When young start-ups set out to put their innovative start-up ideas into practice, they often need not only advice, know-how and financial resources, but also very tangible things such as workplaces, a workshop or laboratory equipment. In order to simplify access to this "hardware", founders can find an extensive range of these resources in the entire metropolitan region on the beyourpilot platform. We spoke to innovation manager Mark Behr from Tempowerk about this.
The resources listed on beyourpilot are potentially available to all founders of beyourpilot partner organisations and universities and can often be used free of charge by start-ups. This is made possible by the commitment of professors, workshop leaders and other dedicated individuals at the participating universities and research institutions.
As part of our resource series, we would like to introduce the Tempowerk, a technology park in Hamburg-Harburg. On three hectares with park-like outdoor facilities, there are various laboratories as well as office and production rooms in 18 buildings. Around 120 companies from 45 sectors with about 800 employees work here. In addition to the technology centre, there is also a hotel and conference centre.
Technological advantage through collaboration
“We believe that technological advantage comes primarily through collaboration. The Tempowerk is a place where people come together and the future is shaped,” reports Innovation Manager Mark Behr of the Tempowerk. He is in dialogue with the resident companies, gets to know them and learns what they need to grow and innovate. “The Tempowerk wants to relieve the tenants in a targeted way and thus create free space for them so that they can devote themselves to more important issues. That is why, in addition to solutions for the current needs of small and medium-sized technology companies, we also offer services that encourage innovation, support exchange and promote progress,” says Behr.
beyourpilot approached Tempowerk as part of its search for suitable resources for start-ups in order to expand the cooperation, or rather to make its services visible: “We have a heart for founders. Our managing director Christoph Birkel is also an investor and on the board of Business Angels Netzwerk Elbe-Weser. And not least because of our history, we are the right address when start-ups fall out of the first support. That is, when they want to move out of the start-up offices of the Startup Port or comparable places and increasingly stand on their own two feet. This is where we want to be the next logical location with the Tempowerk: our own rooms, but local and thematic proximity to the TUHH, universities and Startup Port.”
From the hit Technopark back to the Tempowerk
The area was created in 1985 under the name “hit-Hamburger Institut für Technologieförderung e.V.”. At that time, the Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH) and the City of Hamburg wanted to offer start-ups a home on the derelict site of the car manufacturer Tempo. Most of the young entrepreneurs who conducted research and developed creative projects there were graduates of the TUHH. From 1995, the complex, which became the “hit Technopark”, developed into one of the important high-tech locations in Hamburg, with its own post office and a hotel with a conference centre.
Mark Behr has known managing director Christoph Birkel since vocational school. Years ago, Birkel told him about his idea to create new, modern working environments in the hit Technopark. To do this, Birkel still needed an innovation manager. Behr, a trained savings bank business economist, convinced him that he was the right man for the new job. “In 2020, we then completed the name change to “Tempowerk”. The area now belongs to the Birkel family. The new old name is meant to underline the ambition: The Harburg Tempowerk once stood on the site of the technology park. The building in which our event hall “Schmiede” is located is about 100 years old,” Mark Behr explains.
A comprehensive range of services for tenants
With the new operator concept, the aim was to move away from being a pure landlord and towards being a provider of a service and innovation platform that is useful for everyone. This can include purchasing associations as well as the organisation of workshops, the organisation of services that can be used by all as well as the implementation of new working environments.
According to Behr, the Tempowerk offers young and small companies in particular the opportunity to grow: “Our latest tenants are, for example, the founders of Pydro. The young clean-tech company is developing an intelligent system to minimise water loss and prevent burst pipes. They had certain requirements for the space, we met these accordingly by converting and were thus able to offer them tailor-made premises. Our space concept starts with a 25-square-metre room and can expand to 18 buildings on a modular basis as required.”
The Tempowerk also offers additional service as well as the necessary infrastructure. The resident service team provides support directly in the office or online via a specially set-up service desk. Tenants have an unlimited right of use via the office wiring. “There are initially two telephone numbers and two telephones, a post box and an address. In addition, there is a parcel and franking service in the building and, of course, our telephone exchange: the latter ensures, for example, that if no one answers the phone at the company, at least a friendly voice answers on our part, giving the company name and taking a message if requested. Each of our tenants gets a subpage on our homepage, which then links to their own page – wonderful for the Google ranking. In addition, our IT infrastructure, internet access and telecommunication system is built to the latest standards. Internet access can be limited to 5, 50, 250 and 500 Mbps. In principle, all you have to do is tell us what is needed,” says Mark Behr.
Advantages of the Tempowerk community
Companies can often benefit from direct cooperation with various tenants and long-term partners: “We are happy to make the various resident expertise available to all other tenants in our network. In cooperation with our tenants, we offer a holistic range of IT services that can be accessed at any time. The services range from “service on demand” to “full IT service” and our own data centre platform “Tempo-FLUX”, on which virtual servers, data backups and much more can be operated.
Satisfaction on the other side of the Elbe
The tenants seem to feel comfortable at Tempowerk: The rental periods are on average about eight years, reports the innovation manager. This is quite a long time for small and medium-sized enterprises: “During this period, however, many also change two to three times in terms of the space they need,” explains Behr.
“Finally, it remains to be said: with all the service and infrastructure, we also have relatively low rents,” says Mark Behr. Rents start at around 8.75 euros and go up to 11.75 euros. “That’s because we’re not in the city centre, but we do offer proximity to the Hamburg University of Technology, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.”
At the same time, Tempowerk tries to make its own services simple and transparent. That’s why the service flat rate is 149 euros and includes “everything a company basically needs.” Mark Behr warmly invites everyone to drop by for a chat and find out about the wide range of services on offer.