“Do the Essential” – and other advice from Valley in Berlin 2017

Valley in Berlin 2017, hosted by Scout24, brought together close to 400 professionals in Berlin’s startup industry for a day of talks, pitches, and networking. There were many speakers whose words I found valuable and inspiring. One thread that connected several of the presentations was the importance of “fluid intelligence” in the new economy – the ability to use past experience to apply to new problems.

It’s not just a matter of individuals needing fluid intel to bring all of their experience and knowledge into the new economy. It’s a matter of vital importance to corporations that have been around for decades, and who must adapt to the new marketplace with either new products or new uses for the products they know how to make. Scout24 is an example of this, itself: it began as an online classified marketplace but has moved into creating a networked marketplace – “to inspire people’s best decisions.” Christian Bubenheim, Senior Vice President of AutoScout24, said in his remarks that this has come to include inspiring innovation not only within larger companies, but also from outside the companies, arising from the needs of the marketplace. Continue reading

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Viva Tech in Berlin Panelists Talk European Startup Growth

From time to time, I report on business events I attend in Berlin, most of which focus on the startup community.

On 9 March 2017, Viva Technology hosted a panel at Factory Berlin to discuss Growth for European Startups. The panel was moderated by Tolgay Azman, editor-in-chief of Business Punk, and the panelists were

  • KATHARINA LÜTH (Weltsparen/Raisin)
  • JOHN FRIJTERS (ReWalk Robotics)
  • ANTON WAITZ (Project A)
  • JULIE RANTY (Viva Technology)
  • MAXIME BAFFERT (Viva Technology)

Much of the discussion revolved around differences between the major European cities with respect to startup culture, activities, and investment. According to Ranty, France expects 3 more unicorns to emerge from its ecosystem, which they anticipate will grow following the Brexit. However, Lüth concedes that London will need to lose a lot of startups to become weaker than Berlin or Paris. Continue reading

“Booming Berlin” Reports the Tip of the Iceberg for Berlin’s Startup Scene

On 6 April 2016, the Institut für Strategieentwicklung (IFSE) – which translates to Institute for Strategy Development – released “Booming Berlin: A closer look at Berlin’s startup scene,” published in partnership with Factory Berlin. The study examined the state of the internet-related startup scene in the city, as well as how it has grown and changed between 2012 and 2016.

BoomingBerlinThe study defined a “startup” as: no more than five years old; could not exist without the internet (no hardware-based companies were included); and has an independent management. Startups were categorized by their provided service:

  • Marketplace – provides a trade platform for suppliers and demanders without being traders themselves
  • Commission Business – channeling selected product offers to customer and customers to selected shops based on payment of a commission
  • E-Commerce – trade in physical or digital goods from their own, or foreign, production
  • Social – service consists of the creation of (social) contacts that are not directly aiming at the trade of goods
  • Content – creation, administration, and presentation of digital content
  • Services – provides services to other businesses or end customers

Regardless of your own personal opinion of businesses labeled as ‘startups’ or which exist only on the internet, the quantitative analysis of Berlin’s startup ecosystem provides some compelling numbers. Continue reading

Report from Startup Safary Berlin — Part 3

If you missed Post #1, click here. For Post #2, click here.

The final of three events I attended through Startup Safary Berlin 2015 was in the historically-fascinating offices of Axel Springer Plug&Play Accelerator, on Markgrafenstrasse, in Kreuzberg.

The first floor of the building – where the accelerator program is located – used to be the “emergency” editing suite for Axel Springer journalists during politically charged times. The Axel Springer building is nearby and during bomb threats the editors would relocate to the Markgrafenstrasse location so that the Bild newspaper could continue to publish on time. More recently, the artist Clemens von Wedel used the space, and the graffiti he left on the walls remains to provide atmosphere for the visiting startups who participate in the accelerator program.

Graffiti in the offices of the Accelerator.
Graffiti in the offices of the Accelerator.

Axel Springer Plug&Play Accelerator was founded in 2013 as a joint effort between German publisher Axel Springer SE and the Plug and Play Tech Center, an accelerator founded in California. Three times per year, the Accelerator offers a three-month program to startups whose projects are accepted from among the many applicants. Continue reading

Report from Startup Safary Berlin 2015 — Part 2

If you missed Post #1, click here.

The second of three events I attended through Startup Safary Berlin 2015 was held in the offices of Remerge, on Oranienburger Strasse in the Hackescher Markt neighborhood of Berlin.

Remerge, which launched in 2014 in Berlin, helps app developers re-engage users who may have gone inactive, by targeting those users through personalized ads or messages outside of the app – across more than 330,000 other apps.Remerge_App_Retargeting

The office event began with a brief overview of the origins of the company by co-founder and CEO Pan Katsukis. In his presentation, Katsukis referenced a blog post he wrote in 2014, as the company was acquiring seed funding – How We Raised $1M Seed Money in 5 Weeks in Berlin. In August 2015, Remerge announced a $3M Series A round, to support the opening of a San Francisco office.

While I enjoyed hearing about the history of the company itself, the presentation by co-founder and CTO Martin Karlsch really resonated with me. Continue reading

Report from Startup Safary Berlin 2015 – Part 1

Startup Safary grew out of a project started in Berlin in 2012 by Maciek Laskus and Clarissa Steinhöfel. As the Startup Safary project turned into a full-time gig, the two founders formed a company in January 2014. The goal of the Safary is to bring together the multitude of startup ecosystems in a multi-day event that allows folks to visit startup businesses, accelerators, venture capital providers, incubators, co-working spaces, and other related ventures.

The international efforts continue to expand, and Startup Safary now organizes annual events in several locations, including Bulgaria, Poland, and Greece. They are always looking for additional cities that want to have Startup Safary events. Continue reading