- The ExIT House, a new grass roots cooperative project, aims to foster the perfect environment for the new era of co-working. Keen to sow the seeds for the city's startup community and facilitate innovation, The ExIT house is hoping to become Wroclaw's new beacon of bright ideas. The new venue will also host events as well as cultural activities, and promises to be a meeting place for businessmen, entrepreneurs, and ambitious students. To find out more about the ExIT concept and its mysterious venue, which was pitched at February's Tech Saturday's event, Uncut hunted down ExIT house co-founder Mat Jar: Welcome to Wroclaw Uncut Mat. So, what exactly is the ExIT house? We want to bring together people within the technology sector that would otherwise not normally cross paths. We believe that after years of Poland being in the 'free market', individual people are becoming driving force behind emerging grass roots projects such as co-housing, co-working and green cities. The fact we live in a networked society with constant access to the internet and social media means information become eminently more accessible, whether that be an article on a new technology or start up, or merely some information on a cultural event. At ExIT we aim to harness this and form a focal point in the city where change can occur rapidly. We believe the venue can become a haven for bright entrepreneurs and technicians, sparking great ideas that can become reality in little time. Would you say that Wroclaw is 'behind' other major Polish cities as regards the organisation of the startup community? If so, by how much? We are different in that we are going about things a bit more quietly; we have some ideas and we are just in the beginning right now. We have the potential to harness the talent from universities educating a string of students ready to take action. I don't believe we are behind, we are in very right place and can consider ourselves as 'avantgarde' How much potential do you believe Wroclaw has to become a thriving hub for talented entrepreneurs and startups in technological industries? If we do our job it can be done easily. We have good culture, a competitive market for office space, a great location in the heart of Europe, and a city where government institutions are not overly dominant. This has allowed startups and creatives to grow in stature and expand through collaborative movements. Coworking groups and individual companies are starting to cooperate with each other, which helps to spark creativity and in turn boost the city's potential. How are you funding the ExIT house? We donât believe in hand outs, so we are looking for donations, but rather 'investors'. We are funding our venue in the same way we did with Cocobar (Poland's 1st coworking brand), by accumulating money from individual investors and then charging for our services. We also have shares in project which we supported to this time. Some of them are small but some are very attractive on country scale.
- In what way can people get involved in the project? Our primary model of cooperation is the so called 'club model', whereby an Individual can access our community, its technology and facilities by paying a monthly fee. We are also open to external community ambassadors and venues. For example, we are currently recruiting people in corporations, administrations and artistic communities to form the bridge needed to deliver information about our products, take in feedback and translate our message to different languages and cultures. Through idea of 'ChatSpots' and Spots in general, we can help find places for people to meet up and share their talents for mutual benefit. There is also place for people who feel that that we are doing is needed in society / planet in general. They can become our mecenas and angels targeting their resources like: real estates, cars, actions, money, gold, patents, companies for general purpose of our activities. About #2 model we are cannot tell yet because of delicate process of communication and negotiation behind. In what way would say the ExIT house differs from other ventures such as Business Link Wroclaw or the Idea Place? Its simple - we are not focused on money but on value. We have our own internal currency and assets which are sufficient to be self sustainable. With this solid foundation we hope spread the effects across society. As this occurs, ideas, mentoring and spiritual support will blossom. We are also more informal - a collection of passionate private individuals with a free spirit. We make decisions instinctively and can switch strategy when required. Being an organization that's well networked and informed also gives us the chance to take responsibility for a wider scope of activities. That might be supporting grass root movements, new branches of economy and ecology, or connections with communities that have a more intricate structure than the conventional financial, corporate type hierarchical model. When do you hope to have the venue up and running? We believe in the participatory method of doing things. Even now we are meeting on daily a basis about ExIT with freelancers and ambassadors of communities from India, London and China. The launch date is set for this Saturday, the 15th of March, and by the summer we aim to have some top sponsors and partners in place to start promoting ExIT globally.