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Beneath street level in suburban Madrid lies The Underground Den, a serviced office space with coworking at its heart and neo-industrialist décor on its sleeve.
This centre has all-inclusive pricing, in-house consultancy, a charmingly aspirational car park, and more.
It seems that, over the last ten years, the most successful startups and technology firms have one thing in common. It’s not that their founders are less than forty, and now billionaires, as Forbes reported this quarter.
It’s that their business started in a basement. And now innovative Spanish serviced office ‘The Underground Den’ is trying to replicate the startup successes in garages and basements, in the marketing and service of their below-ground bespoke office and coworking space.
“We believe in making a difference,” says Dinesh Arjan Mahbubani, founder of the Underground Den.
“Our vision is to offer a comfortable, relaxed, and hi-tech space that can inspire young entrepreneurs and risk takers.”
A rabbit warren of productivity
The offices themselves are located in the Salamanca district of northern Madrid, and views look out onto street level, giving them a surreal perspective that sees pedestrians’ feet almost graze the windows, and the wheels of cars pass by.
The somewhat futuristic feeling of the office is magnified by its creative industrial interior design. The lightshades are refashioned bicycle wheels, feature walls have been designed to look like chain-link fences and the floor is a mixture of tasteful greys and some more garish yellow-and-black striped linoleum.
The offices have been designed by some of Spain’s best architects, Mahbubani tells MatchOffice, with all 140 square metres of space having been painstakingly organised to maximise space efficiency.
It seems important to the Underground Den that innovation comes from the most unexpected places. None more than the car park, which has been rebranded ‘The Orbit Car Park’. Quotations are written in Spanish on the steel girders that hold the roof of the car park, and illuminated in a subtle way that belies the meticulous design work that clearly dominates every aspect of the Underground.
Even the cark park is aspirational; Mahbubani has plans to organise events in the cark park and encourage entrepreneurs to launch their products there. As he says, “We want the next giant business idea to take birth in The Orbit Car Park.”
All inclusive or bust
The Underground Den is self-consciously pitched at the luxury office-goer, with one pricing package for all the services the office offersOne price gives tenants property tax, landline, high-speed wifi, a cleaning service, air conditioning and heating services and a 4-hour usage of the meeting room, along with a fully-furnished workspace.
The Underground also offers a moving-in service which gets the office up and running before tenants arrive.
The main differentiator, however, is the additional in-house advice services that Mahbubani and the Underground provide for business operating in the high-end, luxury services and tech sectors - the areas at which their office space is pitched.
They have legal, financial, business and corporate strategy advice on-hand to give to businesses, meaning that rather than just providing the space in which to operate, the Underground actually actively helps startups get off the ground by utilising economies of scale to provide specialist consultancy for their customers.
Central to the principle of the space is coworking, with six coworking spaces alongside the nine discrete offices, giving maximum opportunity for cross-firm fertilisation and cooperation.
“Our idea is not only to have ten, twelve, fifteen or twenty different businesses running at our Center, but also to connect them,” says Mahbubani. “Our strategies to do so are to create regular events to create interaction between all our members.”
Those events are both the catered meals throughout the day, which the founder describes unpretentiously as “the first breakfast coffee in the morning and last dinner bite of the day”, or the planned ‘snacks and beers’ TUD events for after-work socialising and networking.
Working together is central to TUD’s self-image, but Mahbubani is keen to emphasise that he wants only the most cutting-edge businesses inhabiting his underground space.
“We have businesses from the field of architecture, publicity, marketing, fashion, and luxury businesses,” he says.
“We support people who believe in change and growth, regardless of their experience, economic stature, and business dimension. We have erased the word ‘impossible’ from our dictionary, as we all work to make anything possible."
Find out more about The Underground Den on their website, here.
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