The Iceland Ocean Cluster (IOC) started in 2012. In the beginning twelve companies had offices in the facilities but they are now over 70 companies of different sizes which represent most parts of the ocean value chain in Iceland from fisheries to seafood biotech companies. The companies are ranging from newly established branches that are taking their first steps to a branch of well-established companies. The building employs around 120 people from over 12 countries. The companies are in fish sales, fisheries technology, software development, design, biotechnology, cosmetics, consulting, research and various other things. The IOC is a community of these companies and a platform for them to create new value together. Recent study by the Iceland Ocean Cluster showed that over 70% of the companies in the Ocean Cluster have collaborated with another company in this facility.
The Ocean Cluster (OC) House is a place with different resources which are linked to the ocean; fishermen and seafood processing technicians, product designers, marketing and sales people, inventors, social media specialists, biochemists, marine biologists etc. The entrepreneurs use their relationship skills to observe these resources, exchange and test new ideas on them and try to form a coalition with those they see fit. The Cluster management has carefully selected the companies so that they represent a variety of knowledge and skills but still have a common thread. Also, the 70 companies which are in the cluster but do not have space in the OC House, form an extended network which the cluster management continuously seeks ways to network with startups and others in the OC House.
The OC house mission is to be a match maker for various parts ocean industries. Here, the coffee machines in the hub play a crucial role. So, as we learned from Google, they did not want each office in the same corridor to have their own coffee machine but rather use the coffee machines to connect people. The coffee machines themselves are magnets for interaction where members meet on either a professional as well as personal level. These machines are an amazingly important part of workspaces like the OC house. Instead of each office having its own coffee machine, we get people to connect through one or two nucleus around the house. It seems like a simple point, and it is, but it makes all the difference.
For example, the founder of a sea salt plant in the Vestfjords of Iceland was addressing his challenges regarding obtaining the sea salt from the ocean. There were some technical issues which had to be addressed. In the coffee room was a very successful founder of the high tech seafood processing company 3X who overheard the conversation and there was magic!. They started talking and after three weeks the problem was solved with help from 3X – actually no money transaction was made.