Pop-Up Workspaces: The New Hype in Amsterdam

Popices is a Dutch startup that’s turning all types of space into flexible workspace solutions for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Founded in April, 2016 by Daniel Baker, Popices’ original mission was to offer outdoor workspace options for people in Amsterdam. However, as Baker tells Allwork, this turned out to be “quite a logistical nightmare; we were limited on how long we could run the concept due to weather.”

Not surprisingly, once Summer was over and Fall and Winter started to settle in, the idea of working outdoors wasn’t as appealing anymore. Baker and his team were forced to re-think their strategy and their offering.

“We did have a large list of users. We clearly saw that there was an actual need for much more flexible versions of coworking and serviced workspaces.”

January of this year, Popices launched with a new offering: indoor spaces. Their portfolio includes restaurants, cafes, a hotel, and even a converted house-boat.  Baker tells us that each space offers different perks, but that “if you compare it to Airbnb, we basically guarantee members a bed (desk + chair) and all the other extras depend on the location they choose.”

“A lot of the locations can give access to food (at an additional cost), free coffee and tea. One of our locations has a projector; but in terms of amenities, we’re aware that it is our weakness. We can’t offer what a normal coworking or serviced workspace can offer in that respect.”

But, what they do offer that not many do is flexibility in hours of operation. Baker is aware that this can either be seen as a benefit or a downside as it can interfere with traditional working hours.

“Hours vary a whole lot,” Baker tells us. “Because all of the locations are working premises, they have different availability times to offer work space. Some of our locations aren’t available during the weekends or in the morning; others close early between 4 or 6pm.”

“We’re more basic, but a whole lot cheaper,” and it looks like so far Popices has attracted a varied set of loyal clientele.

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Pop-up here, pop-up there…what about community  and collaboration?

Naturally,  the element of community cannot be left out of the equation. The most highly regarded value proposition of flexible workspaces and coworking spaces is community combined with collaboration.

Baker knows this, it’s part of the reason why he decided to launch Popices. “Sometimes you can be quite isolated as a startup or a freelancer. Often times, just sharing a coffee with other people around you is a nice and welcome social interaction.”

But if this were all that Popices can offer, then members would be more likely to go back to coffeeshops and work from there as a regular client.

So we asked Baker how Popices builds and nurtures community and collaboration.

“Currently, as soon as you sign up and log into our system you have access to other members’ contact information; though we’re still playing it by ear. We will be using a lot of customer development tools and software to find out if it works or how we would need to develop the platform.

“The idea is that if you’re a freelance PR person and don’t have your own website and would like to have one, in theory, you should be able to find someone within the Popices network that’s a developer or a web designer.”

Though it’s not your traditional idea of a coworking community, the model seems promising for a specific niche of workers.

Baker tells us that he would like to add more Popices locations in Amsterdam and then branch out throughout The Netherlands and Europe, starting with Berlin and London.

“It’s a relatively simple model to scale and spaces seem keen to participate and partner with us.”