For the last 3 months, I’ve been working in Betahaus in Berlin. Betahaus is one of the oldest (if not the oldest?) co-working space in Berlin and is one of the options most people suggest when you ask for co-working suggestions in the city.
In this post, I will give a review of the co-working space. I will share my thoughts, what I really liked and what I did not like so much.
Before we start, it’s important to state the obvious: every co-working space caters to a specific group of people. This is very important to have in mind when you read my review. Betahaus Berlin seems to cater the best to freelancers (programmers, designers), very early phase startups and people who don’t necessarily work full-time.
I just came out from a hyper-growth startup that went bankrupt, and my goal is to make a new hyper-growth startup as soon as possible. This is not the typical mentality at Betahaus, nor the typical people they seek, which will also have an influence on my review.
Betahaus – how does it work
So let’s jump into it: how does Betahaus Berlin work?
Betahaus is structured in two different areas: a café and a co-working space.
The café is on the main flow. In the cafe, everyone can go and buy cafe-stuff. This is open to everyone and works just like any other cafe.
Rest of Betahaus requires a membership.
From the outside Bethaus looks like this:
Here you can park your bike and see the cafe from the outside.
Betahaus itself then has a couple of floors. The ground floor is the cafe, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor are offices. If you have a membership, you can work on the office floors.
The membership exists in two editions: Club (99 EUR/month) or Professional (200 EUR/month). There are a couple of differences between the two, but the main one for us where we could pick a fixed table at the Professional membership which we picked.
So this is pretty much it. You pay for a membership, you get access to either a flex-desk or a fixed-desk and everything works. You get wifi, meeting room credits (on the Professional package), a printer and 24/7 access (on the Professional package).
With this, lets jump right into the review.
The basics at Betahaus
So how does the basics function?
Well, this is how our space looked:
The basics work as expected.
The wi-fi is fast and we never had any problems with it besides some few outages. You get a decent seat. We didn’t have problems with the 24/7 access.
This works okay. It’s absolutely not impressive. The tables suck (very low quality), chairs are meh, no Skype rooms and no good place to talk on the phone or with your team.
So when it comes to the basic “expectations” things work, but absolutely not in an impressive manner.
The place itself isn’t pretty. It’s very rough and startup-like which is nice, but also too rough. It was often very dirty, the kitchen full of a mess and the rooms are constantly quite dark.
I am on the edge between 2 and 3 stars here, so a good solid 2.5 stars are fair here. The basics work – but not more than that.
Social and events at Betahaus
Betahaus has A LOT of events.
Every Thursday they have a breakfast for everyone in the space, where you eat breakfast together and listen to three startup-pitches.
It seems more days than not, at least a couple of events were present at Betahaus.
Every last Thursday they arrange a bar.
These events are pretty cool. Especially the Thursday breakfast is a great way to meet other people from the office, which is very recommendable.
There is also a wide variety of events. Everything from very start-up friendly (learn to code) to an investor day where more serious start-up people came.
However, one thing is events, another is social. The social side is a bit different, and probably where my opinion differs from the most.
My personal problem with Betahaus was the level of ambitious from most of the people in the space. Yes, it’s Berlin, and we also had a very lazy period while staying here. That meant an average working day for us was meeting around 9:30 am and leaving at 7 pm. Yet, these working hours were more than anyone else we met. This brings me to another point: the whole attitude of the place is pretty unambitious. Everything from how people dress (never saw a shirt or suit, ONCE) to the start-up pitches (which on average is significantly lower quality than other places) is just not that ambitious.
This resulted in I didn’t enjoy the social parts of Betahaus very much. This is probably not the fault of Betahaus, but because I simply wasn’t the right fit for them. And the events they make can absolutely only get praise.
I would give a solid 4 stars here.
Betahaus cafe review
I love having a café nearby when I work.
When I get hungry, it’s really nice to be able to get a small sandwich, musli or whatever. And that’s possible in the café.
The café is a bit fun. The offerings are great: any coffee, tea, and snack you can imagine are there. Food-wise it’s pretty bad, but you can get something that is eatable.
However, there are two big problems. I’ve never seen a slower café. If there are just two persons in front of me, I’d never line up. I knew I would waste 15 minutes there. Absolutely horrible speed.
The second problem is the price. While the prices for the public are pretty good – maybe on the steep side – it just doesn’t work when you’re working there a longer time. To me, it would make sense memberships got some kind of discount because things are simply overpriced. A small yogurt and a tea cost you over 6 EUR – which to Berlin standards are insane.
Cafe gets 2 stars.
Staff and service at Betahaus
Betahaus has a group of staff, which all seem to work quite a lot of hours pr week. This is quite nice so you get to know them.
However, this also brings a small problem.
The challenge with Betahaus is you can group up the employees into two categories. On one side you have some absolutely amazing employees who are happy, easy to talk to and making everyone feel happy. On the other side, you have some few employees who are absolutely the worst employees I’ve ever seen at a co-working space.
I had a very weird experience the last week in Bethaus. I come down to the cafe 5:20 pm and the cafe close at 6 pm. Then at that day, they were closing at 5:30 pm. Anyway, I had the exact money to buy a yogurt which I was very happy to see was available. However, I was unlucky with the employee this day. The guy just looked at me like I was a fucking idiot: “No it’s closed”. I tried to point at his sign it was first in ten minutes, I had exact money and the yogurt was available. “Nono, not today. We close”. No remorse, no explanation and just an absolutely arrogant opinion about his job.
This is a pity, because, on the other hand, a couple of amazing employees could lift up your energy on a daily basis. I just can’t comprehend how they can have this mix of employees.
This results in a service I will give 3/5. It depends so much on who you meet. Some are 6/5, some are 0/5.
The area around Betahaus
Betahaus is placed in Kreuzberg, close to Mitte, and is a pretty decent area. Just next to Moritzplatz subway station, it’s also very easy to access with the public transaction.
Unfortunately, the area just around Betahaus is a bit boring. This becomes a problem because you also need to find lunch. People seem to solve lunch in many different ways – there are a couple of supermarkets, some bring food and some buy in the cafe.
We ended up going to the local Asian restaurant, Mimatoha, just around the corner and had this food for the better part of 3 months:
(Which tasted really good, by the way).
If you walk down towards Kottbusser Tor you can also find various good restaurants and stores.
The area is fine but nothing special. I’ll give it 3.5 stars.
So where are we now?
Well, my stars have so far been:
- 2.5 Stars for the basic expectations
- 4 Stars for the social and events
- 2 Stars for the cafe
- 3 Stars for the staff
- 3.5 Stars for the area
This leaves us with an average of 3/5 stars.
And this actually sums up Betahaus Berlin pretty much.
Because it is fine. It’s average. It’s just not more than that.
Would I stay here again next time I am in Berlin? Probably not. There are so many other options I’d like to try, and this place just doesn’t excel on any parameter worth mentioning.
So if you’re wondering if you should go here? Try out their one-day trial, but also try other places – you can always come to different events if that is what you’re seeking in Betahaus.