Interview with Natalia Kiskova
At HubHub, like-minded talent and a culture of opportunity collide – creating the perfect environment for extraordinary things to happen.
It’s a meeting of minds, a vibrant collective of energetic and dynamic people, each dedicated to the shared success of our thriving network and driving towards the one same goal – to keep on growing. HubHub infuses its environments with a certain alchemy for success. Everything we do is specifically designed to create and maximise opportunities between our people and the wider ecosystem, and for our educational programmes to develop and grow talent.
Hello Natalia, could you please introduce HubHub and what key projects you have managed since becoming Head of HubHub?
So what is HubHub? HubHub is a state of mind. We focus on the growth of an individual, growth of startups, the growth of corporates and growth of the community in general. We have three main pillars that we focus on. One is the space. One is education and the last one is the community itself in the space we focus on the local spirit. So we have local architects from each country, local furniture providers, local artists that come and help us design universities, help us design some of the furniture and we really try to cater for the local needs. We also have 80 per cent of office space 20 per cent open space with events space and we are really open for freelancers but also companies are growing and want to have their privacy. Education piece is something like an executive education program. We have 12 week long education programs on one topic with 60 plus of them at the top level top is there the trends Big Data, AI, blockchain anything that you can you are hearing about but you can't really learn anywhere else then maybe Google or through your friends and there we really focus on the growth of anyone. Anyone can join us and anyone can come to all events or just choose one of them from the big events to small masterclasses where there are 10 people, you dig down and you start actually working on the topic. The last piece is community. All together we put together NGOs, universities, corporations, startups just individuals want to grow and we create one safe space for them where all the great ideas can come together. And what is my role in this? When I joined it was just a one slide and now we have this beautiful product that we can sell and it's very successful.
What was it like transitioning from being the Growth Manager of Bluewolf to your work at HubHub? How is your life different now?
I worked for Bluewolf for more than five years. It was my first ever real job. even when i was in college, and i think its the company that shaped me, And the question is what has changed my life. Wel,l it was an I.T. job. So I started you know as a business analyst ended up running the check office which was responsible for Central Europe. And for me, that was the biggest growth opportunity I could of had. So I'm very thankful for that job. However, in the end, it wasn't my passion. I like work where I see a purpose. And after a while, unfortunately, implementing Salesforce was not my purpose. I couldn't find the passion in it. However, the people were great and I didn't want to leave them but at a certain time hup up opportunity came about and I wanted to go into a startup I had my own startup which failed very fast but I knew that the startup is where I wanted to go because it's very smart individuals were working hard and risking anything they have. And I got to the best of the two worlds. I'm running a startup that you know is growing really fast and we're starting from scratch but at the same time we have the money of a corporate behind us which makes it a bit safer and much more easier to do. And I have to admit that my life has changed completely. I now work with the most inspirational companies in Central Europe and now we're going to be in Western Europe. I get to spend time with them learn from them and to be inspired every day. Also from my colleagues, we really are creating something that I feel that has value and that people want and need and of being part of the educational piece and actually helping people to grow in general. I think it's very beautiful.
How is HubHub uniquely positioned in Bratislava? What kind of local businesses and companies does HubHub work with?
HubHub in Bratislava is one of my biggest heart projects not only because I live there, but also because of the HubHub headquarters in Slovakia. Bratislava has been a very good starting point for us and there is not such a strong competition. However since we are the early adapters of co-working we have to teach people and educate them on, what coworking is what are the benefits and how companies and people can grow with us and that we actually want to help them not only make revenues. And for me, that has been a beautiful journey because we got some of the corporations to come on board early on and be our partners such as Tatra banka
who is moving to our R&D team to our space. They also have been one of the main sponsors of our events. Also with other co-work, we have a unique proposition the Impact Hub to have membership and have an impact. We also work with the Faculty of Informatics on our events. We have worked with the Faculty of Design for designing our podium. We worked with local artists to co-create this space. And of course all the NGOs from Butterfly Effects that actually have been helping us with education coming to our events and promoting. So,I think Bratislava has a lot to learn but we also have a lot more in there as well and I hope we can have the startup and entrepreneurship in the city and the country itself.
How many people currently work for HubHub? What do you look for in an ideal employee?
HubHub has now around 30 plus employees I'm saying 30 plus because some people are joining and some people are interns but we currently have 30 more employees which is amazing to see how fast we grew when we started it was just two or three of us. And I really like my people I'm very proud to work with such amazing individuals. And what do I look for in my candidates. I'm one of those interviewees or personal interviews who doesn't like to really go into the expert talk co-working industry as Indian very new. And not many people can be experts. But what I look for is energy and motivation. I love motivated people and I think this is where the growth and the potential comes from. I know a lot of people say that millennials are now you know kind of spoiled and lazy and they just want to do certain things and not the rest. Yes that's true. But at the same time you can also find individuals who are looking for the same purpose as I am and they really want a job that can create something better. And those people are willing to do a lot of work and be creative in it. So we have people from educational background people from consulting background with people from other co-workers that came about and people from startups vcs who really have a very wide group. And I think that's the best way because that mix creates the beautiful mix that HubHub is education co-work startups corporate and I really do appreciate that. And for me it's all about the energy the passion and the spirit that the person has.
What's next for HubHub? Where do you see the company in five years?
What's next for HubHub and where do we see them in five years. i think HubHub is like a person it grows, it learns and it becoming stronger and stronger and more individual every day. I think for HubHub in five years the successful part It's very subjective. Some may find it there will be everywhere. Some may find that we will get the best and give the best education will be the best community for me. Being successful is really seeing that people who are a part of our network are growing as individuals. We have more entrepreneurs around, especially in Central Europe. The people will take the risk and have the support that they need from us to deliver whatever product or company they want to that's for me the big goal and I hope will manage it in every country where HubHub will have it presents.