In late January, Indonesia-based coworking space operator EV Hive introduced its latest facility EV [email protected] Indonesia, located inside the regional main post office in Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta.
Doubling as a coworking space and community hub, the facility was launched in partnership with PT Pos Properti Indonesia, a subsidiary of national postal service PT Pos Indonesia.
“We had a discussion with Gilarsi [Wahju Setiono, Managing Director of Pos Indonesia] in April last year; we were exploring opportunities to revitalise post office properties,” EV Hive CEO and Co-Founder Carlson Lau explains to e27 during our recent visit to the facility.
“What we wanted to do was to draw people back into the post offices,” he stresses.
With a history that dates back to 1746, before the founding of the republic itself, Pos Indonesia played a critical role in the everyday lives of many Indonesians. Post offices was more than just a place to send letters from; it also served as a community centre in a pre-internet society.
The digital era then rushes in, and Pos Indonesia found the urgency to rejuvenate itself. In addition to implementing new technology such as blockchain and fostering partnership with startups, there is also the need to maintain its expansive network of post offices across the archipelago.
Taking a tour around the facility, we learn that it is able to house up to 400 desks. About 70 per cent of the facility has already been booked by up-and-coming users, who are set to use it by next month.
It also features several private offices, an auditorium, and a now-empty space that will be developed into a gaming room.
An artistic highlight at the facility is a mural designed by artist Made Arya Dedok, featuring images of a postman, the coworking space, and the headquarter complex.
Though tech startups make up about 30 per cent of its tenants, EV Hive is generally open for young companies from all business sectors in its facilities.
It names logistics startup Shipper.id as one of the companies that are already using the new facility as its office.
It also aims to build a robust community of entrepreneurs and professionals from all walk of life. In addition to hosting startup events, it also hosts painting or Latin dance workshops to cater the wider audience.
The past is the future
Having announced a US$3.5 million funding round last year, at the present day EV Hive has operated up to 15 coworking spaces in Indonesia.
The company aims to grow the number to 29 locations by the end of the year. In November, it announced a merger with North Sumatra-based Clapham Collective, and is aiming to give more attention to cities outside of Jakarta.
“Cities outside of Jakarta can be quite overlooked. When we host events there … the thing that makes me feel very proud is that there are students coming up to thank us for organising such events,” Lau explains, citing the lack of access to investors and mentors in cities such as Medan.
“We are making a conscious effort to bring our coworking spaces and programmes to these cities,” he adds.
Regarding its partnership with Pos Indonesia, their facility at the headquarter will not be the last that the partnership is going to launch.
“The management of Pos Indonesia is very forward thinking; they wanted us to work with them to bring the younger crowd into the space. Going forward, we are going roll out [coworking spaces] across more locations,” Lau says.
In March, the company plans to launch a second facility at Gedung Filateli Jakarta, another heritage building with strong ties to the history of Indonesian postal service located at the same complex as the headquarter.
Built in 1912-1929 during the Dutch colonial era, Gedung Filateli Jakarta currently houses a postal service museum. The area is also well-known as a tourist attraction and a trade center for philately goods such as collectible postage stamps.
EV Hive’s new facility in the building will focus more on businesses and services working in the arts and culture sector.
Considering its status as a heritage site, EV Hive also had to be “extra careful” in designing the new facility.
“When you walk into the space, you can feel a sense of heritage, a sense of history. It’s quite a different demographic that we want to have there,” Lau says.