The regional Startup World Cup took place between 18th and 20th May in Cluj Napoca during the Innowave Summit 2022. During the event, 10 startups were competing to reach first place and qualify for one spot and the grand finale. The winner of the first-ever edition in Romania was the provider of the world’s first proximity offices – Nooka Space.
Proximity offices are smart, fully connected spaces. They offer more flexibility, more privacy, and no commuting. The “Nookas” are fully equipped with everything necessary for a professional to start working – high-speed Wi-Fi, IoT sensors, booking & planning, and an e-payment option.
Taking the first spot in the regional event means Nooka Space gained access to take part in the grand finale of the Startup World Cup in San Francisco in the fall of 2022. Then the company will compete for a $1M prize with the winners from regional events in competitions organized in Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia. “Winning the Startup World Cup competition reaffirms the growth potential we have in the flex working segment at the international level,” points out Sandu Babasan, co-founder of Nooka Space.
Plans for expansion
The company has been growing rapidly and the plans for expansion are very ambitious. Nooka Space announced its selection in the Vienna Startup Package, which opens new doors and helps it reach key stakeholders in the DACH market. Currently operating in almost 10 European countries, the plan includes expanding to Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, and Belgium. “This recognition once again validates our solution among customers and business partners and gives us the confidence that we are heading in the right direction. At the same time, winning this competition places us alongside the best startups in the world and gives us more visibility among potential business partners and investors,” Sandu Babasan points out.
Standing out from the crowd
To book its ticket for the grand finale, Nooka Space had to battle with more than 20 innovative startups in the whole country. According to Babasan, the main advantage they had over the other participants was bringing innovation to the vertical with its versatile business model. The company positions itself in the gap between traditional offices and coworking spaces. Its high-end individual working pods are enhanced by technology that combines the best qualities of traditional offices and the home office. “We support the revolution taking place in the way people want to work: time and place independent while collaborating with people who are not necessarily in the same location. We aim to provide people with intimate and safe individual workspaces, creating at the same time a community of users,” Babasan adds.
A boost for the whole Romanian ecosystem
Nooka Space’s participation at the global event shines the light on the Romanian ecosystem and the whole SEE region. During the Startup World Cup grand finale the company will demonstrate its business model and the problem it solves in an industry that was heavily affected by the pandemic. It affected the global communities and the supporters of the work-from-anywhere model.
Sandu Babasan points out that this recognition has impacted the company and the local ecosystem. “It brings great satisfaction to the whole team that their hard work to develop our products pays off. The other aspect is the local community. It shows that our country has the potential to develop global products and can be recognized by top business leaders,”Babasan explains.
About the Startup World Cup
Startup World Cup is a series of global startup conferences and competitions that brings together the top startups, VCs, entrepreneurs, and world-class tech CEOs. It consists of 70+ regional startup competitions in more than 20 different countries around the world, leading up to the Grand Finale in Silicon Valley. The top startups from each regional event will fly out to the USA to compete for a $1M prize. The Grand Finale for Startup World Cup 2022 will be held on September 30 in San Francisco, California.