The Pick of The Parties: Nestpick Turns One
Knowing how many start-ups start, flounder, and disappear never to be seen again, it's amazingly encouraging to hear of one that has not only survived the dreaded first year, but thrived. Meet nestpick, the company that offers a simple, secure and convenient way to find and rent accommodation online, for mid- and long-term stays.
Co-founded by Fabian Dudek, who experienced first-hand the trials of finding decent student accommodation, nestpick, with the backing of Rocket Internet, has grown from a couple of friends with a dream, to a team of over 100 people in an amazingly short space of time. And yours truly had the pleasure of being invited to their first birthday bash. (I'm still not really sure why – all I know is that sometimes it's great being a blogger.)
Having carefully looked up directions on how to get there, and then checked again to make sure that it really was in Wedding, I somehow still managed to end up wandering around in the drizzle, semi-lost. Eventually, I happened upon a rather ominous-looking, graffiti-mauled tunnel, which I walked down with no small amount of trepidation. This opened up into an equally derelict-looking courtyard. Feeling convinced I was in the wrong place, I suddenly noticed, with relief, arrows pointing to the very back of the yard where the party was taking place. They were wilting a little in the now pouring rain, but still visible enough to guide me safely to my destination.
Upon climbing the less-than-even stairs, my expectations of what awaited me on the first floor weren't terribly high. Boy, was I wrong. The location nestpick had chosen was absolutely stunning – one of those gob-smackingly huge apartments with high ceilings, all mod-cons, and shabby chic decor that you can only find in the most surprising corners of Berlin.
I was greeted at the door by the super-vivacious personality of Vivianne, nestpick's go-to PR girl. Having been handed a glass of champagne, I was introduced to various people, each of whom was nicer and more welcoming than the last. In fact, one of the first people I spoke to, without even realising it at the time, was co-founder, Patricia Moubarak.
Easy to talk to, and incredibly down to earth, Patricia's career has taken a path that most people only dream of. From starting off as a surgeon (yes, a surgeon), she has travelled and worked all over the world, and is now ruling the start-up industry as the co-founder and Managing Director of nestpick.
“The most exciting thing about developing a disruptive concept is being well-placed to change an entire market and give people a new way to do old things. In the internet age, it’s impossible to contain the revolution that online companies are starting,” says Patricia, and you can tell that she's very happy to be part of that revolution.
Later on in the evening, with my attention fixed on the (surprisingly delicious) vegan spread, I was introduced to a charming young guy. Embarrassingly enough, my first thought was, “Wow, this guy is young enough to be my son.” Turns out that, at a mere 22 years old, co-founder Fabian Dudek IS technically young enough to be my son. However, he has already achieved more in his short lifetime than I probably ever will in mine. And you can tell from the ambitious, but cheeky, glint in his eye that he's nowhere near finished yet.
“nestpick was born to solve an old problem. While other sectors were adapting to the internet era, real estate hadn't previously kept up with new demands. We exist to put the fun back into finding a home with a secure, convenient and online platform,” says Fabian.
And with over 50,000 visitors a week, and 20,000 nests in more than 30 cities across 8 European countries, you get the feeling nestpick is just getting started.
Unfortunately, I had to leave just before 11pm – nobody wants to be stranded in Wedding – so I had to say goodbye while the party was still in full swing. Picking my way down the stairs, a man in his seventies asked me what was going on in the apartment. After a brief explanation in awful German, he invited me to go tango dancing with him – he had popped home after visiting a few bars, and was now heading to Kreuzberg to dance the night away until 2 or 3am.
Berlin – it really is the city where anything can happen...
By Linda O'Grady
Linda works as an English teacher, writer and editor, and has been living in Berlin since September 2014. She also shares some of her more irreverent thoughts on life as an Irishwoman living in Germany in her blog - Expat Eye on Germany.