Interview with Vartan Galstyan

Smart factory in Elmshorn – a co-working space in Elmshorn, opened on 01.07.2020

Owners: Vartan Galstyan and Paul März

The smart factory, a co-working space, was opened in the tranquil city of Elmshorn on the outskirts of Hamburg during the Corona Pandemic. I find this extraordinarily courageous – reason enough to conduct an interview and find out more about it:

  1. How do you know each other?

We know each other from school. Three years ago, we decided to do something together, to be entrepreneurial. We were already in jobs (HH and EMS). We then specialized in web and graphic design and started with that in 2018.

  1. How did you come up with this business idea?

I worked at a UN that rented rooms from another co-working space provider and I liked the flair very much. It became clear to me that the environment (man and place) is more important than the activity itself. Our search for a co-working place was initially unsuccessful until we met the landlord of the Heinrich Hertz site. After several discussions, we were able to convince him to rent the space for the co-working space and to set up the co-working space.

  1. Power you do it alone or in cooperation?

Legally we do this alone and maintain a good Hanseatic – commercial cooperation with the landlord.

  1. What is your overarching goal? What are you burning for?

We want to make a difference and also promote change in the labour market in our region. Change in the sense of transparency and flexibility – a new way of working together and designing projects together.

  1. What was it like for you when you couldn’t open the door because of corona?

Disillusioning. We underestimated Corona at first and then thought a lot about how to deal with it. The decision that we want to implement the concept had already been made and we didn’t doubt it for a moment, rather we thought “now all the more”.

  1. How are you currently dealing with the situation?

In space, we try to comply with the hygiene rules and also to pay attention to compliance.

  1. What do the regulations mean for your business model?

We have to keep small, as there are no more than 50 people in the rooms, the rooms are designed for 145. The meeting rooms are running better than expected, as companies need larger rooms due to the distance rules and then turn to us.

  1. How was/is the cooperation with the authority? Is there any trouble?

None. They even support us by booking rooms.

  1. How are you doing with the current situation? Or what is the biggest challenge for you?

We still lack a regulatory process for the operation/infrastructure and that bothers me because it hinders us.

  1. And how do you deal with it?

We want to take the time to adapt and optimize our structures, which is not easy in addition to regular operation.

  1. Is there anything that helped you in particular?

The size of our meeting rooms. Contact and exchange with the authorities. And in the background, the support of our landlord, who is behind our concept.

  1. Were these days in that time when you wanted to give up and what kept you from doing it?


  1. Is there anything you wish for the sense of “more of it”?

More people in the open area.

  1. Or what’s wrong with you?

Supporting hands that we cannot afford at the moment.

  1. Looking to the future, how do you want to continue?

Maintaining growth and energy. And in the future also new and exciting projects in the co-working space.

  1. Is there anything you would recommend to others?

I wouldn’t advise you to shut yourself off and retreat with your idea. I would recommend you to dare and make it easy.

  1. If someone wants to exchange ideas:

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