Berlin reacts (or, er, doesn’t) to Startup Genome’s #17 Ranking


Startup Genome’s ranking of the world’s top tech hubs this week created quite the buzz in Berlin, which placed the emerging startup hub at 17 globally, behind not only Tel Aviv and Paris, but also Santiago, Madrid, and…Seattle? It also revealed a number of interesting findings: that New York City has almost double the female founders of Silicon Valley and London, that the most popular revenue stream for all hubs is subscription (more popular than lead generation, virtual goods, or license fees), that the average age of founders is 33.5, that Silicon Valley’s ecosystem is currently 3-times bigger than New York City, 4.5-times bigger than London, and 12.5-times bigger than Berlin.

So how did Berlin founders take the news?

For one thing, the article only got two likes on Berlin Startups. Maybe a funny indicator, but a good way to gauge the disappointment. On TechCrunch’s comment feed below the published article, however, some members of the Berlin startup scene spoke up. Johann Quassowski (co-founder at wrote “I’m not really a big fan of the Berlin startup (hype), but 17th? Behind Paris, Madrid, Chicago and Santiago? Very questionable.”

Sebastian Feldmann (of the Berlin-based company suggested the poor ranking was due to Berlin’s emphasis on lifestyle:

“I think Berlin can do better but it’s on a good way. But still there are too many “livestyle entrepreneurs” who are just sipping beers at network gathering and never showing any progress in their startup. Besides this I think the whole “next SV” talk is bullshit. Berlin is different and needs to stay like this. Forget the American way and let’s do it the Berlin style.”

TechBerlin guessed it was the lack of funding. “I guess Availability of Capital” is still Berlin’s major “weak spot” in comparison to other startup ecosystems.” In a bit of a blow, Marketing & Biz Development Evangelista at Amen Candy Behunin, currently responsible for launching the Berlin-based company is New York City, issued a lengthy compliment to her newfound hub:

It is not only the opportunities that really make me appreciate the startup scene in New York, but also the support system of everyone in the community. “Startups helping startups vibe.” It is very collaborative and has an intimate networking feel, yet openly friendly and welcoming to aspiring new comers. There is more passion than competitiveness that makes people feel as if there is not only room to enter, but sustainable room to grow. I am amazed by the energy of New Yorkers, going out 6 nights a week to Meetups, working full-time in addition to side projects and managing to volunteer for organizations or events as part of your everyday lifestyle.

“Hey! Zurich didn’t even make it onto the list”

Voices from abroad also complained that their cities didn’t get enough attention (“Boston 18th place… really?” “Austin should definitely be higher” “Miami is on the rise!”) and others (like Singapore) cheered on the unexpected acknowledgement. Helsinki and Stockholm didn’t even make the pitch. Some Berlin outsiders also expressed curiosity at the hub’s #17 ranking. Witek Wacinski (of the University of Warwick) wrote: “I’m amazed at how high Sao Paulo, Moscow and Santiago are in comparison to Berlin and Warsaw. Seems counter-intuitive but perhaps I’m not close enough to the scene over there.”

Following the report, Berlin founder Lasse Clausen of, called into question its methodology. After sending us a written reaction, we agreed to publish it in its original form here.

What do you think of the ranking? Is it fair, unimportant, a breath of fresh air? Let us know. We really don’t want to just shrug this off.