7. February 2012–
Why is Berlin attracting some of the best founders from around the world? Despite the attractive alternatives – the Valley, London, Tel Aviv? – it’s Berlin that more and more founders are going mad for. Why? It’s been discussed from many angles, but I’d like to boil it down to what I think are the 2 to 3 things we’re doing differently here in Berlin vs. other tech hubs around the globe.
Let’s start with an outside view first: I asked Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform at Twitter, about his view on Berlin after spending a couple of days here:
Interesting. Berlin reminds Ryan of “an early Valley!”
So, who are the international founders working here in Berlin?
You all know Alex and Eric of SoundCloud as a prominent example of international founders and there are many more: Caitlin from Amen, Schuyler from Moped, Tor of Loopcam, the Dekker brothers, Edial and Floriz from Gidsy, Henrik of Readmill & many more.
I have talked to most of them intensively about what attracted them to Berlin and I’m getting one clear message: Whereas Berlin is definitely cheaper than any other tech hub worth living in, that’s not what being emphasized. Cheap things are usually bad and I believe this to be an unsustainable value proposition. It’s something else – Berlin is attracting the best founders because it is so raw and creative. There is a critical mass of raw and creative people too. The city is yet to be claimed, you can shape it, change is our daily businesses here.
My first post made the point that whereas Berlin may be on track to becoming “the next Silicon Valley” of sorts, it needs to identify its own unique face, brand, and identity. Here’s what I’m seeing:
Urbanity, rawness and creativity.