Prototype started when Jacob, back in April 2014, asked if I was interested sharing an office. He had gotten the opportunity to take over the coffee shop, Min Nye Kaffebar, and convert it into an office. Without much consideration I immediately said yes, as I had been looking for an office/hackerlab, to run experiments like Helpmate.
Within a week we were a bunch of great people ready to share an office, in a former coffee shop, in Vesterbro with no additional plan.
From there we started iterating, and step by step, we converted this former coffee shop into a little community of coders, designers, and hackers. We decided on the name Prototype, found a fitting domain, created a visual identity (great work Tony ) and we started hanging out in our space.
The concept of Prototype was from the beginning been a bit in flux. Is it a coffee shop? Is it an office? The short answer it’s both. All of us liked to work out of coffee shops, but we were tired of places noisy places with no power outlets and crappy wifi, so with Prototype we had the opportunity to create the ideal space for us.
We keept the original interior, as we wanted to keep the cafe vibe. We started filling the fridge with drinks, snacks and beers, and installed a bit of tech, so we could show presentations and listen to music.
Building a micro-community
During the past year we have had many guests stopping by, including many former customers who thought it still was a regular coffee shop. We have been hosting events like How To Build A Startup, Let’s build Prototypes at Trailerpark Festival and many pitch/hack nights.
We have been the temporally home of a few startups, like Peakon, Haxi, Champion, AddThisEvent, and ERNIT.
We have thrown a few parties (sorry neighbors), and most importantly we have been the home to brilliant minds from all around the world, who on and off, have been a part of little micro community.
I think micro communities like Prototype are important, as they create the foundation where like-minded people come, think and build together.
We need more places like Prototype - all over the world.
Rebooting — a new generation of Prototypes
In the winter of 2014 we “peaked” by having an almost full shop every day, but January 2015, it came to an end, as I had decided to go travelling, Jacob decided to join DR, and Michael went all-in on his startup. So since January Prototype has been in this weird limbo-state, where we still paid the rent, but most of us were “too” busy to be around.
So back in August we seat down, and after many discussions, whether we should close the place, rent it out, or keep going. We reached the conclusion that we wanted to keep our little hacker shop, but a “reboot” was needed. We needed a new driver of the place.
Soon after, Anders decided to step up and become the main driver of Prototype. And the past months Anders and Prototype have been looking for new members. I’m super excited to see so many applicants and new members coming to Prototype these weeks. It means our idea and concept around Prototype is continues to live, and it makes me happy to see new energy being fueled into our little hacker cafe.
Going forward I still be a member of Prototype, and contribute in a way that makes sense, but I won’t be the driver of the place. It has been a fun ride building Prototype, and I'm proud of where our little weird hacker cafe is today.
The baton has been passed to the new generation of Prototypes, and that’s fantastic!