Insight into the
With contributions from Alexander
Kudlich, Ansgar Oberholz, Michael
Brehm, Mathias Döpfner, Carsten
Maschmeyer, Christian Reber,
Jan Beckers, Fabian Heilemann, Fabian
Siegel, Florian Heinemann, Ijad Madisch,
Jens Begemann, Klaus Hommels,
Lukasz Gadowski, Joel Kaczmarek
and 85 other great minds.
has the most
of all cities in Europe“
* Peter Thiel, Former CEO of PayPal, first investor of Facebook and partner of the venture capital firm, Founders Fund.
HUNDERT IS A PROJECT FROM
DAILY NEWS FROM THE BERLIN
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Klaus Wowereit has been the governing mayor of Berlin since 2001, and the
longest serving head of government in
office of any German state.
Hundert Continues as a Series!
We are very excited about the response that “Hundert – insight on the Online Capital Berlin” has received. Therefore, we
have decided to continue “Hundert” as a series. In the coming
year we will present new issues such as, “Hundert: Online
entrepreneurs speak about their biggest mistakes”, “Hundert:
Startups that you should know”, and “Hundert: Online marketing experts explain the way to web success”.
Every issue of the series “Hundert” is available free of charge,
both as print magazine as well as PDF download.
Governing Mayor of Berlin
People from all over the world come to Berlin to turn their ideas and
visions into reality. The lively startup and founder’s scene of Berlin
is greatly responsible for our city’s creativity, innovation, economic
development as well as international attraction.
In recent years, our Berlin startup metropolis’ digital industry has particularly made the biggest leap. More than 60,000 people are already
active in this field, and the future value of the industry has already
surpassed that of the construction industry. The impressive growth
figures are optimistic for the coming years as well. To ensure that this
trend continues and Berlin further proves to be one of the world‘s
leading locations, the Berlin Senate is continuously and effectively
improving the environment for startups and the digital industry.
The „Hundert“ 100 portrayed people are all representatives of this
development in Berlin. Whether as a founder, financer, investor or
networker, they all contribute to the upswing in the German capital.
They are the prominent faces of the startup metropolis Berlin. To all
of the readers of „Hundert“, I can only recommend that you try and do
the same. Berlin welcomes you – Start up in Berlin!
Simply register and receive every issue for free:
Founder & CEO
CEO & co-founder
CEO & founder
co-founder & CEO
Club Berlin e.V
Policy & Innovation
entrepreneur, consultant & Investor
Head of European
Founder & CEO
Béa & Oliver Beste
Masoud Kamali &
Hasso Plattner Ventures Management
CEO & co-founder
Editor At Large
Point Nine Capital
co-founder & CEO
Lucas von Cranach
CEO & founder
Head of Int Brand
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
founder & partner
owner and CEO
founder & CEO
Gauly | Dittrich |
van de Weyer
Founder & CEO
Axel Springer AG
Founder & CEO
Tim Dümichen /
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
Head of Moviepilot
CEO & Founder
Prof. of Entrepreneurship, Founder
founder & CEO
doo und e42
Economics, Technology and Research
Head of Technology
Agnes v. Matuschka
Director, Center of
Tech Open air
CEO Found Fair &
Project A Ventures
Senior Vice President
Table of Contents
Introducing the Federal Association of German Startups e.V
Impressions of Berlin (in Cooperation with EyeEm)
The Most Popular Cafés to Work From (in Cooperation with Yelp)
Overview of Berlin Co-Working-Spaces
Overview of Berlin Incubators
The Cloud: IT Launchpad for Startups (AWS)
Social Startups Berlin
Guest Article “The hipster thing is a bad joke!”
Berlin Startups That You Should Know
Working at Silicon Platz (T-Labs)
Groundhog Day with Pactas
The Hype is over (Sugarhigh’s Guest Article)
Fashion in Berlin (Superior Magazine’s Guest Article)
Scarosso; On the Way to Becoming a Multi-Channel Retailer
Events for Startups and Founders
Notes of Berlin
What Berliners don ́t say
Imprint and Contact
Without the help of all of our sponsors and supporters, this magazine would have never of been possible.
You may not believe us, but the fact that you have our magazine
“Hundert: insight about the online capital Berlin” in your hands, makes
us just as happy as you. A precise concept, three intensive months,
thousands of e-mails, and what has felt like hundreds of liters of coffee
are finally behind us. Above all, it was a time filled with positive meetings
with extraordinary people. That was the greatest.
Hundert is meant to be a sort of mosaic of opinions, capturing and
highlighting the booming hype about Berlin as THE online city. And who
better to compare and analyze the reality here better than the people who
live, experience and shape it daily?
We want to give our many thanks to all involved and thank you all for
your willingness to participate in this project. We hope that the finished
magazine does justice to all involved, and also conveys how much fun we
have had with this project.
Berlin is an incredible city to work and live in. Those of you, who did not
yet know this, will find impressive reasoning in this Magazine.
We hope you enjoy reading this!
Jan Thomas and Konstantin Iwanow
(Editors of the magazine, “Hundert” and the tech blog, berlinvalley.com)
Our main objective was to gather as many different opinions, insights
and views in order to understand the full picture. Therefore, we not only
spoke to successful entrepreneurs and active investors, but also
newcomers, media professionals as well as representatives of associations and organizations. As a result of one hundred subjective articles
a balanced, overall picture with hundreds of different personalities and
perspectives has emerged. To avoid any bias, the selected people of this
issue were not based on their importance, and the order in which they
appear has no relevance to any ranking system.
The contributors themselves have written the magazine text, and all
views and opinions reflect only those who have written them. We asked
contributors to please provide their interpretations on Berlin as an online
city, as we wanted to portray the existing opportunities offered for
founders and startups in Berlin. We wanted to avoid any glorification of
the city, therefore we explicitly expressed that advice and constructive
criticisms regarding the online city Berlin were also welcomed.
PS – If you have any questions of how you can support this ambitious project, please
visit www.the-hundert.com for a free download. We value all feedback, and would
appreciate any sharing of this through e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Please be sure to
tell all of your good friends and colleagues about this! Thank you in advance!
Even if the core team of “Hundert” consists of only two people, a project of this magnitude could never have been completed alone…especially in such a short
period of time. We would therefore like to thank the many supporters who have stood by our side for their help. Paul Bengelsdorf for his behind the scenes
work; Susanna Pozzi, Balázs Tarsoly and the team from Operation Butterfly for the great design and incredible cooperation; Andrea Peters, Nadja Pahl, Marcus
Börner, Thomas Letz, Philipp Hartmann, Jürgen Schepers, Nicolas Wittenborn, Matthias Pindter, Andreas Stammnitz, Ciarán O`Leary, Alexander Kölpin and
Sascha Schubert for the many great contacts, Christian Herzog, Uwe Gralapp, Melanie Bähr, Sina Kassler, Heike Herckelrath and Jutta Chouraqui from Berlin
For those of you with any questions regarding the many ads: We have
simply offered these ads as a present to those who have helped us with
the costs of “Hundert” along the way, and also proudly gave ads to
projects such as Wheelmap, in which we support from the bottom of
our hearts. Additionally, we were able to create valuable media
partnerships in order to increase the reach of this magazine. We ask
for your understanding in regards to how this process developed, and
without all involved, we could not offer this magazine to you for free.
Partner; Robin Haak for his help (we would have loved to have your article in the magazine!); Christoph Blumberg and the entire team from ´the European´ for
the hospitality (we really feel so comfortable); David Pelletier, who saved us from the worst; Özlem Buran for her reliability; Thomas Schneider for his technical
support; Ansgar Oberholz, Max Senger, Stefan Wolpers and Oliver and Béa Beste for their magnificent XL contributions; Christoph Raethke and Sugarhigh
for their remarkable guest article; the Team from EyeEm and Superior Mag for your great pictures; Joab Nist for his humorous article (Notes of Berlin / What
Berliners don’t say) Steffen Setzer and Manuela Wachs of Laserline for the great cooperation; the PR team from Rocket Internet and Team Europe for your
helpfulness; Maria Widelak for editing; the many assistants who put up with their manager (keyword ‘a sack full of fleas’); Gruenderszene, Deutsche Startups
and Netzwertig for your contributions of “24 Berlin Startups you Should Know”; Michaela Kagerer from Amazon Web Services; Cem Ergün-Müller from the
Telekom; Elisabeth Gressl and Susanne Krüger from Olswang; Tim Dümichen and Marius Sternberg from KRMG; Anne Seubert from Yelp and of course all of
the media partners, sponsors, startup events and advertisers. Last but not least, we would like to thank all hundred of the participants for their great
statements. It was a pleasure to work with you all. With such entrepreneurs, great success can happen in Berlin.
Do what you
gardener gaining new grounds
I have lived in Berlin permanently since 2008 and
established what is now my fourth successful online
company here: HitFox. Berlin makes this possible.
Building up a strong team is currently easier for young
entrepreneurs here than anywhere else. The division of
Germany meant that there was very little “business” in
Berlin, and consequently few jobs for highly qualified
workers. Following its reunification, Berlin became
extremely popular as a base for people from around the
globe. The access to a highly-qualified, international
workforce is therefore difficult to top. This is a fundamental advantage of Berlin as a location. Global
successes such as HitFox and SponsorPay now establish
Berlin-based companies on the international level. And
not only company founders find everything that they
need here. Everybody needs a place of work, and the
digital industry is one of the capital‘s most important
employers – with a growing tendency.
Major VCs are now focusing their searches on Berlin.
At the moment, Berlin is still “poor but sexy”, but thanks
to the many successful online companies, Berlin will
be “rich and sexy” in just 10 to 20 years‘ time. I look
forward to accompanying the city on its journey
towards achieving this.
When my parents come to visit, you are a scruffy mutt that rubs
up against strangers’ knees and prefers to do its business in well-lit,
When friends come to visit, you are transformed into a shaggy but
photogenic mongrel that spontaneously helps blind people across the
street while howling Bowie songs.
Unlike almost any other big city on earth, Berlin readily submits to
the eye of the beholder but never curries favor. Instead, Berlin feeds
on the illusion of authenticity, because a city of character, however
dubious, is a treasure in a globalized, standardized, plate-glass world.
Young entrepreneurs, set Berlin a good example: do what you believe
in, avoid conformity, forgive yourself for your crooked teeth,
and show them now and again.
Unless you‘re into pedigree dogs.
We can’t afford them here. Woof!
founder and managing director of HitFox Group
Tanja Haeusler is one of the founding team
members of re:publica, Europe’s biggest Internet
conference. Together with her husband Johnny
Haeusler, she also runs the Grimme award
winning blog Spreeblick, writes soothing books
Jan Beckers already built up two event companies
while studying. In Berlin, he was involved in the
successful launch of Gründerszene.de prior to
for parents anxious about the Internet and,
founding his own companies, Absolventa, Madvertise
after work, worries about the sorry state of Ber-
and Sponsorpay. In 2011, he launched the HitFox Group
lin‘s schools, to which their sons are subjected.
incubator. His company currently employs a
workforce of over 400 in Berlin. In June 2013, the
AppLift HitFox spinoff reported a round of
investment totaling 10 million euros.
founder and partner Lakestar
CEO, Axel Springer AG
I enjoy taking a stroll. While strolling through Berlin, one thing in
particular catches the eye: the city‘s inconsistent structure, both
architecturally and socioculturally. At times ugly, at others
beautiful, bourgeois, hip or avant-garde, but it is always colorful.
Berlin is the playground of a variety of different people and places.
In its recent history, the city has repeatedly been forced to reinvent
itself. As sad as the reasons may be, the resulting potential is huge.
Too much stability leads to sluggishness, too must wealth to laziness,
and too much supposed freedom to indifference. Berlin is different
in this and also exudes this.
Berlin is neither one thing nor another. It will always remain a
building site. This is also a good thing! For this causes it to attract
people who wish to build, to give their creativity free rein, to fill the
gaps. A Mecca for start-ups. Berlin is a melting pot of differences,
which is also why it is so very dynamic.
Hopefully, we will never achieve to fill the gap.
Dr. Mathias Döpfner has been with Axel Springer since 1998,
where he was initially the editor-in-chief of DIE WELT.
He became a member of the management board in July 2000
and CEO of Axel Springer AG in January 2002.
the city I
There are few cities in the world that I find as fascinating and
attractive as Berlin. It is rare to find such a colorful mixture of people
in one place. Many times in its history, Berlin has been a distinctively
young, hungry, creative and disruptive city. That is precisely what
makes Berlin stand out, not only as a capital city, but also as the
perfect ecosystem for the start-up, technology and media sectors.
For years, Berlin has registered a net influx of intelligent minds from
around the world. For this reason, Berlin is the city I find most
intriguing right now, followed by Stockholm, New York, San Francisco
and London. So, Berlin, if you show not just creativity and fun, but
also discipline and staying power, a great future lies ahead of you!
Klaus Hommels is among the most successful
Internet investors in Europe. He has invested
in businesses such as Skype, Xing, King.com,
Facebook and Spotify, among many others.
He is also the founder of and partner
in Lakestar. In 2013, Klaus Hommels was
ranked first among European investors
on the Forbes MIDAS list.
Mike Butcher is Editor At Large of TechCrunch.
managing director of Berlin Partner for Business and Technology
Mike has been named one of the most influential
Europe is famously known as the place where nothing much
happens. It‘s great when you want to see some history.
But Berlin is the newest city in Europe. And as such, it‘s been
re-making it‘s own history for at least the last 24 years (and
of course, longer). But in recent times it‘s become a city that
I liken to a Tabula Rasa – or a blank slate in Latin. Berlin
is not so much a city as a platform on which you can build
something. That‘s appropriate, because technology is all about
platforms. Here, you have a city where pretty much anything
is possible. And in a continent where so much has happened
already, is nice to start making some new history together.
people in technology by Wired magazine and is
a regular tech commentator for the CNBC and
Bloomberg. He is also co-founder of TechHub.com,
Coadec.com and is an adviser to the Mayor
of London on digital.
Editor At Large, TechCrunch
Copyright: Berlin Partner for Business and Technology / Christian Kielmann
Melanie Bähr knows her subject. In 2006 she founded her
own management consultancy in Bulgaria, which she ran
for five years as managing partner. Today she works as
the managing director of Berlin Partner for Business and
Berlin is the start-up capital of Germany. A company is founded
here every 12 minutes. This puts Berlin considerably above the
national average. The experts agree: Development in the digital
industry is particularly lively. Start-ups provide jobs and bring
international capital into the city. Hasso Plattner and Bill Gates
are leading examples of this.
Berlin’s entrepreneurs are highly qualified, open-minded and
driven to shape the way we will live tomorrow. They come from
all over the world. Our city is also educating its own next
generation, and we currently see number such as 15,000
students enrolled in courses linked to the IT and digital sectors.
When it comes to investing in business and technology, tech
start-ups meet people who speak their language and can give
them active support. We know Berlin and open up our
scientific and economic networks to support future projects.
Technology. The Public Private Partnership, backed by the
Senate and over 200 businesses, is responsible for
promoting investment and technology in the city.
Driven to shape
the way we will
Olswang means more than law.
We mean business.
CEO of AKM3
„ A young and dynamic team of lawyers with a unique
mix of optimism only found in start-ups combined
with decades of experience and industry knowledge
that help deliver ‘magic circle’-level advice.“
Kanzleien in Deutschland
Olswang Germany LLP
Working with online marketing and startups is what I am passionate
about! Where better to succeed than in Berlin? It is here, in this
spontaneous, inspirational metropolis that Internet and online
marketing are thriving, especially within the startup community. This
is felt here more than most other cities, and of course the reason why
I made the move from Cologne to Berlin. In my opinion, the online
scene in Berlin has an incredible future, as seen with its rapid growth
in the last 10 years. What is particularly great about Berlin? So many
brilliant people from almost every industry surround you! It is not
easy to name any other European or global city that have so much
talent and damn good online marketers working so closely together.
Additionally, Berlin offers top networking and further training events
right outside your front door, as well as the benefit of having Internet
companies, agencies and startups all encompassed into a close
proximity. As a result, networking, knowledge and experiences
can be casually shared during your lunch or work breaks.
Since 1998, Andre Alpar has been an online
marketing (SEO focus) entrepreneur and consultant.
He has successfully founded several companies
and is a diversified, active Business Angel. Most
recently he was a strategic consultant at Rocket
Internet GmbH. He is the CEO of AKM3 GmbH and CMO
of the online cigar retailer, Noblego.de. In addition,
he has organized the annual online marketing
conference OMCap since 2010.
Berlin · Brussels · London · Madrid · Munich · Paris · Singapore · Thames Valley
Introducing the Federal
Association of German
(Der Bundesverband Deutsche Startups E.V.)
“Startups need a clear voice in politics and society.
That voice is BVDS, and that is why we are members.”
Dr. Tom Kirschbaum, waymate
“BVDS networks founders with each other,
giving us a lobby for business needs.”
Christian Miele, TodayTickets
“The Association represents the interests of the startup industry
and is the voice of young entrepreneurs.”
Franziska v. Hardenberg, Bloomy Days
“agility of startups alone is not enough to be successful in the long term, nor to compete against
established companies – The association gives us an uncomplicated representation that
is in our interest, as well as a platform to communicate on a high level”
Andreas Richter, plista GmbH
As the representative and voice for startups in Germany, we
are committed to a founder friendly Germany. With opening
political dialogue, we develop proposals that support
entrepreneurship, and reduce barriers for business startups.
We promote innovative entrepreneurship and support the
startup mentality in society. As a network, we connect
founders, startups and their friends together.
PUBLIC RELATIONS: With events, we support a positive image
of startups in society. Through studies, we emphasize the
importance of startups in Germany.
POLITICS: With a functioning ecosystem for startups in mind,
we work out company founding political positions
and represent them in relation to politics.
NETWORK: Our primary focus is the establishment
and networking of regional startup initiative in the Federal
Republic. At the same time we enjoy making it a priority
to work with industry associations, major institutions
as well as established companies.
Founded in Berlin in autumn of 2012, the Startup Association
has more than 200 members. Founders volunteer, interact
and are involved with the association in 8 states.
10 topics are included in the political agenda of the BVDS that
were developed in workshops with more than 100 new
entrepreneurs. The first results were seen when the Startup
Association prevented the “Anti-Angel-Law” from passing,
and continue to gain momentum.
Highlights also include events from and with the BVDS. Politics
also play a big roll here. Whether Angela Merkel, Philipp Rösler
or Gesche Jost, there has never before been so many meetings
between top politicians and startups. This year, 100 entrepreneurs were given the chance to attend German Valley Week;
something they will never forget. The intensive week in the Bay
Area was offered to preferred members of the association as well
as non-members, and allowed the founders to meet with the likes
of Peter Thiel, Marc Andreesen and Andy von Bechtolsheim.
“If you want to change something then you have to get involved! I do this with the Bundesverband
German startups because I am convinced that our country, along with the whole of Europe needs
to become founder friendly. That’s why we’re working on it.”
Christian Vollmann, Business Angel
“The association has the duty to be the voice and catalyst to support the interests of the scene, help
remove obstacles out of the way, to push the digital scene as a center of innovation, and pave the way for
an entrepreneur-friendly Germany. Through membership with the Startup Association,
GameGenetics would like to help strengthen the founder’s thought and promote innovation in Germany.”
Alexander Piutti, GameGenetics
By systematically integrating staff participation and taking a flexible
approach to the dreams of their employees, these entrepreneurs
have the potential to tap previously undreamed of depths
of motivation and productivity.
Berlin’s financial service providers have a greater ability than
Frankfurt with its established institutions to develop a focus on
transformative innovation, and particularly on the provision
of venture capital and promoting start-ups in the financial sector.
In this way, Berlin could in future be seen as the precursor to a
reformed and integrated financial & economic location that
sees start-ups as an emerging SME sector.
Berlin is practiced at tearing down walls. Becoming the first German
city to make the transformation from an administration ruled by
paper and opening times to one that is open, that welcomes the net
as the operating system of society with open arms and can thus
offer a single source for online services for everything from
start-up enterprises to neighborhood development.
In the same spirit, Berliners understand and maintain the data
that represent their digital lives as their private property. They
respect and use their digital environment to support, on the one
hand, democratic decisions based on solid empirical data, and on
the other to make their voice heard with the help of egalitarian
access to digital resources. By applying a sophisticated “reputation
management” practice, they transfer such principles as tolerance for
extravagances and different lifestyles from the analog neighborhood
community to the networked “global village.”
Dr. Max Senges has been with Google in Berlin since 2009.
In 2012 he became the Internet Policy and Innovation
Manager. As a link to science, entrepreneurs and civil
society, Max works with the areas of Internet
Governance, Innovation and Technology Philosophy.
Prior to Google, he was active in academic,
governmental and private organizations
in the areas of knowledge management,
E-learning and IT governance.
Manager Internet Policy & Innovation, Google
Berlin is a myth. New York, London, Paris, Rome – capital cities
develop a collective hallucination. They symbolize the 24/7 world,
home to such political and cultural phenomena as punk and
#Occupy. They reflect the soul of a nation and represent its
history and contemporary spirit.
For me, Berlin is the most fascinating city in Germany. It is the
German city that can best be unlocked through its diversity, through
the symbolic “&.” Berlin has no center, no one branch of industry
dominates here. It is East & West, corner pubs & cosmopolitan flair,
hipsters & dyed-in-the-wool locals, incomers from Swabia
& Hamburg, the Philharmonic & the Panorama Bar, home
to squatters & the Chancellor. Berlin is big enough for everyone.
Berlin is big enough for every dream.
While Paris and New York have already made their mark, we are
still largely free to create our own fairytale. On the last weekend in
August, 34 forward thinkers from start-ups, SMEs and Dax-listed
companies as well as the fields of culture and science came together
at the invitation of Google, the Deutsche Bank and Shell, in
cooperation with the Start-Up Campus Factory, at whose site the
event took place. They debated and developed a charter setting out
Germany‘s strongest opportunities for economic & social progress.
For me, this charter reads like the dream of a Berlin which,
in realizing the opportunities of the new digital millennium,
serves as both a carthorse and role model to the rest of the nation.
Being an entrepreneur is sexy: start-ups and courageous
entrepreneurs, who take their chances and tackle the upheaval
of our changing times head on.
Similarly, an integrated and synergetic infrastructure for data, energy
and mobility is fundamental to this Berlin dream.
Thus Berlin could take the lead in the energy revolution, sparking a
chain reaction in the entire region.
Berlin can consolidate its attractiveness to artists and other producers
of informational commodities by developing contemporary monetization
models for the digital and thus effect in practice a genuine reform of
the Magna Carta of the information society: copyright and patent law.
Somewhat along the lines that “the new system only works in practice
and not in theory“ (adapted from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia).
When science and business are interlinked, monitored and promoted
by politics and authorities, we can take an assembly line approach to
innovations and start-ups on the one hand, while, on the other hand,
an open educational infrastructure can be created that will make
the educational opportunities available to kindergartens, retirement
homes or naturalization programs more fun and more relevant.
Discussing the Berlin of our dreams, the heroes of our age, will help us
to form our collective aims and thus to drive on the implementation of
this social & economic movement.
BERLIN IS EAST AND WEST,
NEIGHBORHOOD PUB AND
COSMOPOLITAN, HIPSTER AND
‚ICKE‘, FLOODED WITH PEOPLE
FROM SWABIA AND HAMBURG,
PHILHARMONIC HALL AND
PANORAMA BAR, SQUATTERS
AND THE CHANCELLOR‘S HOME
at the heart of
Aydogan Ali Schosswald is publisher of The Kernel, an online
CEO, Tech Open Air
magazine, and founder of the Berlin-based platform hy!, which
brings together Europe‘s startups, media and the old economy.
In 2013 he was chosen among the NEXT 100 as one of the most
important heads of the digital industry in Europe and was
also named a „digital economic miracle“ by GQ Magazine .
I am a vegan, university dropout and entrepreneur. Where else
should I have gone, if not to Berlin? With its colorful, ever-changing
culture and its unique history, I consider the capital to be the perfect
sandbox for entrepreneurs and designers. All you need is a ticket
for the U8 subway to meet hundreds of people who are all trying to
make our lives easier, better and more exciting. Here there are
brilliant teams working to reinvent academic collaboration,
to develop quantified self technologies and financial services
for the 21st century, to democratize publishing, to personalize and
digitize education, and so much more. Then there are all the
international startups that come here to find investors. If we manage
to act as a catalyst for these developments by making capital and
resources accessible and by creating infrastructure, Berlin will be at
the heart of digitizing and rejuvenating the European economy.
and an almost
I have a love-hate relationship with Berlin. My first impression was
the most important, but it was not love at first sight. True, I moved to
Berlin in winter, which was, of course, a typical beginner‘s mistake.
A hefty pinch of masochism is needed for Berlin in winter (which feels
like nine months of the year). This is when the streets feel broad, gray
and empty. A sort of melancholy hangs over the city like the angels in
Wim Wenders‘ film „Wings of Desire“. After five years, Berlin and
I still have an on-off relationship. There have certainly been some hot
nights, but it is not (yet) a great love. Berlin is just not an easy place
and definitely not a pretty one, but the way in which it throws
(longed-for) light on its history and the sensitivities of its residents
makes it genuine. As my mother used to say, „it is what is inside that
matters“. Residents of Berlin have an almost absolute carte blanche in
the city. Tolerance and a nearly unlimited freedom of expression are
at the root of the creative energy which also drives our start-up scene.
Freedom, lived and learned, is an example to the rest of the world.
The last time I visited the USA, it almost seemed that „I loooove Berlin“
was the mantra of the Williamsburg/Portland generation. At such
times I cannot imagine another winter without Berlin!
Nikolas Woischnik is the founder of Ahoy! Berlin, TechBerlin,
and the Tech Open Air Berlin festival. Their purpose is to
create open platforms to facilitate an exchange between
various disciplines (technology, science, art and music) and
technologies. Nikolas also acts as an adviser to several
start-ups, gives lectures on the Berlin start-up ecosystem
and is a trustee of the Zeitbild foundation.
publisher of The Kernel and founder of hy! Berlin
Head of Moviepilot Germany
Ingke Weimert has been with moviepilot since 2009. She built up
the company’s sales business and ensured profitability before
taking charge of all German business (mp.de) in 2012 and helping
the management team to shape internationalization in the
USA. Ingke hails from Bonn, and previously worked for
ProSiebenSat.1 and NBC Universal Networks in Munich.
Moviepilot GmbH employs over 80 people in Berlin,
Los Angeles and London.
According to the 02/2013 issue of Business Punk on Moscow,
“In spring, snow still lies where the Russian Silicon Valley currently
is”. This brief description of the climate could also be applied to Berlin.
While there was no snow in our city in April 2013, it was certainly
bitterly cold at -17° Celsius. If it had snowed, the layer of white would
have remained and covered over spring. This is how it is in Berlin:
sometimes it is hard and cold, yet it is also giving and so very green
in the summer, with endlessly long, light-filled days, and purples and
oranges in the late summer and autumn. The colors allow winter to
be forgotten. Berlin has over 80 beach volleyball courts, which are
located at the very heart of the city. Berlin is sport – whether it be
volleyball, soccer, ice hockey, handball or basketball. There is every
type of sport imaginable – at the highest level or otherwise. They take
place in the midst of it all, everywhere. Berlin is Wowereit, up with the
times (he visited us in the Moviepilot offices in July 2013).
Berlin is Germany’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and the premieres
shown at the Sony Center are more impressive than those shown on
Hollywood Boulevard. Berlin has “creative garbage heaps” or little
men, who feature on the street signs simply because. Berlin is colorful
and the people creative and full of passion. Berlin is “entrepreneurial”
and the people ardent entrepreneurs, which is why it is possible to
grow here. Both economically and personally, alongside others.
Things and companies can exist and occur here simply because
everyone somehow wants them to, and this makes Berlin the
“world’s sexiest city”. We wish you a wonderful time in Berlin!
Berlin is really the perfect city to start a tech company. It is creative,
international, youthful, innovative and vibrant (there is always
something on from music and theatre to art and design). Additionally,
it possesses incredible high living standards while still remaining
one of the most affordable cities on the planet.
An entrepreneur with a passion for technology and
productivity, Christian Reber is the Founder and
CEO of Berlin based 6Wunderkinder. As the creator
of the much loved to-do list, Wunderlist,
Christian is responsible for creating a global success.
Wunderlist has been downloaded by more than 10
Here you get the feeling that anything is possible; and it is. As such, we
are seeing the rise of a new generation of entrepreneurs based in Berlin.
They are disrupters focused on providing a truly creative and unique
product that is capturing the attention of international markets. And for
all the right reasons! While we still have some way to go, I can happily
say that I am now seeing much more technical innovation and a move
towards smarter solutions that enrich the users life than a few years ago.
It’s often been said that Berlin itself is a startup and well, I truly believe
that we are on the verge of something really special here.
million people across the world, boasts more than five
million registered users, and has been named Apple’s
“App Of The Week” in 104 countries.
Founder and CEO, 6Wunderkinder
Lukasz Gadowski is Partner at Team Europe, an internet
entrepreneur and an investor. Lukasz founded spreadshirt,
When I founded Spreadshirt in 2002, the German internet
landscape was in a kind of post-apocalyptic state of shock. The
tech-heavy Neuer Markt stockmarket had just crashed and the
dot.com bubble burst, destroying millions worth of assets. Even
after eleven years of reunification, Berlin was still not at all close
to being thought of as the „place to be“ for start-ups in Germany.
When I moved to Berlin in 2006 the startup scene was very
small – everyone knew everybody and people supported each
other. But there has been fast growth in recent years, with no
end in sight. Unfortunately I no longer have the time to really
stay on top of what is going on with all the exciting start-ups,
accelerator programs and incubators. However, what I have
seen over the last few years is that a strong foundation has
been created in Berlin through hard work. Naturally there
are overrated and underrated companies, some of which are
successful after ten years and some of which were simply
declared successful right after founding. But starting a business
is like climbing stairs: some take one step at a time, some two
steps, and some run out of breath. The most important thing is to
keep steadily progressing. And in Berlin that is what will happen.
was a founding investor of brands4friends and studiVZ, and
is involved in several internet startups as a business angel.
Lukasz has received numerous awards for his entrepreneurial
achievements. He is also on the Advisory Board of the digital
economy startup organization Junge Digitale Wirtschaft.
Partner, Team Europe
A strong foundation
For more than five years media.net has
supported start-ups. As a cross-sectoral
business association we connect people,
the media and their ambitions. Our program
media.net:catapult helps young companies
to catapult themselves towards success.
Our Investors’ Dinner is a culinary idea that
pays off. Why? We want to increase chan-
ces, support with exciting contacts, accompany visions, create sustainable jobs and
strengthen Berlin-Brandenburg even more.
co-founder and partner Point Nine Capital
Berlin, you are simply wonderful because…
Head of International Brand Communications, Etsy
… you are young;
… you have had a turbulent history;
I‘ve lived in Berlin since 2001. I originally planned
to move to Berlin for 2 years, however plans change,
which is a lot like Berlin. The thing you can always
depend upon in Berlin is change – constantly shifting
and expanding to make the most of new cultural and
technological undercurrents from around the world.
Anyone who tells you it was better before hasn‘t
been here long enough or doesn’t like change.
If you don’t know of anything fun or interesting
going on, you’re not looking hard enough! The
creative energy and relaxed but determined Berlin
attitude which transforms empty factories into
dance-clubs, co-working spaces or installations
made it an ideal space for Etsy to open their first
European office in 2010. It’s simple to hire
creative, passionate people who are attracted to
the high-standard of living here. Indeed, it’s what’s
kept me here far longer than I had ever anticipated
and what’s turned Berlin into my home.
… you are international, increasingly so, yet your own character
is strengthened and not lost;
… you have a huge, almost magical, appeal that goes far beyond
… you attract talented, well-educated people from across Europe
and inspire them to realize their lifelong dreams in Berlin;
… you gave birth to a vibrant tech start-up scene that provides an
important economic mainstay and high growth potential for Berlin;
… you make and give us all space to develop and be true to ourselves;
… you are the gateway to Eastern Europe and enable me to stay
reasonably close to my family and friends in Poland;
… you enjoyed being “poor but sexy,” but where there is spirit, money
will always follow. Thus you will always continue to develop.
Berlin, I wish…
… that you will never lose your character;
… that the seed being planted will enable you to grow so strong
economically that you can compete with other global capitals, and
that you will not become a second “Silicon Valley”, but the first real
… that you will be able to offer a future to the people who come
to fulfill their dreams and inspire them to stay;
… and above all, that we will continue to have a lot of fun together!
Caroline Drucker heads the international brand communi-
There is only
one constant in
cations at Etsy. Previously, she was a Product Manager and
Partner Marketing Manager at SoundCloud, the world‘s
Pawel is co-founder of and partner at Point Nine Capital.
leading platform for sound and music. Caroline also has
Before setting up Point Nine Capital in 2011, Pawel was the
extensive experience in media and publishing: She played
co-founder of and partner at Team Europe, where he was
a major role in the German market launch of VICE
responsible for heading up the European investment team.
Magazine, led the business development of the DUMMY
Before that, he was an associate of the US investment bank
magazine, and developed the digital strategy for the
Greenhill & Co. in Frankfurt and London. Pawel has a degree
re-launch of Der Freitag, a left-liberal weekly.
Caroline studied German and urban development at Bryn
Mawr College in the United States and graduated magna
cum laude. The Canadian currently lives in Berlin.
from the School of Management in Leipzig (HHL). Originally
from Poland, he speaks fluent English, German and Polish and
a little Russian. Pawel writes a blog on which you can read
I wish that Berlin and
I will have a lot more
more about his thoughts and opinions.
founder and managing director, Sociomantic Labs
15 Years of Global Technology Investment Banking
made in Germany
Professional Corporate Finance Advisory from A-Z Around the Globe
WAS ONE OF OUR
Investment of up to
other investors included
Adviser to Albumprinter Beheer B.V. and its Shareholders
Adviser to Founders and Minority Shareholders
of Private Sale GmbH
Adviser to Cerbomed GmbH
Adviser to the Shareholders of DailyDeal GmbH
Adviser to Ensogo Inc. and its Shareholders
CFP BioConnect AG
Adviser to For-side.com
Adviser to Nextag, Inc.
Adviser to the Shareholders of hotel.de AG
Adviser to the Shareholders of intelliAd Media GmbH
Adviser to Jamba! AG
Adviser to kaufDA and its Shareholders
Adviser to yd. yourdelivery GmbH
Exclusive Adviser to Privatesportsale GmbH
Exclusive Adviser to the Founder and
Majority Shareholder of nikoma
Adviser to OfferMobi
Investor in intelliAd Media GmbH
Thomas Brandhoff co-founded Sociomantic Labs in 2009.
As Managing Director, he heads the company’s commercial
and organizational development. He helped the
company grow without external investments from
a team of three founders to a global company with 150
employees in 14 offices. Prior to Sociomantic, Thomas was
the Global Industry Manager at zanox. He holds a degree
from the University of Hertfordshire England.
3,000 Euro, one big idea and the raw energy of Berlin were all that
we had when we founded Sociomantic Labs in 2009. Choosing
Berlin was one of our most fundamental business decisions that set
the stage for everything to follow. The city simply has it all: the zest
to attract inspiring and inspired people from all over the world,
the charm and quality of living to retain them, an advanced
technological infrastructure, and the benefits of a well-connected
capital in the heart of Europe. My co-founders and I have always
believed in the power of diversity when breeding innovation.
The bustling mix of cultures in Berlin has enabled us to hire the
most talented people from all over the world to build a daring team
with ambitions that go above and beyond all our expectations –
and all geographic borders, too. Today we are a growing team of
more than 150 persons of 28 nationalities spanning 14 offices in
12 countries — a dream made reality, thanks in large part to Berlin.
Investor in intelliAd Media GmbH
conditions not disclosed
Senior Facility Agreement
Mezzanine Capital Financing
Adviser to PrimaCom AG
Adviser to the shareholders of Qype GmbH
Adviser to redcoon GmbH and its Shareholders
Exclusive Adviser to SYSGO AG and its Shareholders
Exclusive Adviser to Trademob GmbH
This could be
Sale of 25.1%
EUR 214,900,000 + earn-out payment
to a consortium of
Adviser to visionapp AG and its Shareholders
Adviser to WebMedia GmbH and the Ebner Group
Adviser to the Shareholders of zanox.de AG
Adviser to Cinco Capital GmbH
Exclusive Corporate Finance Adviser
Frankfurt • Berlin • Vienna • Budapest • San Francisco • New York • Tokyo • Shanghai • Beijing
Corporate Finance Partners | Kennedyallee 70a | 60596 Frankfurt | Germany | Phone: +49 (69) 90 74 76 10 | Fax: +49 (69) 90 74 76 70 | www.cfpartners.com
CEO, YOC AG
for exciting and
The hype surrounding Berlin almost scares me. A great deal is
written; everything is cool, creative and cheap. A great deal has been
started, but virtually nothing is really big yet. After three and
a half years in New York and two years in Berlin, I have come to
think that the fundamental reason for this is that it is cheap. There
are of course creative minds for whom ideas are more important than
money, however most software developers like to have money
coming in every month. A great deal of potential is therefore lost.
In Berlin, you can rapidly get involved in a start-up with little money
and high percentages. In New York, you pay twice as much and have
fewer shares as an investor. This means more money for the company
founders, who then have more money for trial and error. I believe
this is lacking in Berlin. Even people with great ideas make mistakes
and they ought to have the opportunity to do so. This simply is not
possible with the money we investors provide Berlin-based company
founders with. If we solve this problem, I believe that Berlin will then
be only sexy – and no longer poor.
Dirk Freytag has lived in Berlin since 2011
and is currently investing in nine different
After studying at the University of St. Gallen and
start-ups. Two of these are in the US, one is in
a position at a Munich management consultancy,
Israel and four are in Berlin. After selling
ADTECH to AOL, he spent 3 and a half years
living in New York and held various
positions at AOL.
Oliver Borrmann relocated to Berlin in 1992 where
he founded bmp. Initially begun as a consulting firm,
bmp switched its focus to venture capital in 1997.
It has since financed many successful Berlin businesses
including aap, Jerini, ivu, nugg.ad and Heliocentris.
CEO, bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG
Berlin is a colorful, cultural medley: relaxed and, despite its
burning social issues, safe, open and always surprisingly different.
This attracts creative and intellectual talent alike, and offers
a fertile breeding ground for exciting and internationally
competitive projects. It is a lot of fun to already have been an
active part of the Berlin venture capital scene for over 15 years,
during which I have made a total of over 30 investments in the
city, and built up economically sustainable businesses, some of
which employ hundreds of people. If Berlin maintains its
intellectual vigor, we will continue to see many more successful
start-ups in the city. However, we should not be too euphoric
because the venture capital infrastructure in Berlin bears little
comparison with that of London or Silicon Valley. And should
the economy falter again – as it does in Berlin from time
to time – investors will disappear very rapidly. Berlin has had
to live through that experience more than once.
the place to b
f o r t al e n t .
When will you arrive?
Job candidates are invited to visit www.talent-in-berlin.de
to find out about employment offers in Berlin.
Companies can use the site to advertise job openings.
The job portal is integrated into the city’s business
portal, the Business Location Center, which itself
offers a quick overview of important information
regarding living and working in Berlin and about
schools, cultural and recreational opportunities in the
German capital. The portal provides an ideal outlook
for job beginners, specialists and executive staff. Come
and find your dream job!
CEO and founder of Sparwelt.de
CEO Found Fair & Everpreneur
It is no coincidence that Berlin is Europe‘s Mecca for new
businesses: The German capital is ingenious and different. That
is the reason why I came here. Berlin offers ideal conditions for
originality, authenticity and creativity. To generate business success
from these qualities, you need the courage and self-confidence to
set something unique in motion. In a city like Berlin, with its lively
online scene where you can feel new ideas and projects coming to
life every second, believing in your own idea and your own project
is almost the most important thing. After all, I have to be able to
convince others of my ideas – over a beer, on a rostrum or on my
website. All these different options for making contact, and the
informality with which you meet people here, make Berlin
a very special place for me.
Daniel Engelbarts is the founder and CEO
of Sparwelt.de, one of Germany‘s leading
recommendation and advice portals for
online shopping and saving. Prior to this,
as the head of transactions at Axel Springer
AG, he was responsible for the product
management of Bild.de (including the Games,
Mobile, Shopping and Search areas).
Burckhardt bonello has founded 4 successful
startups as the CEO (myBet/QED, Novedia AG, sMEET,
Berlin has an inspiring environment for creative people who
want to achieve something. Although Berlin still has many clone
projects and lifestyle motivated founders, fortunately the city
still attracts more and more true visionary tech entrepreneurs
from all over Europe. Berlin is still enticing for those who have
the courage to be real game changers, such as FriendSurance and
SoundCloud who chose our city as where they feel comfortable.
In addition to a lack of 1 to 10 million of investment capital, Berlin
is also missing heavyweights such as Google and Facebook for a
healthy eco-system as well as local exit channels. Berlin needs
all of these things in order to become established, grow as a
sustainable global tech center against Silicon Valley, and to avoid
becoming a „melting pot“ for seed startups. Berlin not only has
the potential for it, but it is now the best city in Europe to start a
startup, and of course, last but not least, to party.
The future is exciting.
Univent) with up to 600 million in net revenue.
He studied technical computer science and
completed research as a PhD student and
lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin
and as a teaching assistant at Stanford University.
He is currently CEO of Found Fair, a Berlin company
builder focusing on a few disruptive models, and
CEO of a small seed fund. As a company builder,
he is the co-founder of successful game changers
such as FriendSurance (insurance at half price)
Returbo (eCommerce) as well as 3 other startups.
Berlin: I never
wanted to move
here, but now
I never want
CEO and Founder, Rebate Networks
the best is
yet to come
Everyone looks to Berlin: once the city of division, Berlin is now at
the center of Europe, and is closely linked with the world. Internet
start-ups have played a major role in this, and have helped the city
to rank alongside London as the start-up capital of Europe. The
benefits of Berlin as a location are as clear as ever: it is an exciting
city and offers a great quality of life. Thousands of good graduates
want to stay in Berlin, or move here, from practically every country
on earth. The price level continues to be competitive. Many
entrepreneurs have taken advantage of this to build up highly
successful firms . These start-ups have given rise to new generations
of young entrepreneurs and online specialists who now make up this
highly praised ecosystem. More recently, companies have started
to emerge out of Berlin which, although based in Berlin, generate
most of their revenue in other countries around the world.
At Rocket Internet we love Berlin too and we are building a largely
Berlin-centric company. Established in 2007, we are now the largest
internet incubator in the world. Our portfolio currently
encompasses 75 ventures in over 50 countries with more than
20,000 employees. We will remain faithful to Berlin and celebrate
the huge development of its internet sector. We are sure
of one thing: for Berlin, the best is yet to come.
Michael Brehm is a serial entrepreneur
and start-up investor with shares in
20+ start-ups. He is currently, among
other things, the founder and managing
director of Rebate Networks, which runs
Alexander Kudlich has been the
eCommerce firms around the world.
managing director of Rocket Internet
After graduation and a stint at a bank,
GmbH since 2011. Among his previous
he became managing director of the
positions, he worked for Axel Springer as
studiVZ Group which he built up to
assistant to the CEO and then for Zanox,
become one of the largest social
a company in Axel Springer’s portfolio.
networks in Europe before it was
Kudlich studied business at the University
bought by the Holtzbrinck publishing
of St. Gallen and has a master’s degree
group in early 2007. Since then he has
in philosophy from UCL London
co-founded numerous other firms.
and an executive MBA from ESMT.
Berlin was a city I never wanted to move to. Now it is the city I
never want to leave. It is contrasts like these that make this city so
uniquely exhilarating. In early 2006, when I first put my suitcase
down in an apartment on the Hackescher Markt, I was shocked by
how run-down our capital still was: there were semi-ruined houses
everywhere, daubed with fading, ancient graffiti. But if you just get
one step closer, that is precisely where you will see a lively bustle
of cafés with customers thronging around a few old wooden tables,
decorated with colorful wild flowers. It is a revelation: in this city,
beauty is created by people living out their dreams, on whatever
scale. Every street corner, every broken-down car can be
transformed overnight into a sales stand selling lactose-free
organic ice cream or the venue for a new tech start-up. Being
part of this transformation, witnessing people putting so much
love into getting something of their own off the ground, is what
makes Berlin unique for me: a city in which there is great
joy in seeing dreams come true every day.
managing director Rocket Internet
Coworking – Berlin
incubators – Berlin
Coworking spaces are an interesting alternative to traditional offices. Emerging as the result from
freelancers, young startups and creatives who no longer wanted to work at home alone or in cafes,
coworking spaces offer not only a cheap place to work, but also the opportunity to exchange valuable
experience in an environment with like-minded people. Through the various rental offers, you are sure
to find something suitable to your needs. You can rent a space, a desk or even an entire room for daily
or monthly rates. We are happy to take this opportunity to introduce Berlin Coworking Spaces to you
Instead all starting up alone with the hopes of finding an Angel or VC funding,
incubators provide support for potential founders or already founded startups. It is not
only about the capital, but also the startup experience, the technical know-how,
network and office space, which promises relief to the beginning of entrepreneurship.
Below we are pleased to present Berlin Incubators.
Nest Coworking Space
House of Clouds
Axel Springer Plug and Play
The Nest Coworking Space offers comfortable interior combined
with functionality and the charm of a traditional Berlin old building
apartment. A spiral staircase to the restaurant NEST on the ground
floor directly connects the office space. The space also provides a
beautiful view of the Görlitzer Park. Spread across 150sqm, three
spacious group rooms for 6-8 persons are offered, as well as a large
conference room for up to 20 people for creative development.
At our coworking space, we offer offices and fixed individual
workstations. A workplace for 168 € per month consists of a large
working desk with plenty of storage space, electricity, cleaning,
Wi-Fi and fair-use printing. Offices, individualized or fully
furnished, start at 298 € per month.
Axel Spring AG and the Plug and Play Tech Center, a leading startup
investor and accelerator from Silicon Valley, has established the
Axel Springer Plug and Play. The offer includes not only the
exchange of knowledge, but also office space as well as 25,000 €
of seed funding per startup. The program concludes with a “Demo
Day” in which teams present to a panel of international investors
in order to vie for further financing.
In May, 2012, Telekom opened its own incubator in Berlin called
hub:raum. The incubator is a support center for startups,
and the aim is to back young startups with new ideas for
telecommunications, Internet services as well as digital media.
All startups can receive seed funding in amounts up to 300,000
euros, are provided office space, and can draw on the expertise
of a high-caliber mentor pools.
Welance – space for professionals
Magic Cube – Berliner Brutkasten für lokale Preisvergleiche
A community of skilled experts ready to take on almost any
web-related challenge. We believe in our diverse team of
specialized professionals working within the Welance
co-working space. Get in touch and start your project now!
The Wostel is a place where freelancers work in a family
environment and can exchange thought and ideas. Through the
1930s - 1960s décor, a cozy and timeless vintage feel is created.
Startups like Amen and Capsule.fm as well as firms such as Nokia
and eBay have already used our coworking space.
Jan Dzulko and the founders of CHECK24 launched the Magic Cube
in 2012 with a focus on domestic price comparisons. From driving
schools to carsharing all the way through to gravestones, M Cube
and its subsidiaries seek out to provide clear price comparisons
order in non-transparent, local markets.
M Cube is located in Kreuzberg, and currently employs about
40 people in its six portfolio companies, and there is always
room for more.
Do you have the heart of the founder or already have a specific idea
for the price comparison market? Then apply at M Cube and become
part of a team with over 14 years of Internet excellence!
Rheingau Founders is a Berlin-based, professional co-founder with a
focus on digital business models. In addition to financial support for
the startup phase, Rheingau Founders actively helps its investments
with operational expertise and its international network, which can
be critical for the development of a sustainable enterprise, especially
in the first 12-18 months after laying the grounds of foundation. The
company was founded in 2011 by three partners, Philipp Hartmann,
Dr. Tobias Johann and Kai Hansen in Berlin, who, as experts in the
digital industry, previously founded Lieferando and madvertise.
other coworking spaces: Agora
Collective, www.agoracollective.org – Neukölln; Betahaus, www.betahaus.de – Kreuzberg; Club Office,
www.club-office.com – Wilmerdorf; co.up, www.co-up.de – Kreuzberg; creative|media|lab, www.creativemedialab.de – Mitte; Fireworks,
www.fireworkscoworking.wordpress.com – Wedding; Halle am Wasser, www.coworking-halleamwasser.com – Mitte, mobilesuite,
www.mobilesuite.de – Prenzlauer Berg; Puls Raum, www.pulsraum.de – Kreuzberg; raumstation, www.raumstation-berlin.net –
Moabit; St Oberholz, www.sanktoberholz.de – Mitte; Tante Renate, www.tanterenate.de – Kreuzberg; uberdesk, www.uberdesk.de –
Prenzlauer Berg; Webworker Berlin, www.webworker-berlin.com/coworking – Treptow; Weserland, www.weserland.net – Neukölln
other incubators: BeVation,
www.bevation.de – Mitte; Covus Ventures, www.covus.de – Mitte; Found Fair Ventures, foundfair.de –
Wedding; FoundersLink, www.founderslink.com – Prenzlauer Berg; HitFox Games Ventures, www.hitfox-ventures.com – Mitte;
MAS Angel Fund, angelfund.vc – Kreuzberg; Project A Venture, www.project-a.com – Mitte; Rocket Internet, www.rocket-internet.de –
Mitte; Springstar, www.springstar.com – Mitte; Team Europe – www.teameurope.ne – Mitte; YouIsNow, www.youisnow.de – Friedrichshain;
Epic Companies, www.epic-companies.com – Kreuzberg; garage berlin, www.garageberlin.de – Lichterfelde; K - New Media,
www.k-newmedia.de – Mitte; Möller Ventures, www.moeller-ventures.de – Wilmersdorf
CEO Vertical Media
The only city in
you don’t have
to speak German
Berlin’s entrepreneurial scene is like a wildfire. It’s happening
because of the DNA of the city. Nobody engineered this;
it’s happening in a 100% organic way. The main reason is that
it is one of the most inspiring urban English speaking
environments in the world, and this is where entrepreneurial
talent is migrating to in large flocks. Where talent goes
capital will follow. We are so optimistic due to the fact that
entrepreneurship is center stage in Berlin; it is defining the city.
CIARáN is the only Irish with a Bavarian accent.
He is most passionate about consumer web products,
dev platforms and building the Berlin tech ecosystem.
O’Leary is a Partner at Earlybird.
Partner of Earlybird
Mark has been the CEO of Vertical Media
since April of 2010. Previously, he was the
Editor in Chief of the games news site,
GameBizz. His previous positions included
work with various online and media
startups such as Turtle Entertainment,
GIGA Digital and SponsorPay, in which
he worked as a Manager’s Assistant,
TV Presenter and Editor in Chief.
When I came to Berlin four years ago, I had no expectations for the
German capital. Maybe this was just the right thing, because I have
seen many people who have succumbed to the pressures and the
possibilities of (night) life in Berlin.
For me, Berlin is the only city in Germany where you don’t have
to speak German. It is here where so many different worlds live so
closely together, separated merely by the zebra stripes in the roads.
This is the city in which you can celebrate as being the new star
with your first round of financing today, and tomorrow have to
walk with your head hung low to the Charlottenburg district court.
From the city facets, the potential of the people and the drive for
innovation, let us create what we want. Let us not be the next
Silicon Valley, but rather THE European capital for the European
digital scene. After all, if you want to be something, then you
should not be constantly comparing yourself to something else.
co-founder and CEO SoundCloud
Berlin is a city that immediately captured my attention
when I moved here six years ago. In 2007, Eric
Wahlforss (SoundCloud’s co-founder and CTO) and
I ventured into Berlin and were instantly struck by the
city’s air of optimism and determination. As Berlin is a
relatively cheap place to live and its population is young –
half of the population is under 45 – there is an infectious
youthful entrepreneurial atmosphere. We often refer
to it as ‘punk meets tech,’ to describe the alternative,
ambitious lifestyle of ‘going your own way’ that is still
very present in the city. In addition, Berlin is growing
all the time; I read somewhere that 1,300 start-ups have
been founded here since 2008. Given that there is a very
diverse pool of talent and a strong relationship between
technology and art, it’s a great place to find developers
and designers, and it made perfect sense for SoundCloud
to establish its headquarters here.
We’re proud to
call the German
Alexander Ljung launched SoundCloud in 2008 with
co-founder and CTO, Eric Wahlfross. As CEO, Alex is responsible
Alex’s personal interests lie in the positive change and wider
for SoundCloud’s vision, overall strategy and leadership,
societal impact technology and design can have. In his spare
and oversees a global team of over 200 people.
time, he enjoys listening, traveling, geeking out on academic
theories, diving shipwrecks and trying to not break his foot
SoundCloud is the world’s leading audio platform that
in South American coastal cities. He’s also a proud member
allows everyone to discover new, original music and audio,
of The Cloud Appreciation Society.
for creators to build audiences, and for everyone to share
what they hear, on the web or on mobile. Creators on
Prior to co-founding SoundCloud, Alex began his career
SoundCloud now post over 12 hours of music and audio every
working in sound design for feature films and obtained
minute, and the platform reaches over 200 million people.
a M.Sc. degree from The Royal Institute of Technology.
He was born in the UK, grew up in Sweden and splits his
Alex was named a “2012 Social Maverick” in February 2012 by
time between SoundCloud’s HQ in Berlin and the U.S.
DETAILS and through his leadership, SoundCloud was featured
office in San Francisco, California.
Modular. Flexible. Scalable.
as one of Fast Company’s “2012 Most Innovative Companies“
for giving the internet a voice.
Learn more about the universal furniture system from Berlin:
Béa and Oliver Beste
THE SECRET OF BERLIN‘S
WONDER OF FOUNDERS
IS THE UNIQUE
CULTURE THAT THE
PEOPLE OF BERLIN,
AND THE MEDIA HAVE
PRODUCED IN THE
SECOND DECADE OF
THE NEW MILLENNIUM.
Founders of Tollabox
Berlin 2020: triumph for the city’s people and politicians. Berlin has
the highest quality of life and one of the lowest unemployment rates
in Germany. People flock to Berlin from all over the world to work and
study. They also come to party. Berlin’s nightlife, clubs, tolerance and
liberality are legendary. The number of artists and musicians grows
from year to year. To experience Berlin is to want to stay. The number
of motivated young people is one of the drivers of the Berlin miracle.
Berliners recognized the economic effects of the club scene early on,
and skillfully encouraged them.
Berlin is the undisputed capital of the new wave of start-ups in
Europe. Berlin’s start-ups achieved striking success with their stock
market presence. Several of them have attained European and global
dominance. Money is flowing into Berlin from investors around the
world. The city has a magical attraction for start-ups and keen wouldbe entrepreneurs. Onlookers all over the world wonder how Berlin
has made the leap from Internet hype to becoming a sustainable
European megacity for start-ups.
Is it because Berlin has been a major city, but with affordable wage
levels? The well-educated young people? The fact that living costs
and rents were low in international terms? The farsighted subsidies
available to start-ups? The major German crowdfunding platforms
or the innovative funding programs open to angels? The fact that
Berlin’s authorities only needed one day to set up a limited liability
company, which could also be done electronically without having to
deal with government agencies and, if desired, in English? Or that
Berlin’s politicians worked together to set up an immigration program
for skilled labor from across the world, which bypassed the ominous
bottlenecks in the system at a stroke? All the formalities in English via
the Internet with no need to visit in person?
As important as these influences were, they could not in themselves
transform hype into a sustainable ecosystem. The experts have
agreed: the secret of Berlin’s start-up miracle is the unique entrepreneurial culture created by the people of Berlin, their politicians,
and the media in the second decade of the new millennium.
Entrepreneurship is taught in every college in Berlin, and from as
early as the 7th grade, there are annual business plan games. Highly
motivated teachers work alongside entrepreneurs who serve as
mentors. Students and teachers are competitive. Berlin’s professors
and researchers are respected and rewarded for setting up spin-offs.
Berliners, school children and pensioners alike, take entrepreneurs as
role models. There is no stigma in failure; instead it is seen as valuable
experience and an occupational hazard for courageous start-ups.
Outside Germany, there is envy for the support offered to Berlin’s
start-ups by its authorities, universities and politicians. Start-ups are
Béa Beste is an education entrepreneur, was born in Romania,
studied in Berlin at the University of the Arts, worked at in
SAT.1 and BCG, and founded the Phorms bilingual schools in 2005.
In 2011, after six years as the CEO, she traveled on an education
expedition throughout India, Australia, Indonesia and the
United States. She then founded TOLLABOX.de to encourage
learning through games for children ages 4 and up.
Her husband Oliver partners the project, using his
experience as a CEO in E-Commerce.
Oliver Beste studied politics, and was involved in finding
a solution to overcome the East-West conflict, in which
to his surprise became reality in 1989. After 4 years of‚
re-training‘ at McKinsey, he found that the world had
enough consultants and needed more entrepreneurs.
Oliver went to the „most exciting German City“ and
founded companies such as, but not limited to MYTOYS,
FOUNDERSLINK, DEAL UNITED, TALENTORY and RATEPAY. Oliver
is fascinated by Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Yunus‘ „Social
Business“ concept, and tried to encourage more and more
people (including women!) to found their own companies.
regularly featured in the press. These models and the atmosphere
of cooperation between start-ups and angels are infectious, and they
attract more and more would-be entrepreneurs to Berlin. There are
also more female start-ups in Berlin than anywhere else in Europe.
Founders of successful start-ups act as coaches and angels to foster
success in the next generation.
Berlin’s mayor makes headlines in 2020 with an appeal to the pupils
and students of Europe: “Do you want to see the future? Do you want
to learn more about yourselves, life and the economy than you can
anywhere else? Then come to the coolest city in Europe and take
up an internship in one of Berlin’s many international start-ups.”
entrepreneur, consultant and financial investor
Carsten Maschmeyer is a successful
entrepreneur, consultant and financial
Ijad Madisch is CEO and co-founder
investor. As such, he is continually in search
of ResearchGate, the professional
of promising business models. All consulting
network for scientists. The physician
activities, joint ventures and investments
established the company back in 2008
are united beneath the strategic umbrella
together with his friends Sören Hofmayer
of the Maschmeyer Group. Maschmeyer was
and Horst Fickenscher. Over three million
born in Bremen on May 8, 1959. Initially he
researchers now use the network to
studied medicine in Hanover, but worked
collaborate, exchange findings and
part-time in the sales department of
efficiently advance their research.
a financial consulting firm. From 1982, he
Investors include Benchmark,
devoted himself entirely to financial
the Founders Fund and Bill Gates.
consulting. Carsten Maschmeyer is father
of two sons and engaged to German
Silicon Valley or Berlin? The decision came easily to me. I lived
in the USA for a few years, gained experience there and met many
people – this is unlikely to have been such a success without the
ResearchGate. Despite this, I wanted to return home. In Berlin,
I found what I needed for our young company: creative, highlyqualified individuals from around the globe, who are eager to
achieve great things. This is the advantage over Silicon Valley,
where people capable of achieving something have often
already had their fill of success.
In contrast, Berlin is still fine-tuning its profile. The city‘s history
and art scene play an important role in this. Start-ups complement
this and drive the city‘s economy. This does not happen overnight
though. The frequently criticized “copycats” have created an
ecosystem of highly-qualified specialists, who now wish to work
creatively on entirely new ideas. These exact companies are
currently establishing themselves and will make Berlin the
European hub for start-ups. Perhaps we can then also be proud
of Berlin without calling ourselves “Silicon Allee”.
Carsten Ijad Madisch
actress, Veronica Ferres.
in Europe with
While I am not from Berlin, I certainly enjoy returning to the city
for a visit. Berlin is currently the trendiest metropolis in Europe,
with a pulsating creative scene in which young people from around
the globe come together. This is the ideal hotbed for innovative
start-ups. Time and time again I am astounded by what young
entrepreneurs come up with here, far from all convention, rigid
structures and career paths. At the same time, Berlin is Germany‘s
political center. For me, it is exactly this mix that makes the city so
very interesting. Unlike Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg, Berlin is
still searching for its own identity. After the Wende (the fall of the
Berlin Wall), the city had to rediscover itself entirely, and I do not
believe it is yet a real unit. However, it does not even need to be;
It is exactly these stark differences between the people and city
districts that explain the city‘s uniqueness. I firmly believe
that Berlin is the Silicon City of Europe.
CEO and co-founder of ResearchGate
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When we considered how we could better support
start-ups on media.net over five years ago, the optimism
in Berlin was clearly discernible. However, the hype
and dynamism that this city would experience in the
years that followed exceeded even our expectations.
As a media industry network, our underlying principle
was to bring the old and new economies closer together.
This mix of “young talent” and “old hands” was not new
to media.net. In line with the exponential growth
of the new media at the start of the 21st century,
the word ‘new’ originally also featured in the company
name at the time of its founding. With the end of
the Internet euphoria, companies of the old economy
also increasingly joined the association, and newmedia.
net became media.net berlinbrandenburg. Today, over
150 of the roughly 400 member companies are once
again start-ups, and our established formats, such
as the media.net:catapult and the Investors‘ Dinner,
show just how important networking is for both sides.
media.net’s history highlights the appeal of this city:
lively networks, a spirit of trial and error, versatility
and trend sensitivity. The new economic power
is a great opportunity for the city.
It is now up to us to make use of it.
Prof. of Entrepreneurship, Founder „Teekampagne”
In 1985, Günter Faltin initiated the
“Teekampagne” as an archetype for
the foundation of new enterprises.
The professor for entrepreneurship
is a business angel of various
startup companies including
“Ebuero”, “Direkt zur Kanzlerin”,
“ePortrait” and “Waschkampagne”.
16 years later, in 2001, he started
his own foundation, the “Stiftung
Entrepreneurship” and in 2009,
the Teekampagne received
the German Founder’s award
The German Federal President
recently awarded Günter Faltin
with the Federal Cross of Merit
for being a “pioneer of entrepreneurial mindset in Germany”.
Andrea Peters has worked in the media industry
for over 25 years. She became Managing Director
at media.net berlinbrandenburg e.V. on march
1st 2008. Under her leadership, the network
has developed into the capital region’s
largest creative network.
Crucial impulses and innovations arise from the encounter of ideas
from different cultures and disciplines. Diversity drives innovation.
In such an “idea space,” one creates the spark to ignite extraordinary
developments and ways of looking at things. This is called the “Medici
effect”. The Medici family supported and financed creative work across
the entire spectrum. Thanks to the climate they created in Florence,
sculptors, scientists, poets, philosophers, painters, financiers and
architects learned from each other and moved beyond the limits of
their own disciplines and cultures. They generated breakthroughs
and innovations that we still admire today. Cities like Berlin have long
enjoyed a scientific and cultural scene that does not lag behind that of
Renaissance Florence. The Medici built bridges, creating an atmosphere
in which there was an open invitation to “look over my shoulder”
rather than an anxious emphasis on differences: an idea space that –
due to the invention of the internet – constantly gains diversity.
These are perfect prerequisites for creative entrepreneurs, whom
we as a society, in respect of the problems that we face today, need
now more than ever. This is more than Silicon Valley can offer.
That’s Berlin and what it has to offer.