What's this: the first place in the world where you only pay for time and the treats+tea/coffee/drinks are for free. It rapidly became an international chain and created a market of more then a 1000 places around the world using the same format.
Story: In the summer 2011 I was fully absorbed in the Treehouse project. It was still many guests were gone for a vacation but still there were enough people to cover the rent. We were enjoying our cozy world. We were friends and everything was nice. But when the autumn has come we became overcrowded and it became obvious that we must expand. Sometimes there were up to 80 patrons trying to relax at our little 50 square meters mansard. Our personal record is 150 people on the event. One of our guests told me he has some savings and he'd like to open something similar with me. We began looking for a space. We went out to the street, walked for a minute and saw a sign "Rent". Decided to check it. We really liked the space - white brick wall, good ceiling, plenty of windows and 100 square meters. But the rent was five times higher! On the one hand, there are plenty people in the Treehouse and getting more, but from the other it was really scary to be responsible for such expenses. And my "partner" didn't have that money. Plus we would need to hire some people and other stuff would cost even more. But, despite those fears and questions we ventured to rent the space. It was still to find out how to get money and how should all thing work. Many thoughts whirled in my mind — make entrance fee, or ordinary menu, or monthly subscriptions etc. For few days I didn’t know what to do. At some point I realized that I have to decide something, so I went up to my room, sat by the table, took a paper and began to think. «At the treehouse people leave 50 roubles per hour in average. Treehouse is small but sometimes there are 100 people a day. If we would have two times more people, who would spend two hours, that must be cool. But how make them pay? Free donations would probably not work, because the project is to big, people won’t feel personal responsibility. Shall I take by an hour? But what if someone sat for 70 minutes? Should I divide it to 1 minute? Let it be 60 roubles per hour, then every minute would cost a rouble. A rouble a minute. Crazy». That’s how I came up with this idea (number one question people ask me). Later I devised to use old alarm clocks to count time people spend. I have found other investors. Within several days we have opened first in the world Ziferblat on Pokrovka. We only had money for one month of rent and we had to leave empty one room. If we wouldn’t make any profit within first month - we would close. Fortunately people started to come and pay. As soon as we collected enough money to buy a chair we would send someone to Ikea to buy it. Someone new comes and we tell - wait a second, we assemble this chair and you’d seat. Press began to write about us, we became crowded. Potential partners appeared from everywhere. In a month someone opened first copycat somewhere. Now there are more then 1000 of them and they are known as «аnticafe», pay-per-minute cafe, timecafe etc. Whipped up by competition and hype we opened 12 Ziferblats in first 10 months. The we had an idea to go abroad because we thought that this idea would work everywhere and someone would outrun us. I knew english a bit and we choose London because it’s closer than New-York. For first time in life I went there to open Ziferblat. It took us half a year. At first we were empty, but then I manages to write to an editor of Time Out London and we had a deal that he will write about us if I wouldn’t tell anyone else. In the first days of January 2014 article published and within few hours we had a queue to get in, people waited for 50 minutes. Through our little space passed more then 400 people a day. Everyday I was giving interviews to all world media. Now we have 15 Ziferblats in 5 countries. In the end of 2016 we’ve opened a country hotel Bolotov.Dacha where Ziferblat serves as a communal living room and creates cosiness not only to lodgers but to future citizens of Bolotov.Village the we are building nearby. I really think that this country-hotel model would spread around many beautiful places on earth and would be well known.
For the time of Ziferblat existence more then 400.000 people has been there. More then 10.000 events holded. More then 1000 people worked there. Huge amount of people found their friends and partners. Ziferblat played immense role in the lives of many.
What have I done: invented a concept, participated in the opening of the most of them, worked with the team, created methods of hospitality work, interior design, events, social networks, pr, expansion, franchise, opened it in UK, led the global team and many other things.