13. November 2012–
Google is the latest to jump on board with new Berlin tech hub The Factory – pledging €1million over three years, through its "Google for Entrepreneurs" scheme.
The yet-to-be-completed Factory is a 12,000 square metre property development on Rheinsberger Strasse in central Berlin, which aims to bring established companies and new startups together in a unique (to Berlin) work-play environment. Confirmed tenants include Berliners SoundCloud, 6Wunderkinder, Versus IO and Toast, as well as global web non-profit Mozilla.
The funds pledged by Google will be allocated through the Factory, and are earmarked for training, mentoring, events and other programmes to support startup development.
The Factory is backed by JMES Investments, an investor in several Berlin startups, in partnership with s+p Real Estate.
"Compared to London, we're still in kindergarten in Berlin."
In terms of contacts, reputation and funds, Google's support is a significant boost in The Factory's bid to help local startups grow to compete internationally. "Compared to London, we'll still in kindergarten in Berlin," JMES partner Simon Schaefer said today, pointing to the tendency for Berlin internet companies to exit at lower valuations to those in London. "We're just at the beginning of the innovation process."
He also claimed another point of difference for Berlin companies – they're less likely to be in it for the money than some international peers.
For Google too, the deal is more about goodwill than a direct bid to capitalise on talent in Berlin. The Factory will be enforcing a "no recruitment" policy on campus and Google will not be directly investing in startups supported by its funds.
While Google's pledge to The Factory is far behind its commitment to Google Campus in London, it's a sign of growing interest in Berlin. Other recent Google initiatives for German startups include Grunder Garage in partnership with Indiegogo.
Additional reporting by Michelle Kuepper.