One of the co-working spaces at Hypercube being used by a startup team in 2014
Hypercube Hub, a Zimbabwean technology hub that has acted as one of the centres for the local tech startup ecosystem will be closing its doors for good on New Year’s Eve.
In a communication sent out earlier today by Hypercube Hub, the team outlined local economic challenges and a failure to secure the funding necessary for the hub to continue its operations as the reason behind the closure. Part of the statement read,
The board of trustees has been tirelessly working around the clock for the past 11 months hoping for a different outcome. The truth is that Hypercube has been facing challenges for quite some time including, ensuring we had the right team to execute of our mandate, underestimating the turbulent Zimbabwe economy, implementing adequate policies and procedures, significant delays in the little income we were receiving to cover operational expenses, and adapting our business model quickly enough to reflect the realities of the Zimbabwe marketplace.
Hypercube Hub was formed in 2013 as a collaborative effort that brought together the United States State Department (through the US Embassy Harare), Indigo Trust and Hivos. $280,000 was secured for the hub through grant funding and it was officially opened in November 2013.
Since then, the Hub has acted as a co-working space and meeting point for several events and actvities in the Zimbabwean tech ecosystem that have included the Startup Weekend, TEDx Harare, Robofest, DEMO Africa pre-pitch events and Google Developer Group meetups. The hub also housed some local startups such as RoadRules.
At the start of 2015 Hypercube introduced a paid membership system that was meant to counter the effects of an unsustainable business model. However, this appears to have been inadequate to meet the needs of the hub.
The issue of practical business models for technology and innovation hubs has always been a topic for discussion both locally and beyond the Zimbabwe’s borders and hubs have had to come with strategies to meet the operational expectations in running their spaces.
With challenges being noted with the model used by cases like Hypercube Hub, it remains to be seen how the other workspaces, hubs and incubators in Zimbabwe adapt to certain realities.