26. October 2011–
Sure, VentureVillage makes no secret of being a full-blown Berlin passionate. Now, leaving aside all the personal enthusiasm, Berlin has gained significance in many ways and there are at least ten objective reasons which make Berlin the Silicon Valley of Europe.
Berlin is experiencing a boom in the digital and creative economy
Working in silence? No way. The sound of a sonorous clicking is buzzing through the Sankt Oberholz, accompanied by the humming of creativity, apparently coming from the concentrated faces of its guests. The restaurant at Rosenthaler Platz that is especially popular with internet enthusiasts might almost count as an Apple store, given that there are bitten apples sitting on almost every table. There are many locations in Berlin like Sankt Oberholz, places that invite people to network and indulge in creativity.
When walking towards the restaurant Sankt Oberholz across the busy Hackescher Markt, one is likely to run into internet entrepreneurs having their eyes fixed on their iPhones. The Groupons (www.groupon.com) and Team Europes (www.teameurope.net) of Berlin are seated here. And there really are a lot of them. Walking along the Torstrasse, you can read the address labels of companies like Plista (www.plista.com) or Tausendkind (www.tausendkind.de). Internet enthusiasts have the choice of whether to visit start-ups such as SponsorPay (www.sponsorpay.com) or Hiogi (www.hiogi.com) in the Ackerstraße, whether to meet up in the Soho House or to go to the Backfabrik to find the Samwer brothers’ incubator Rocket Internet (rocket-internet.com) or hipster start-ups such as Wooga (www.wooga.com) and DailyDeal (dailydeal.com). Not only the district of Mitte has a lot to offer: also Kreuzberg has developed into a lively start-up landscape, like around the coworking space of the Betahaus. Price-favourable districts like Wedding and Neukölln are just about to follow.
Hipster start-up companies such as Wooga, SoundCloud (soundcloud.com), Amen (getamen.com) and 6Wunderkinder (www.6wunderkinder.com) are giving evidence of an upward trend in Berlin just like investments from international backers such as Index Ventures (www.indexventures.com, invests in Amen, SoundCloud and NumberFour), Union Square Ventures (www.usv.com, invests in SoundCloud) or Accel Partners (www.accel.com, invests in Spreadshirt (www.spreadshirt.net) and ResearchGate (www.researchgate.net)). Berlin has long been named in the same breath as economic hotspots like London or New York and scores with a blend of affordable costs of living, lots of creativity and even more networking opportunities. Berlin has also been in the spotlight of the international press, following are only a few examples:
- CNBC on Berlin’s new techno beat
- Wired UK introduces Berlin
- New York Times considers Berlin a startup hub
- CCN’s view on "poor but sexy" Berlin
- The NextWeb enthuses over the app landscape of Berlin
But what is it that makes Berlin a creative hotspot? From tomorrow on, VentureVillage will be presenting its collection of ten reasons for Berlin being the Silicon Valley of Europe and looks forward to further suggestions from the readers.
Image credit: Flickr user jdn.