Helsinki has truly amazed us by its diversity and dynamism when it comes to its startup ecosystem. The venue of today is THE perfect example of that. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Maria 0-1.
Let’s rewind a tiny bit in time. 130 years ago exactly, which is when a Hospital called Maria, opened its doors in the city center of Helsinki.
130 years after, Maria’s Hospital did a “small” pivot to become the largest Community House for tech startups. We visited it 1 or 2 weeks before the official opening. A lot of renovation was still going on but with security helmets on our heads, we were welcomed to explore how special the place is.
9,600 sqm of space. This is how big Maria 0-1 is. It was started by the city of Helsinki, who decided, together with the Startup Foundation and NewCo Helsinki, to form a non-profit in the name of Maria 0-1 which operates the House.
The largest Startup Hub of the Nordics is what Maria 0-1 will soon become. More than 60 tech startups will have their offices there before the end of the year. Additionally to startups, Maria 0-1 gathers an amazing group of VCs who decided to set up their office right inside the Hospital to get closer to the startups and to form, together with them, a strong ecosystem. Walking around Maria, you will be able to meet SuperHero Capital, Reaktor Ventures or Butterfly.
The amazing part lies in the interior design. Voitto, the Director of the space, and his team decided to keep part of the hospital interior in the new set up of the space. Thus, certain offices are located in former surgery rooms where you can still see some machines and some surgery lights. Underneath the Hospital, you can roam around a vast network of corridors.
As per the new design of the space, it has everything you need: meeting rooms, event spaces, closed offices, chill areas, kitchens and soon a coffee bar.
It is super damn cool. I find it even difficult on “paper” to express how cool the concept is. The drive of Maria 0-1 is to install a strong Community feeling, where all the members support each other and collaborate. The place already attracts ambitious and vibrant startups who all want to be part of this amazing adventure. Not all the startups can join, though. You will need to apply and it looks like the waiting list is piling up pretty quickly! But, there are expansion plans for 2017, which will allow Maria 0-1 to get even more startups inside.
We were really amazed to see a non-officially opened space to be almost full in terms of booking. It does prove the concept and the needs for startups to find a place like that. Inspiring, challenging, dynamic, which pushes them forward and which brings them highly valuable connections inside the startup ecosystem of Helsinki and beyond.
I am really excited to see it grow and follow its evolution in the coming months. Since we came back from our summer coworking tour, we often check their Facebook Page and are quite amazed to see already the large amount of content / events that Voitto and his team are putting together. Maria 0-1 is definitely a great addition to Helsinki’s startup ecosystem and we are thrilled we had the chance to visit it. Cherry on the cake, we ended our little tour with the best selfie we could ever wish for!
Thank you Voitto for your time!
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