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Huge news? Well, here is what I think. My editor Mike Butcher at TechCrunch Europe is a co-founder of London-based TechHub. Butcher, who is almost single-handedly staying up to date with the tech news across 48 countries, saw a problem of tech entrepreneurs being scattered all over a huge territory so TechHub was created to connect the people and bring them all to one physical and virtual space.
Here is the original video interview with him last year.
If you have watched the video, you would have noticed that Butcher talked about expanding the business further to Berlin and San Francisco amongst others. Guess where it went next? Of course you did, because you read the headline: it is in Riga, Latvia.
This summer, two good Latvian friends of mine were leaving London forever for Riga. They drove by and stayed overnight at our northern German residence, complaining how ridiculous their life has become in London. They showed me the photos of a London school playground, previously a parking lot. They were overwhelmed to discover that our kindergarden’s playground has trees.
So there you have it. Lower prices, better environment, and not only for kids. Based on the news coming from the TechHub Riga co-founders Andris Berzins, Ernests Stals and others, the new place for entrepreneurs to meet, network and look for funding and mentors is going to be in Riga. One tweet also suggested, that out of all other applications, Riga has made the strongest case, according to Butcher.
Being old enough (but not too old) to remember the first bubble, I think about Gorilla Park which went down in the early naughties in London. Apparently TechHub is different, Berzins assured me via email. While he was in the Silicon Valley during the first bubble, he certainly remembers it well. TechHub is a non-profit organization, which is based on membership fees and sponsorship (and may I add, a reasonable cost Latvian economy offers).
The TechHub Riga is 50 per cent occupied, but still welcomes new applications for its official opening in February 2012. From now on, the Open Coffee, Startup Sauna Warmups, Garage48 events and Hackathons will take place at TechHub Riga, so the startups do not have to leave the building to network. Ideally the press release should also offer frequent visits by Butcher to keep the hand on the pulse of the Baltic ecosystem, but this alas is not on the cards. Still a great value for Euro 360 per year!
TechHub Riga is co-founded by a group of like-minded startups: Amooz, CoBook, Livesheets, MightyFingers, QMinder, Reach.ly, RentMama, SunyRide and Videoavatars. The Latvian location will be led by four active members of Riga’s burgeoning tech community: Andris Berzins, CEO and Founder of Amooz, Gunars Grundstoks, CEO of RentMama, Ernests Stals, CEO of Reach.ly and Viesturs Sosars, CEO of Real Sound Labs.
TechHub Riga will be based in 400 square meters of Class A office space in the center of Riga, at Citadeles iela 12. The open plan space will include permanent desks for resident start-ups, a ‘drop-in’ working space for annual members requiring an occasional space to touch down in and a plenty of space to hold start-up and technology events. TechHub Riga will be outfitted with fast Internet access and Wi-Fi service.
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vita at goaleurope dot com