HanaHaus takes aim at becoming a coworking hub for Southern California’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

3 min read
20 Nov 2019

anaHaus, first opened by SAP in Palo Alto, offered a unique coworking model for Northern California residents. Now, a second space in Newport Beach serves as a bridge between ecosystems in Los Angeles and San Diego and is spurring entrepreneurship in Orange County. Startup Guide spoke with Daniel Zimmer, the Head of Ecosystems SAP Bay Area and Global Head of HanaHaus, and Julia Schlier, Head of HanaHaus Newport Beach, about the evolution and goals of the new space.

For German software company SAP, the idea of HANA (High-performance Analytics Appliance) always existed in a theoretical sense. The cloud platform for database management and analytics called SAP HANA has been, after all, a key element of the company’s growth into one of the world’s premiere technology companies. It helps users branch out into new markets, create synergies and connections across complex, multifaceted projects and use data to spur growth. 

In the early 2010s, SAP cofounder and chairman Prof. Hasso Plattner wanted to bring the ideas behind HANA into the physical world, by changing how coworking spaces are conceived and organized. 

The result? HanaHaus, a pay-as-you-go coworking space with locations in sunny Palo Alto and Newport Beach that mixes coworking, coffee and corporate offices. 

Just by bringing them together in a creative environment, it would spark new ideas and help the community be more creative and more entrepreneurial.

Founded in 2015 with its first test location – a former movie theater – in Palo Alto and since a second location in Newport Beach, HanaHaus has grown into a key node for startups in California. In Southern California, the second location plays an especially critical role: functioning as a bridge between entrepreneurial ecosystems in Los Angeles and San Diego.

“[Hasso] came up with the idea of creating a community hub for entrepreneurs and for creative people in technology and innovation hubs around the world to bring them together,” says Daniel Zimmer, Head of Ecosystems SAP Bay Area and Global Head of HanaHaus. “Just by bringing them together in a creative environment, it would spark new ideas and help the community be more creative and more entrepreneurial.”

While coworking spaces can sometimes feel like hidden clubhouses for wealthy entrepreneurs and investors, the founders of HanaHaus have endeavored to democratize the coworking space. Visitors pay $3 per hour – a steal in this part of the world – and have access to a range of resources, such as projectors, high-speed internet and white boards, as well as additional paid resources like meeting rooms. 

Both spaces, completely gut renovated, are clean and sleek. They’re also public facing and open to the world, with the Newport Beach space located right on the bay, across from restaurants, wineries and bars. 

The visitors who work out of the Newport Beach space tend to be an eclectic collection of individuals who truly demonstrate the vibrancy and diversity of Southern California, according to Julia Schlier, Head of HanaHaus Newport Beach.

“We see hundreds of people come into HanaHaus, using it for their daily work and also for meetings, and those customers that we see today are largely entrepreneurs, students and startups,” Julia says. “We wanted to create and bring the same concept that we have in Northern California to Southern California to support the entire environment here not only for Orange County, but also attracting people from LA, as well as San Diego.”

Sometimes overlooked because of its proximity to the much bigger startup ecosystems nearby, Newport Beach is well-located in its own right. A short drive from the Santa Ana airport, Newport Beach has the southern California vibe without the congestion and stress of flying into LAX.

It’s a place to relax and feel comfortable, and the shared coffee-shop element is a key part of the project. SAP has partnered with Blue Bottle Coffee to bring high-quality, locally brewed coffee to HanaHaus – a way of supporting local entrepreneurs in front of and behind the counter. This relaxed vibe is also reflected in HanaHaus’ business model. 

“You're paying based on your use,” Julia says. “There's no membership, no long-term commitment. It’s for everybody. Even if you just want to grab a coffee and read a book, this is the place to be.” 

For startups, the benefits of working out of the space are numerous, and perhaps most important is the connections that are made there. 

For many investors, HanaHaus is simultaneously helping to put Newport Beach on the map and supporting local entrepreneurs, Daniel says. Although the space opened only recently, he says that the number of people who work there is already on par with the first space in Palo Alto. 

“People with money to invest in good ideas are in Newport Beach historically, but in the past, they had to go to [Silicon Valley], or they had to go to LA to find ventures that they could invest it in,” Daniel says. “Now we're doing that in Newport Beach. It warms our hearts to see that we are actually contributing to this community, even though we’re not actively involved in those deals.” 

“We’re selling them a coffee and a chair that they can sit on,” he continues. “But they create businesses and make deals by themselves and it’s amazing to see that it works out so well.”

All photos: SAP Next-Gen