By: Paul Chen
I was invited to go to Budapest earlier this month to a live streaming of the Lean Startup Conference held in San Francisco. With the success of the Prague trip in mind, I did not hesitate to take them up on it. The live streaming was organized by thehub.hu. It is a coworking space in the heart of Budapest just a block off the fabulous Andrassy Utca. The event took place at Muszi, another coworking space of sorts on the third floor of a shopping complex. It aims to be a low-key cultural and community center in the center of Budapest.
The main organizer of the event is Gabor Dehelan and David Trayford. I had met David earlier during the TedX weekend. Despite some technical problems, the event was rather nice. It was a good chance to network and there was even a panel discussion during the time that the people in SF were having lunch. We got to hear some of the most influential individuals from the global startup community share their wisdom.
(Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur, author, lecturer at Stanford; Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup; Marc Andreessen, co-founder at Andreessen Horowitz; Reid Hoffman, co-founder at LinkedIn; Cindy Alvarez, UX design specialist at Microsoft)
Because of the big time difference (9 hours) between California and Hungary the event was held between 18:00 and 3:00. Overall the atmosphere was nice and friendly. I would recommend it to anyone.
Thehub.hu is located on Paulay Ede utca 65 in the center of Budapest. It has been in operation for a year. It has a multi-layered subscription plans for all needs, whether you are just a visitor or if you plan to take up residence for a year or so. In the summers, you have access to a large terrace on the roof to chill out. It has most of the standard infrastructure you would expect in a coworking space, internet, fully equipped kitchen, conference space, and even a shower.
I found the space to be very communal. It is mostly open to encourage collaboration between startups. There have been many instances where two or more startups have exchanged knowledge and experience, such as a couple of hours of me coding for your networking. Your inner-child will love their writing walls. More information can be found on their website.
While at theHub, I met Antal Karolyi, a local angel investor. We had a short conversation about the state of the startup community in Budapest:
Where do you think the Budapest Startup Community is at the moment?
There are hundreds of teams working very hard and developing products and services. The ecosystem is starting to become more visible through social media, blogs and Facebook. However, the community feels like being a small town, where everyone knows everyone else. Despite that, I believe that the future is bright. Due to the recent successes of companies like Prezi, Logmein, and Ustream, these young teams are starting to believe in the possibilities.
Are there some startups that you would like us to keep an eye on?
What would be on your wishlist to get the Budapest Startup Community to the next level?
I would like there to start a discussion between the government and the community to get some support in infrastructure and startup or entrepreneurship programs going with some tax incentives. I would like to get some business minded people come come into the community to help us market our products and services. Some growth hackers would be very welcome. At the moment we have plenty of technical talent. We just need to market it.
What would be the unique selling point of Budapest?
We have lots of culture like museums, galleries and theaters. We have nice weather. You can take a dip in our many thermal spas. We offer you good value for your money. There are many talented people here ready to help you. Most importantly, things are still at the beginning of development where anything can happen.