TED’s startup tour gives historical insights into Berlin’s creative industry


Yesterday, the first TEDSalon Berlin took place to show how politics, science and technology can speed up innovation. To add to this event, Berlin Partners organized a startup tour through Berlin to give insights on startups and the city itself. The aim was to show attendees the change, development and connection from old, established businesses to new, innovative ideas.

width="516px;"Image: Some rights reserved by Peter Titz

After meeting at Admiralspalast, the groups went to ImmobilienScout24, one of the largest real estate portals in Germany. The company has an inhouse incubator called You Is Now, where the new round of startups just started in May.

“Our program shows how well established companies and startups can work together,” says Lennart Henning, Lab Manager at You Is Now.

Natascha Wegelin, Co-CEO of  NokNok24, a new service to find flatmates, partnered with ImmobilienScout. According to her, the biggest benefits of incubators is the knowledge. The money also helps, because startups can focus on developing the product instead of worrying how to pay rent. The network is important as well.

After watching CleanAgent, NokNok24, PopUpBerlin, GroupEstate and SorglosInternet pitch and have a Q&A, the group left for a tour through Berlin.

“left”]On a bus tour through many different areas of Berlin, the visitors heard many interesting details and facts about the city. With most of the people on the bus visiting Berlin for the first time, the tour guide explained how city first became the biggest industrial city in the late 19th/early 20th century. By now, however, Berlin is often mentioned as the city of innovation especially linked to the internet industry.

Going through different areas highlighted the different eras of Berlin. Each district (like “Mitte”, “Kreuzberg”, or “Prenzlauer Berg”,…) has its own little city center and culture. Many people living in Berlin identify more with the district they live in than with Berlin as a whole. This is because the districts are so different. As a result of the Greater Berlin Act in 1920 almost 100 years ago, many small and independent towns were put together and divided into 20 districts. Also, with the Berlin wall that divided the city into two parts, city centers got more decentralized.

Areas like Kreuzberg were a place for creatives, artists and innovators to work on their ideas without concerning themselves over business models. Wanting to give their employees access to that open and creative mindset, companies and startups slowly moved into that area.


People used to move to Berlin because it was affordable. This has changed in the past 3-5 years. Rents rose from €4/sqm to €10/sqm. While this still might sound cheap to startups when comparing rents to San Francisco or Paris, inhabitants of Berlin are not so amused.

Berlin was always a place with international people, which makes it the vibrant city that it is now. With this short round trip through Germany’s capital, TED attendees got great input before jumping into the first session to hear about more ideas worth spreading.