Berlin Startup guide
Berlin’s Startup scene is constantly evolving and most guides become quickly obsolete. We try to keep it “fresh” 🙂
Brief Introduction to Berlin’s Startup Scene
Berlin’s is on its way to become the startup capital of Europe. While still lagging behind London on many metrics, it has been growing much faster. Thanks to recent investments money is flowing to the German capital.
- Berlin is cheap: you can have a 3euro kebap, or a 4 euro pasta in the middle of the city. Rent is also up to 3 times cheaper than in other capitals. If you are hiring, employees can and will accept lower wages.
- Berlin is attracting talent: Especially many from the east and south of Europe love Berlin. It is fairly easy to find design and programming talent.
- Berlin has style and knows how to party: You can nicely balance hard work with a good social life. The city is very strong in entertainment and getting better in food. People might not be overly friendly but are very relaxed once you talk to them.
- Berlin speaks English quite well: You will surely hit a limit every now and then, but overall you come far with only speaking English. In continental Europe only the Dutch and the Nordic can compete with this.
- Bureaucracy: Unfortunately the cliche about the German Bureaucracy is true. It will take serious effort to navigate through the paperwork.
- Lack of ambition: Berlin’s startup scene was shaped by copycat online shops and it set the tone. There are few but growing number of geniune startups. The investment scene also only follows US trends and tries to avoid risks. Sometimes you feel like it’s a copy of only the appearence of the scene in Silicon Valley, without the creativity and ambition that really define them.
- Infrastructure & Services: Berlin is not like other German cities. Internet will constantly have problems, the trains might not work and the packages might not be delivered. It is surely manageble, but just don’t expect German efficiency.
Finding a Startup job
You might not get paid top dollars but the startup scene continues to produce many English speaking jobs. Especially digital specialists and programmers can pretty much choose their employer.
- One of the best places to look for is http://berlinstartupjobs.com/
- Another great source is http://www.gruenderszene.de/jobboerse/
- You can also try “Angel list” https://angel.co/berlin/jobs
- Or a facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BerlinStartupJobs/
If you are good in small-talk there are a lot of events to choose from. Otherwise you might waste a lot of evenings talking to 2-3 boring people.
To have a good overview of most of the events in berlin use these two websites:
- and https://www.startupdigest.com/digests/berlin
For general networking events have a look at:
And one insider tip is “spaetschicht” which is invitation-only (but not too difficult if you are a startup owner)
Online Communities you should join:
- For women: http://www.geekettes.io/
Founding your own Startup
This is difficult in Germany, but there is a lot of support:
Getting support: Accelerators
This is a short-list of the major players, followed by a more complete list
A top 20 list for Berlin: http://thecitykind.com/top-20-accelerators-and-incubators-in-berlin/
Get financial help
Getting Public funds
- And this is a private company specialized in helping you getting public funds: http://www.berlin-startup-consulting.com/
There is a growing angel community in Berlin.
A short-list of the major players:
- http://westtechventures.de/en/ and also their accelerator http://projectflyingelephant.com/en/
- Health focus: http://dhventures.de/en/, http://xlhealth.de/en/
and a top 20 list
Co-working in Berlin
It is easy to find a co-working place for each budget, starting from 100euro/month for a flexible desk. The major players are Betahaus, Factory and We-Work (new in Berlin, no1 worldwide).
The best of lists
and more complete lists:
Startup Blogs & Press
The startup press in Berlin is mostly English and very active.