I don’t remember exactly when it was, that Berlin suddenly turned from „poor but sexy“ into the hotspot for Europe’s startup eco system. I think it probably all started with the 2006 World Cup when Germans in general and Berliners in particular showed off what their cities had to offer and many young and creative people took note. Here was a city, which offered hip and cool galore, affordable housing, and startups in hyper growth, even if many of them were clones.
Of course, Berlin has long had a history of successful internet entrepreneurship, but in 2006 it wasn’t the creative, original and innovative kind that we acolytes of disruptive change so crave.
The first signs of what was to come went almost unnoticed. All of a sudden Mike Butcher started showing up more and more frequently, Seedcamp Berlin took off, Soundcloud attracted top tier international investors and made Berlin their home. International VCs, rarely seen in Germany, suddenly started popping up at parties and events. More and more startups all over Europe left the cities they were founded in and moved to Berlin.
And then, in 2012 it was clear to everyone: Berlin has arrived on the international scene and has probably taken the spot that London, Barcelona and a number of other cities have coveted.
The fact that the German economy has motored on during the financial crises, which have dominated the last five(!) years, has probably swung the dynamics in Berlin’s favour. It has certainly added to the attraction of investing in Germany.
In 2013 and beyond Berlin will have to demonstrate that it can build on the current hype and provide a long-term home to innovation and business success for the international startup community. In order to do so, it will need to attract a lot more venture firms, build stronger ties between universities and industry and provide first class infrastructure for rapidly growing companies. Germany will also need to offer a suitable financial market, which since the demise of the Neuer Markt is missing.
In fifteen years of serving digital businesses from our base in Hamburg, we have never felt the need to add a further office. Our work is national and international by definition and our consultants are wherever they are needed.
In 2013 we have taken the step of opening an office in Berlin. This in recognition of the fact that the Berlin community is accelerating away from the rest of Germany. It is defining its own rules, creating its own memes and establishing its own culture. We want to be part of the Berlin community and are happy to have landed in the capital.
Come and visit us in our new offices in Französische Strasse 24, 10117 Berlin.