Elaborations by Alexander Kölpin, Managing Director and Partner at WestTech Ventures, Co-founder of the Berlin Web Week

3-Sentence Pitch on eamhe local Startup Ecosystem:

The ecosystem in Berlin ist by far the most international and most developed in Germany. Founders, VCs and startup employees from all over Europe and the world come to Berlin and make Berlin the international hotspot in Europe. Visa, languages and work permit issues are easily solved compared to most other European or German hubs.

Regional Hubs

Berlin as a city state can be travelled easily by public transport. Most startups and VCs are to be found in the areas of Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg.

Sectoral Focus of the Startup Ecosystem

Berlin started off with a strong note on ecommerce and B2C models, but recent years have brought a lot of B2B models, HealthTech, FinTech, IoT and literally all other areas of the digital startup domain.

Local Financing Landscape/Presence of VCs

Berlin ist the place with most VCs in Germany and  attracts by far the most risk capital nationwide. Almost all VCs who are in the founding process or have been founded in the last 12 months (more than 6 funds) chose Berlin as their location. Furthermore, Berlin is becoming the most important target area for foreign investors. Please find a non-exhaustive overview of VCs in Berlin: www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/business-location/business-location/start-up-capital/venture-capital-incubators.

Presence and Industrial Focus of Established Industries

One of the reasons, Berlin came to be the German startup hub, is the absence of competition from corporates for human ressources. Most of the DAX companies have their HQ somewhere else. However, due to the prominence of Berlin as a startup location, most of the corporates have their startup operations, their accelerators, innovation hubs and so on in Berlin.

Presence of Incubators/Accelerators

Berlin has a variety of incubators, accelerators, and company builders. Among them are:

  • Axel Springer Plug&Play
  • DB Mindbox by Deutsche Bahn
  • Project Flying Elephant
  • Adlershof Accelerator A² – WISTA MANAGEMENT GmbH
  • CoLaborator – Bayer HealthCare
  • hub:raum – Deutsche Telekom
  • Lufthansa Innovation Hub
  • Microsoft Center – Microsoft
  • mindbox – Deutsche Bahn
  • ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator
  • Rocket Internet
  • Techstars
  • Project A Ventures
  • Startupbootcamp Berlin
  • Seedcamp
  • Berlin Startup Academy

For a list of incubators, accelerators, and company builders in Berlin see: www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/business-location/business-location/start-up-capital/venture-capital-incubators. Berlin also offers a large variety of co-working spaces.

Presence of Research Institutes and Universities

In Berlin, young entrepreneurs find the best opportunities for education and advanced training. Berlin universities and institutions of higher education provide their own start-up networks. The university-based start-up centers connect to each other via B!gründet, the start-up network of Berlin’s institutions of higher education. Please see a list of Berlin-based universities and their Entrepreneurship programs: www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/business-location/business-location/start-up-capital/education-networks-events

Noticeable Events

The majority of startup events in Germany take place in Berlin. Most of them are to be found on meetup.com (such as the Berlin Tech Meetup) or the Berlin Startup Digest. Amongst the most prominent startup events in Berlin are:

Alexander Kölpin