Berlin is taking a position to be one of the leading startup hubs in Europe. Now, it is probably already #2 after London. Berlin and London are very different places with different history. London is the most international, English-speaking finance center and has a lot of money and also many VCs. Berlin has a special history, being the divided city and the new Berlin started to emerge 20 years ago. It also has its special underground culture, which includes design, music and social enterprises. And Berlin’s cost level is lower than in many other cities in Europe.
Last week we spent some time in the in Berlin and met startups, investors, and companies that can help startups. Berlin Partner makes it important work to develop the startup ecosystem in Berlin by helping startups to set up functions, in finding investors and also attracting investors to the city. They have many practical programs for startups and entrepreneurs to move, find facilities, get the first funding and handle practical paper work. There are also co-working places in Berlin, e.g. Betahaus.
The advertising agency BBDO, which also cooperates with Grow VC, is an example of larger companies that also want to develop models to work with startups. They are working with models to support startups and also models to be more relevant for small and medium size growth companies. An important part of the startup ecosystem is that it is a combination of many components. Not only is it comprised of startups and investors, but also many other services, partners and customers. We don’t really believe in Silicon Valley copycat models; we believe more in Global Virtual Silicon Valley concepts and for different places to build their own unique concepts.
Due to its history Berlin doesn’t have similar ecosystem of larger companies than many other cities in Europe and Germany. It means that many people have no safety corporate position and they are willing to create their own business. It also means lower cost level e.g. for offices and apartments. Berlin also attracts a lot of people, who belong to minorities, or represent alternative culture or mindset to create new. Berlin Fashion Week is one example, how Berlin is also taking a position in design and fashion business. Berlin is the home of many creative designers. Many people around Europe and the US are finding new opportunities by coming to work in this creatively dynamic culture.
Startup Commons is building its global network of partners, which helps startups to establish themselves worldwide, get help to find customers, partners, and investors literally around the world. We also want to develop cooperation with local hubs in the US, LATAM, Africa, Europe, India, SEAP and China to find a good home or branch locations for startups. That’s why we are keen to talk with all cities, companies and people who are willing to participate in our mission.
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