#1 and #2: Berlin has a Silicon Valley style ecosystem


A decent ecosystem and a big range of funding possibilities surely present very favourable starting conditions for any business. Today, VentureVillage introduces the initial two factors from ten – why and what makes Berlin the European start-up hotspot.


1) A highly developed web ecosystem

The ecosystem of a city presents a very important factor for the success of a business as it stands for contacts, know-how and capital. In an ecosystem that is well networked, contacts are much easier to establish, be it in order to acquire capital, to exchange experiences or to find employees. Especially investors, providing not only capital but also expertise in the fields of marketing, business models, internationalization and IT, are acting as catalysts for enterprises. “Smart money” has become a popular saying in the scene.

Good people often attract even more good people. Berlin, as the German capital, scores with an excellent ecosystem in itself. But beyond that, especially the Berlin districts of Mitte and Kreuzberg have a good deal of entrepreneurs to offer already, making it much easier to contact potential partners and knowledge brokers. Incubators like Rocket Internet (rocket-internet.com), Team Europe (www.teameurope.net), Springstar (www.springstar.com), Atlantic Ventures (atlanticventures.yolasite.com) or Found Fair Ventures (foundfair.de) enable young entrepreneurs to start off properly.

There are a lot of locations in Berlin enabling an exchange of knowledge. Be it the restaurants and clubs mentioned earlier, be it the various networking events and conferences (BerlinWebWeek provides a good overview of events) or in the many co-working spaces like the Betahaus (betahaus.de).

Berlin further makes it easy for entrepreneurs in terms of acquiring capital, as many investors already have the relevant experience and contacts able to open doors to other business angels or venture capitalists. Other factors of the Berlin ecosystem are its well-established educational base, favourable costs of living, service providers or subsidies.

2) Berlin and its affluent suburbs offer funding

The best capital for entrepreneurs is the one given for free. Especially Berlin offers plenty of ways of funding, for example by IBB (www.ibb.de), KfW (www.kfw.de) and others. When graduating from a Berlin university, ex-students usually find it easy to receive financing for their business ideas as almost every university has adequate offices supporting its scholars.

It is true that some of the available subsidies are not limited to the Berlin area alone, but the shorter the distances the better, particularly when it comes to getting feedback and knowledge of how to acquire these investments. In case the capital itself offers no funding, its suburbs with investors like Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg (www.fruehphasenfonds-brandenburg.de) might still do the favour.

Alongside with the government fundings, founders may apply to be awarded funds by the many business plan competitions. Berlin Partner may be a helpful site when searching for a variety of funding possibilities.

Image credit: Flickr user Nashville Corps.