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Comoon: Your office next door

Marius Schulte and Jan-Niklas Kippelt

The corona crisis has clearly uncovered two trends in society: working on remote and online shopping. Cities have been struggling with vacant retail estates for several years now losing its business to online shops and services, while the number of people working from home has tripled in just 12 months due to the pandemic. As part of his master´s thesis, Marius Schulte wants to tackle both trends and works on a project to revitalize cities and towns with new working space concepts.

Marius is studying Management and Technology at the TUM School of Management. As part of his expertise, he will work on possibilities for companies to reduce costs for rent and equipment by using Coworking spaces in rural areas apart from the headquarter offices in large cities. In the course of the Startup Creation Track of the Entrepreneurial Masterclass, he plans to apply the knowledge gained from this master’s thesis directly to the foundation of his startup project “Comoon”. Marius is cooperating with Jan-Niklas Kippelt, an old friend of his, who is studying at the Muenster School of Architecture and specializes in CoLiving and housing concepts. For both of them, development and innovation in rural areas has always been a personal concern. Back in 2009, when both were still in school, they organized concerts in their hometown in order to revive the small rural city. Over the years these concerts became a film and music festival.

Nowadays Marius and Jan-Niklas have a new vision: to transform vacant retail properties in the suburbs into coworking spaces. Employees appreciate the elimination of long commutes to the city centre and will also appreciate the coworking space next door. The Coworking places in the suburbs will function as a working and meeting place that has positive effects for retailers and restaurants in the area. The coworking spaces will be used by office tenants during the day and for meetings and events of associations and social institutions in the evening. The overall goal is to make rural areas more attractive and at the same time reduce the commuter traffic, which contributes to climate protection.

Comoon has won the Social Impact Award 2020 for its innovative approach to a social problem. The social impact award is awarded every year by the TUM Management Alumni Club to ideas and innovations with a social impact. The prize money of the TUM Social Impact Award 2020 gives Comoon the opportunity to create its first prototype, which will be the foundation of the Startup. Marius and Jan-Niklas have already identified a retail space and want to work with local stakeholders to transform this vacant space into a new local center with coworking offices.

Marius was inspired by other TUM success stories of founders and entrepreneurs, which shows how the TUM School of Management and TUM ecosystem in general support students to turn their ideas into reality. “My advice is: Talk to People. If you want to learn about a new topic or have an idea in a field that is new to you, contact experts and entrepreneurs. In a short time, they can tell you about the state of development in the industry, current issues and problems, as well as future developments. These assessments are worth their weight in gold for the development of your own idea and can speed up the process many times over,” says Marius.

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