Julian Jost is the CEO of Spacebase, an online booking-platform for workshop spaces and meeting rooms. Setting their sights on providing alternative and unusual locations, Spacebase wants to “change the way we meet”. After he studied general management in Germany, he worked as strategy consultant in the retail industry. Julian graduated with an MBA at Oxford shortly before founding the startup Spacebase.
What is your background? Why are you doing this?
I started working for a consultancy after finishing my bachelor degree. At that time I had to participate in a lot of uncreative and boring meetings, organizing successful workshops took a lot of work and attention to detail. That is the reason my colleague Jan Hoffman-Keining and I decided to start-up our own company. We wanted to offer businesses unique meeting and workshop venues at their fingertips, beyond the typical mundane corporate spaces.
Find something a customer needs. Do everything to fulfil it. Then scale it.
The opportunity to work independently and really build something that creates an impact on people’s lives, something that is almost impossible in big companies.
Being motivated is definitely a skill you need to have. If you have a vision you want to realize, it won’t be done tomorrow and it can last years, if not decades. You shouldn’t give up, because it’s not working as expected. That just means you have to improve your concept again, and because of that being resilient is so important.
Leading a team of great people that stand behind our vision. It’s great to see them assuming responsibility and developing within their work.
The company that inspires me most is AirBnB. The disruption that they brought to the C2C market of accommodation rental is tremendous. Our goal would be something similar in in the B2B market for workshops and meetings. They changed how we travel, and we want to change the way we meet.
I would want to ask how they made that transition from being a small workshop to scaling a business so widely. How do you pick your focus and how to build viral adoption strategies, and in particular how to adapt this for the B2B market.
What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
The day we closed our first booking and earned the first money with Spacebase.
Our website went online too late. The first product had too many features that we thought were important. The feedback we received made us realize that we focused on a wrong positioning. By that time we already spent a lot of time and money on the wrong things. Because of that we decided to change focus from large-scale events to meetings and workshops smaller than 100 people.
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
I left Oxford straight after finishing my MBA but I still use the really good worldwide network between students of both universities that I built up during my studies.
The SBS Launchpad is a very good place to start with. Also I would recommend the very supportive facebook and meetup groups about entrepreneurship.
Execution is what matters.
EnSpire Oxford is a University of Oxford initiative to help connect people to the entrepreneurship resources they need, and to promote entrepreneurship across Oxfordshire.
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