The city of Berlin has long been a sanctum of creativity for some of the world’s most interesting minds. The German capital offers the perfect combination of contemporary cultural events and a rich history, all for a fair price. In recent years, Berlin’s dynamic energy has attracted a sea of foreigners, many of them looking to get a foot in the door of one of the city’s numerous successful startups.
Amongst Berlin’s many abandoned buildings, charming cafes and nightclubs are coworking spaces, which are quickly becoming inhabited with international entrepreneurs looking to get a taste of Berlin’s booming startup community. With over 100 established coworking spaces, ranging from small and intimate, to enormous warehouses, Berlin has quickly earned the title “startup capital of Europe”.
From Silicon Valley to Silicon Allee
Unless you’ve already landed a job at the famed Soundcloud, or ResearchGate, the biggest social network where scientists can connect and share academic papers, it can be tricky to navigate the sea of startups making waves throughout Berlin. With some big names under its belt, the seemingly endless opportunities can be dizzying, especially for newcomers.
One of the best ways to get your foot in the door of Silicon Allee is to start off by doing a bit of research. Sites like Startup jobs Berlin, or reading through one of the numerous publications dedicated to startup culture in Berlin, can be a helpful point in the right direction. Yet, like most freelancers and entrepreneurs already know, it is important to find a community base in order to start developing a strong network. Luckily, Berlin is brimming with hubs, incubators and coworking spaces, all catering to the growing community of innovators and creators.
Finding the Right Community
Berlin’s creative types are now forming a citywide network that is breeding innovation and inspiration. One of the best ways to tap into this community is to explore the city’s vibrant coworking scene. At the heart of the buzzing Kreuzberg district is the Betahaus coworking space, an ideal location for those who are looking to dive right in to the startup pool. This year Betahaus is introducing a Summer Residency, which provides a foundation for members of the startup community to receive guidance as they embark on their startup journey.
The Factory is also one of the most desirable platforms for startups, both big and small. By creating an open source workspace that aims to “enable entrepreneurs and innovators,” The Factory has become home to major startups like Soundcloud and young companies like CareerFoundry. Community manager Annie Landless explains that Berlin has been ideal for CareerFoundry. “Everyone is open to meeting, collaborating, and helping each other out, which has resulted in a startup community like no other.” Like Landless, many members of the startup community see Berlin’s relatively low cost of living and strong creative networks as the ideal foundation to build a new company.
Collaborating with a Creative Twist
Down in Berlin’s vibrant Neukölln district, The Agora Collective has created a hub for the city’s artists in residence. The project space opened in 2001, and is driven by a philosophy based on “diversity, self-organization and social ties”. Agora primarily focuses on offering a collaborative environment to those who are working in the creative industries and projects involving social entrepreneurship.
In the collective spirit, The Wye Berlin has also seen great progress in creating a home for Berlin’s budding creative talent. Through their Impact Initiative, programs like the Berlin Film Society were able to have access to subsidized office space. The Wye offered the BFS additional room for screenings and workshops and also consultation, which helped them to build a sustainable model from which they can succeed.
Whether you’re a developer, a writer, or an artist, Berlin’s creativity has a way of encouraging new talent and inspiring entrepreneurs every step of the way.
Germany’s Unicorns (The following section is added by Jumpstart team)
According to recent reports, Germany is home to four, billion-dollar tech startups including internet platform Rocket Internet, food delivery Delivery Hero, ecommerce store Zalando and furniture company Home24.
Startups in Berlin
- GetSemper is an app that incorporates bite-size info into your life and enables learning. (getsemper.com)
- Klara lets doctors treat their patients via mobile. (klara.com)
- Patience enables educators to create and sell online courses. (Patience.io)
- Kiwi aims to replace the traditional key system in Berlin’s homes. (kiwi.ki)
- Eyeem a creative community & marketplace for editing and discovering photography. (eyeem.com)
- Blinkist lets you read more books in less time by distilling them into to 15-minute insights (blinkist.com)
- Friendsurance online peer-to-peer insurance company. (friendsurance.com)
Art & Innovation
Toys of the Future: Funded on Kickstarter, Avakai blends old-fashioned toy craftsmanship with mobile technology. Used in pairs, they can send messages, feelings and sense each others’ presence — no batteries, no setup, no apps needed. (vaikai.com)
Free Books: A neighborhood in Berlin set-up a free public bookcase “Book Forest” using fallen trees to help promote literacy and sharing.
Smart Glasses: Created with the elderly and disabled in mind, the ADAMAAS smart glasses can detect the activity being carried out by the wearer and project the appropriate assistance using text or visuals cues in the wearer’s field of vision reacting appropriately if something goes wrong.
Lego Repair: Artist uses Legos to ‘Repair’ War-Damaged Buildings. (janvormann.com)
By Amanda Gray