flow into the office.
This report will provide an overview of Primalbase’s progress throughout the year. It has been a long road, but we now have a strong base to build on in 2019. A huge thank you must go out to all of you, our community. None of this would have been possible without your support, understanding and enthusiasm, and we will continue doing everything possible to repay it.
In 2018, Primalbase once again proved that it is not just a convenient infrastructure for the tech community. It is also a successful testing lab for the implementation of non-trivial technological solutions. We released the booking and leasing platform to fully implement the concept as it was originally set out. The voting feature will also definitely be developed in 2019, fulfilling another important part of the original vision.
Systematically moving in the three directions that define Primalbase as a viable project — infrastructure, community and technology — is the only possible approach to creating the final product, and so we will continue working on it this way, pushing it forward and upward.— Dmitry Faller, Chairman of Primalbase Advisory Board
Meet the Team
In order to take things to the next stage, you need the right people in place. In 2018, we grew our team to 12 employees — up from 6 this time last year. Their dedication has helped to build a community that truly serves you, and we would like to thank all of them for their energy and commitment. A big thank you must also go to our partners at Binary District and of course the Research Institute R&D Lab Amsterdam. The latter, in particular, has done an amazing job this year building our digital product — you can read more about the results later in the report.
In such a fast-growing company, it is vital that everyone is rowing in the same direction. It is not always easy to build a new team, but we are lucky to have a dedicated group who share our vision. This year, we also started running regular Primalbase academies for our staff. These two-day events facilitate the on-boarding process of our new team members, and update the existing team on the latest developments. They’re a great opportunity to learn and develop new ideas for how we can improve our spaces and service to you. They’re also a great chance for everyone to come together from different international locations and hang out together.
We’re always on the look-out for ambitious individuals with a passion for tech to join our team. If you’re interested in working for a startup where you can really make a difference, check out our job board!
Establishing Locations in the World’s Leading Tech Hubs
When Primalbase was founded in 2017, the aim was to provide physical spaces where developers, researchers and entrepreneurs could come together to work, collaborate, and build the next world-changing technologies.
In the tech industry, collaboration is the key to success. This is a large part of the reason coworking has grown so rapidly in popularity. However, shared workspaces too often separate people. It’s likely that you’re surrounded by people who know nothing of what you do, are working in different fields and couldn’t help drive your project forward even if they wanted to.
Primalbase has been committed to changing this, providing truly unique workspaces exclusively for those at the cutting edge of tech. This means you are surrounded by like-minded individuals with whom they can discuss projects and find new, informed perspectives on their ideas.
It is therefore vital that we are in cities where the tech community needs us. We have made significant progress this year in adding to our international portfolio. Having launched offices in Berlin and Amsterdam last year, this year we opened in London — widely considered the tech capital of Europe and second only to San Francisco globally. We also now have a location for our Singapore office and we are on track to open in Q1 of 2019. Unfortunately, we suffered a setback with our New York office. Having found a location and been on the verge of starting construction, we were let down by the building owners. Know that we are exploring legal action against them and will find a new office space as soon as possible. We will have the perfect place for our community as soon as possible.
For us, location is everything. For the Primalbase community to thrive, it is vital that we are able to meet up and learn from one another — this is only possible if you are located in those areas the community is based. We are always on the lookout for any new locations where we can benefit the tech community, though, so let us know if there is anywhere in the world you would like to see a Primalbase office opened or if there are any more facilities you are looking for. — Simone Dobbinga, Business Development Manager, Primalbase HQ
Primalbase AMS was our first office to open, launching on October 12th of 2017. It has a contemporary warehouse feel that’s really in keeping with the area and achieves exactly the vibe we look for. We’ve loved coming in this year, looking out over the IJ river and enjoying the stunning views as we work. Its location so close to the centre of Amsterdam also means that there are always things going on.
We’ve especially enjoyed welcoming all the token holders, members of the Primalbase Residency Program, people leasing desks and members of the public just coming in for tours and events. It’s important for us to see what you’re getting up to and the incredible work taking place. Primalbase AMS is now home to the Research Institute’s Amsterdam R&D Lab, Binary District, and Waves Platform. You can read about what both they and token holders have been up to in our Tenant Talks series. We look forward to welcoming more teams to our Amsterdam office in the new year.
The 4 PBT offices have also been occupied regularly by our token holders. A friendly reminder for our token holders with 4 PBT or more that this space remains available to you. If you would like to make a reservation, please use our online booking platform.
We are not resting on our laurels though. We have been upgrading the space throughout 2018, adding those touches that ensure our workspaces provide everything needed and more. In June, we had a whole new access and control security system installed. This is now fully operational and access to the Primalbase AMS office requires a special card, increasing both security and ease-of-use for our community. We also added new furnishings, waterbar, televisions and increased the selections of snacks, which our members are welcome to help themselves to.
The space also played host to a series of tech-focused events, organised both by our partners Binary District and the wider community. In January, Peter Todd presented on the security and stability of blockchains. In June, the Waves Summer Roadshow rolled into town, with Waves CEO, Sasha Ivanov discussing the approaches towards practical implementation of blockchain, recently proposed solutions and the role of the Waves Platform in this domain. In July, Bernardo David presented on Proof of State Blockchain Protocols.
Probably the standout event of the year was Master Workshop: Layer I Solutions in November. Over 100 blockchain professionals came by to learn from more than 20 leading developers, engineers and researchers about layer 1 scaling solutions. It was amazing to see so many great minds in one space at one time, and we’re looking forward to the next Master Workshop, set to take place in our London office in May. Stay tuned for more details.
We also hosted a number of external events, with the likes of OKEx and BUIDL putting on meetups. Our CEO Ralph Manheim also presented at the European Coworking Conference, and we held daily tours of the office for the event attendees eager to see how blockchain and coworking come together under Primalbase. If you are looking for somewhere to host an event, you can enquire here.
In January, our Berlin workspace officially opened its doors. Primalbase BER is situated on the 13th floor of the beautiful glass building of Potsdamer Platz 11. Potsdamer Platz is historically seen as the political and economic heart of the city and we are surrounded by financial institutions, public associations, publishers, and ministries. It is our intention to play a key role in maintaining the area’s significance.
The space now holds 40 desks, a large meeting room, a lounge area, two phone booths, eight private offices, a fully equipped kitchen, and a classroom for workshops. There is also high-speed internet, a printer, and you can help yourself to drinks and snacks. Primalbase BER has a different feel to the AMS office, one in keeping with the local surroundings. It has an incredible view too though — best enjoyed from the hanging chair in the point of the office.
In 2018, we saw a steady stream of token holders come through to visit and utilise the space. We have also had some great press recently. We particularly enjoyed Blake Moore and Andy Moore’s podcast on Bitcoin.com, with Blake actually stopping by for the day too. You’re welcome back any time!
For less than 1 Euro, Blake booked a coworking hot desk for 1 day in Berlin. He used crypto and purchased through a…podcast.bitcoin.com
We have also finalised the finishing touches to the workspace. We have now added a small library and we’ve set up local partnerships so our members can enjoy discounts at local amenities. Urban Sports Club, for example, offer a monthly discount of 10% to Primalbase members. If any token holders are in town for a couple of days and looking for somewhere to stay, we also have a range of offers on hotels.
Not to be outdone by the Amsterdam office, Berlin also hosted a number of events in 2018. On the 9th of April, Primalbase Berlin hosted an event for the Waves Platform, uniting specialists from the Blockchain sector in Berlin and abroad. They focused on the business side of blockchain technology and it was great to see the office filled with people exchanging knowledge and connecting with each other. In June, Joshua Lind from Imperial College London presented on Teechain, which is exactly the sort exciting project that we know our community enjoys hearing about.
Other meetups in Berlin saw speakers present on topics including cross-chain transfers and Bitcoin security. We’re often told by token holders that access to these events is one of the primary benefits they get from being in the space. Whether hosted by our partners, Binary District, or another organisation, all of these events are hugely valuable to the tech community. Be sure to check them out!
The big news location-wise in 2018 was the launch of Primalbase LDN. Our London space occupies the entire 32nd floor of the beautiful CityPoint building in Moorgate, making it Primalbase’s largest — and certainly highest — space yet.
The building itself is part of the growing demand for office space in and around East London’s Tech City, one of the world’s foremost tech hubs. Dubbed ‘Silicon Roundabout’, it embodies the UK’s commitment to digital leadership. CityPoint exists between both this vibrant space and London’s unparalleled financial district — a towering symbol of ambition in the city’s most dynamic district.
The building boasts incredible wrap-around views across the sprawling city and is fully equipped with a modern kitchen and range of different areas. The office is also a stone’s throw away from Moorgate Station and Liverpool Street Station, home to the soon-to-be-opened Elizabeth line.
Things moved quickly in 2018. We picked out the location at the start of the year, selected a construction partner in July, and the space opened on November 4th with a launch party. A huge thank you to our construction partner Modus for being so efficient! We are still adding the finishing design touches to the workspace, but with token holders already becoming a regular fixture in the office, we are off to a strong start.
We have also hosted a number of events already. On February 22nd, before we began refurbishing the office, we had the annual Genesis Conference, organised by Binary District, with more than 300 guests stopping by. TNW also hosted a number of events in December during their week of ‘Hard Fork’ events, including Waves Web 3.0 revolution.
We’re looking forward to hitting the ground running next year and really bringing some life to the office. Unfortunately, due to technicalities in the contract, we are currently unable to offer leasing in our London office. This is something we hope to have resolved in 2019. If you’re in the area though, be sure to stop by and check it out! We’ve got a range of offices and spacious coworking areas available.
Establishing a presence in New York has been one of the unfortunate disappointments of the year. After the necessary reconnaissance trips by our CEO Ralph Manheim and business development manager, Simone Dobbinga, we finally settled on a location only to have it snatched away right at the end of the year. We are not letting this setback stop us though. Ralph and Simone have already been on a plane to the US on the hunt for a new location. We promise that we will have news for you soon! You can read our full statement from Ralph Manheim on the matter here.
There is better news on the Singapore front! As with Primalbase NYC, Ralph and Simone spent many weeks travelling back and forth this year. We looked at a variety of interesting office spaces with different real estate agents, focusing primarily on Tanjong Pagar, City Hall/Marina Centre and Sun Tech Towers as we felt these are the best areas for our community to be based — and, of course, there are the views. We have also found a very committed legal team who will assist and advise us in all Singapore-related rules and regulations.
We are now finalising the negotiations on a stunning office space. Stay tuned in Q1 for further details!
Community: At the Heart of What We Do
Being part of the Primalbase community was a crazy ride this year. It’s been lovely to get to know token holders, tenants and leasees everyday — both in person and through social media. Being able to put a face to a username is great fun when they visit the office, and talking to an international community means there are so many ideas and thoughts flying around all the time — exactly what we strive for at Primalbase!—Aisling Crabbe, Primalbase Community Manager
What they had to say…
It’s international, which is great. When we visit other cities to meet clients or partners, we can host them in some amazing locations, in their own city. So you come into their playing field but you’re starting from the position of being a host. That adds a lot of value if you do business internationally. If Primalbase is in the city that you need to go to, it crosses over very well. I guess you can also do that with some of the the other co-working spaces but they will not be blockchain focused. — Maurits Dewina, Head of Investment Strategy at WOCAP digital assets
It’s great that there are other tech companies because you get to learn about interesting projects. It facilitates collaboration because you exchange ideas and meet people and share contacts. Everyone is really enthusiastic and welcoming because of the startup nature of the different companies, and they’re real tech people so they love what they do.— Alexander Kolupaev, Communications Manager and Coordinator of the Waves Platform Ambassadors Programme
We’re always available if you have any questions or just want to have a chat about the latest goings on in tech! Get in touch with us through our social channels:
A New Approach To Coworking
Blockchain’s potential has been widely discussed over the past year, but few projects on the market have actually been able to deliver and build their promised products. At Primalbase, we are committed to producing what we said we would and bringing blockchain to a mainstream audience. We are building tokenised access to physical environments because we truly believe in it brings a range of benefits for our customers.
This year, we introduced new functionality that we believe transforms the way people approach corporate real estate, bringing unprecedented flexibility and the potential to dramatically lower the cost of office space. A significant amount of work has gone into the development of these digital products, and we believe you will be extremely pleased with the results!
In March, the Waves-to-Ethereum Gateway was launched successfully. This allows users to transfer tokens from Waves to Ethereum and back to Waves.
The Gateway gives you the opportunity to store your tokens in different Ethereum wallets. You can read all about it here.
Booking Platform with Lease Market
One of the most anticipated developments of the year was the new Primalbase booking platform with Lease Market, which launched on the 6th of November. We want to thank our community members for their patience, support and involvement in the leasing project from the very beginning.
The Primalbase Lease Market is something completely new for both coworking and blockchain. It is a part of our booking platform which allows Primalbase members — token holders — to lease out their tokens (memberships) when they are not using them, providing the flexibility that makes membership of our community so valuable.
The Lease Market allows anybody who owns ETH to lease a desk in one of our network of shared workspaces using our booking platform. They gain access to space in our major tech hubs around the world, alongside the top talent in tech. They can also find bargains, because token holders set their own leasing rates, and our algorithm will automatically provide you with the best price. And they can do all of this without having to deal with any admin, deposits or notice periods. It is also completely secure, as tokens can’t be leased out to more than one person at the same time, and the person who is leasing it cannot assume full control of the token.
Token holders, meanwhile, are still able to access any of our workspaces whenever they want. However, on those days or weeks when they’re off travelling, working from home or even on their holidays, they can now put their token up on the Lease Market for someone else to use so it doesn’t go to waste, while getting the bonus of some additional income.
For our workspaces to really flourish, it is important that they have that buzz — that energy that comes when people who are passionate and excited about what they are doing come together to create, build and break things. To generate this, our workspaces need a constant flow of developers, researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs, all of them bringing new ideas and new skill sets. With this comes the sharing of ideas and experiences that enables them to find creative solutions to logjams. The Primalbase Lease Market is central to ensuring our workspaces are constantly busy and achieving this atmosphere.
We set out to build a platform which also integrated with the operation team workflow, which is also an important part of booking and leasing. It provides smooth user experience from the point somebody books, to the point they show up at the workspace.
As with any new technology, it hasn’t been as smooth sailing as we would have liked, but after a lot of hard work and long nights, we got there! It has been a long road and there were elements we had initially planned that we found were actually better handled another way. For example, we originally promised direct leasing, but after conducting analysis and taking into account the current situation with occupation rates, we wanted to find a better way to implement what we promised. A direct leasing implementation is under review for us, but the results of our attempts so far were not user-friendly enough. Moreover, direct leasing puts too much emphasis on token holders themselves in terms of promotion. We understand that it’s not a fully decentralised solution and in 2019 we will look into ways to use less off-chain solutions for leasing.
We are not yet at the end of our journey. We believe the Lease Market is easy to use and an efficient way of booking flexible workspace, but we are always looking to build on and improve the site. We’re relentlessly testing it, and will continue adding to its functionality. User feedback is vital to this. Ultimately, we are living proof that blockchain is more than a complicated footnote in the world of technology. We used it to build the world’s most forward-thinking workspace. We are showing that it can be adapted to the mainstream. At the same time, we’re providing a platform for others to seize the opportunities presented by blockchain and other new technologies. We hope you can be part of it.
Primalbase in the Media
Primalbase is pioneering real estate with blockchain technology and this has been widely recognised in the national press and tech media. Throughout 2018, Primalbase appeared in a variety of renowned publications. Check out some of these articles for yourself.
What’s in Store for 2019?
2019 is already set to be a full on year — with Singapore and New York set to open in Q1. We will also be looking at more potential locations throughout the year. Wherever the tech community needs us, we are going to be there. Members have a concrete say in this and can vote on future venues.
We will also make improvements to our existing workspaces. Optimisation of our interiors is an ongoing process — we want to best facilitate both creativity and productivity, and will do everything possible to do so. What this means and how it’s done is constantly evolving. In 2019, we will look to extend office hours, add new amenities, work on the design… everything we can to create the best possible user experience and boost collaboration.
In terms of tech, in 2019 we will be focusing on the following developments:
- Guest booking (bookings for somebody)
- Mobile version
- Locations Voting
- Fiat gateway
- Decentralised leasing prototype and research
- Improved website design
- Digital access to locations
You can find the roadmap here.
As the project grows and develops, so will the website. We encourage you to get in touch with us if you have any ideas and suggestions for additions to the website. Answers to all product questions can be found in the launched and updated help centre.
The task for us now is to create that buzz that people expect from a coworking space. We need that atmosphere — the creative energy that leads to new developments. We want our spaces filled with the leading tech projects — the next Google, the next Amazon. Leasing and other tokenisation advantages will help us achieve this, opening up the spaces to an entirely new market.
If you’ve yet to see the space for yourself, remember you can always request a tour. You can do so here. The coffee is on us.
Know that we will always be working hard to provide you with a community that you can be proud of. It’s been quite a journey so far, and we can’t wait for you to join us as we move into the next phase!