Italian coworking network expands to CEE region
The TAG team: Davide Dattoli and Rasa Strumskyte; Photo credit: Talent Garden
It all began three years ago in a small, northern town of Italy called Brescia, about 100 KM east of Milan, and with a population just under 200,000.
“Brescia proved to be a good thing for Talent Garden,” explained Rasa Strumskyte, the startup’s International Development Manager. “We proved [the coworking] model could work there and showed other small towns that they can make it, even if they do not come from the capital.”
Concept behind the ‘Garden’ coworking spaces
Despite having more than ten locations across Europe, an upcoming one in theUnited States, and at least 35,000 club members, the founders of Talent Garden (TAG) did not initially have any intentions of creating a network of coworking spaces or even expanding their successful brand internationally.
“Talent Garden was born out of a natural need. The young group of student entrepreneurs decided to have a kind of a creative spot where they could work andhave a flexible smart office,” Strumskyte said. “The phenomenon of coworking [spaces] was not famous three years ago, especially in Italy.”
Searching for funding right in your backyard
In a sector where only one in three coworking networks have demonstrated to be profitable, securing funding via traditional means could pose a challenge, yet groups such as Talent Garden have successfully fundraised from local businesses and private investors for each of their local branches.
The VC funding granted last week, which comprises of a seven-figure deal, will play a big role in ‘accelerating Talent Garden’s growth internationally’
“We believe that in a market that is still struggling to produce acquisitions […], partnering with companies can be a great resource before looking for VC money,” Davide Dattoli, Talent Garden CEO and cofounder told inventures this week. “We believe that many small and medium enterprises are eager to invest in startups, way more than large ones are willing to buy them at the moment and that partnering could be mutually beneficial.”
The VC funding granted last week, which comprises of a seven-figure deal, will play a big role in “accelerating Talent Garden’s growth internationally,” Strumskyte said. With locations in Lithuania, Italy, and Spain, TAG plans to open additional campuses in the upcoming weeks in Albania and Luxembourg. Other locations in the rest of the CEE region are in the works, yet they will not be announced until the middle of the spring season.
Design and sustainability play a role in the ‘Garden’
Photo credit: Talent Garden
Talent Garden’s aesthetic focuses on transparency and sustainability. According to Strumskyte, most of the tables and chairs found within each of their campuses are made with 100 per cent recyclable materials. What’s more, the spaces are open with no walls dividing the working areas and there are plants, which further give the illusion that you are close to nature.
“If you’re a digital professional, you spend [on average] over ten hours in front of your computer. And to keep the work-life balance, you have to have some moments where you can rest,” Strumskyte explained. “So these creative details [such as the sustainable furniture and open spaces] give you a feeling that in this space, there is something natural.”