CODE_n SPACES – First Innovation Hub Opens in Stuttgart

11/25/2015  |  Interview, SPACES and Residents

CODE_n SPACES is the name of the latest element in the CODE_n ecosystem. In addition to the CONNECT digital platform, the SPACES are an all-year-round, physical platform that networks promising startups and established companies. On the first and second floors of the newly built GFT headquarters in Stuttgart’s Fasanenhof, spaces have been created over an area of 2,000 square meters that are geared entirely towards innovation in terms of their design and function. They were designed by the artist and sculptor Tobias Rehberger. In our interview, Ulrich Dietz, CEO of the GFT Group and the initiator of CODE_n, explains the concept behind the SPACES and extends an invitation: Digital pioneers can apply straight away.

GFT Corporate Center

The first CODE_n SPACES in Stuttgart are now ready. Who are you looking to appeal to with this innovation hub?

Dietz: CODE_n, whether it be with the elements CONTEST, CONNECT, EVENTS or SPACES, generally always has one goal: we want to offer people with unusual ideas a platform – lateral thinkers, digital pioneers, designers of the future. Young companies need to network with experienced people and established companies in order to promote the development of new, groundbreaking business models. With the SPACES, we have put together a creative space for this collaboration to take place. Digital pioneers, young startups, experienced managers, but also teams of innovators from large companies, can register with us and apply for a place in the SPACES.

What requirements must an applicant meet to secure a place in the SPACES?

Dietz: We are intentionally not focusing on a specific target group or on definite requirements, because what we want is the right mixture of exciting projects and ideas. Our desire is to also bring together startups and companies that might actually be in very different stages of development. Whether it be an early-stage startup or an already well-established young company, none of this matters for the application process. The idea needs to convince people, and then we can agree on the use of the SPACES individually. Applications can come from any industry – even though we naturally assume that the Stuttgart site offers tremendous potential in terms of mobility and industry, we’re very open to other areas too.

What’s special about the CODE_n SPACES?

Dietz: The SPACES combine the concept of creative design thinking premises with the idea of co-working and a professional working environment at the same time. The flexible elements in the “Super Duper Studio”, designed by artist Tobias Rehberger, means we are able to respond spontaneously to the different target groups and applicants in the CODE_n SPACES. At the same time, our digital pioneers and innovation teams have the opportunity to improvise by themselves and adapt their office to the conditions they want to work in. Flexible dividers, for example, allow offices to be quickly rearranged, expanded or merged. There are options for quiet time, as well as open areas, offering everything that a young company needs in its early stages. Experienced managers on the second floor have the ability to move into a prestigious, high-quality office.

Ulrich Dietz

GFT CEO & CODE_n Initiator Ulrich Dietz

Dialog and exchange are key aspects of the CODE_n concept. What opportunities will a startup have to establish valuable contacts in the SPACES?

Dietz: Truly promising startups that impress us with their ideas will get not just free office space, but also the option of seed investment and, with their move into the SPACES, of course access to the CODE_n ecosystem: Startups, established companies, as well as young and experienced managers are all in one building. This means that every door is open, literally, to the exchange of ideas. We also offer various formats for active networking. There will be regular after-work meetings on the various levels, in the restaurant, outside or in the art room, as well as ‘regulars’ table’ events and monthly series of activities with discussions, ideas pitches and renowned speakers. So we offer a versatile package for promoting dialog about topics of the future.

The target groups at a glance:

  • Promising startups: Startups are given the opportunity to work on the development of their business model in the CODE_n SPACES.
  • Corporate innovation teams: Established companies are part of the CODE_n SPACES ecosystem with their physical presence. They can use their space just as they wish.
  • Executives and mentors: On the 2nd floor of the CODE_n SPACES, experienced managers and mentors will have their offices in a prestigious and high-quality setting.

For further information about the CODE_n SPACES and to apply: visit