"Making Your Way to Berlin as a Foreign Startup" by Anabel Homnack from Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator

Originally published on

StartupJuncture

 (09/07/2014). 

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Berlin, the next Silicon Valley? If you’ve been to the home of the world’s largest players in tech, you have felt the electricity of ideas permeating the air and the melting pot of cultures, making it the incubator of innovation that it is. If you’ve spent time in Berlin you have perhaps realized it is not too different in these regards.

Walking the Walk

Within the past couple years much time has been spent questioning whether the Startup scene in Berlin is just hype or the real deal. Although Berlin, is still budding in the tech world arguably ten years behind London and thirty years behind Silicon Valley - the competition to attract the next round of creative entrepreneurs and their business ideas, is perpetually growing. “I can’t compare Berlin to other hubs like London and New York because I have not spent enough time there but I do think Berlin has potential to be the number 1 hub for a number of reasons,” says Bernhard Hauser co-founder of Orat.io. “Living in Berlin is affordable and international. In regards to the start-up scene it has government support, major companies such as Google and Facebook are here and due to the lack of another industry there is full commitment to start-ups.”

Sunnyside of Struggle

Undoubtedly, Berlin has had its fair share of accusations as to why it just might not be the next successful home to the influx of start-ups – conservative German VCs, lack of developers, payments being more of a luxury than a give-in – the list goes on. These reasons make it understandable why many are hesitant to join this unique incubator of risk-takers.

Even though Berlin does have some hindrances, the city has grown accustomed to consistent change and has even grown to nurture it. Exactly this notion of acceptance is what will continue to make it a successful entrepreneurial hub. Considering that a new start-up is founded here almost every 20 minutes, the city has clearly adapted to the new ecosystem, pushing the start-up community to become the essence of Berlin.

Making the Move

So, for what reasons should young entrepreneurs pick up and move shop to Berlin? There has been a flurry of new accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces and academies, making it possible for Berlin to become Europe’s ultimate start-up hub. “When we had demo day at our first accelerator in Italy we were looking to improve development through another accelerator, preferably in Berlin because it has our market of creative consumers,” says Sergei Sokolov CTO of Stunn. “It is incredibly easy to relocate a start-up to Berlin because it is well established and if you have connections to networks like Axel Springer it is even easier.” The eccentric Berlin personality types, benefits of low-costs and networks to established companies, make the city an attractive prospect to multiply new businesses and intensify the start-up momentum.

Furthermore, due to the modern day ease of Internet services and increasing mobility of capital it is easier than ever for start–ups to relocate. The recipe for a successful company, however, is the ability to entice talented individuals, who are often enticed by culture filled, English speaking cities (insert Berlin). It truly is the international characters who thrive in an innovative, urban lifestyle that give wings to the young Berlin tech-community.

Turn the Tables

Although, doses of competitiveness create a healthy, motivated environment, maybe it’s time to change the perspective of one hubs benefit versus another’s. From London, to Stockholm, to Paris, to Berlin – in Europe alone, there are several great cities with their own individual strengths (and of course weaknesses). Rather than pit one city against another, maybe it is time to start looking at the way these hubs have made Europe as a whole become a greater international player, even within the past year.

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