Berlin, the capital of Germany, is growing to become the startup capital in Western Europe and sees a multitude of entrepreneurs and startup job seekers moving to Berlin to work in a dynamic startup ecosystem. If you are one of them, here is a comprehensive guide to help you understand Berlin’s startup scenario well to make the most of it.
Germany has been at the forefront in recent years as an important ecosystem, thanks to the high levels of technological readiness, excellent infrastructure, and extreme innovation capacity. With a GDP of $158 billion and a population of 6 million people, this German capital is a promising startup hub. Ranked fifth in the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18, the country has a number of competitive advantages. Berlin is a leading location for several industries, namely, manufacturing, healthcare, transport, automobile, and energy & clean technologies.
According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018, approximately 50,000 people move to Berlin. A good share of the crowd comprises of startups jobseekers, entrepreneurs wanting to set a startup, and startups moving to the city to explore the regional market.
What makes Berlin a Hotbed for Entrepreneurs?
New startups are founded every 20 minutes in Berlin according to Gründen, an advisory agency in Berlin. Startups in Berlin enjoy a favorable business environment that is highly conducive for them to grow and scale the regional market. Armed with the right frameworks culturally, legally, and economically, the capital city of Germany is proving to be an entrepreneurial giant in the country. The city is ideal for tech and health & life sciences based startups as these are two of the prominent startup segments in the startup ecosystem. Startups in Berlin brought an investment of $3.65 billion in 2017, leaving London behind when it comes to funding.
Move to Berlin to Enjoy Low Costs of Working and Living
A number of professionals prefer to take up startup jobs in Berlin over any other city in Germany owing to the affordability of real estate and other amenities. The affordability characteristic of Berlin is beneficial to companies also as it helps in reducing operational costs to a large extent. The idea of ending up with a little more money than expected in your bank is what makes the idea of moving to Berlin so popular.
Multilingual and Multicultural City with an International Workforce
An important aspect that many startups struggle with is to hire excellent talent for their team. Entrepreneurs setting up their startups in Berlin can build their team with the best of international talent. The city’s multi-lingual feature does away with any language barriers that may be present in other German cities. English is widely spoken which makes it easier for international students and professionals to move to Berlin. A human resource capital that is diverse in culture and background brings new perspectives to work making each team member a valuable asset. What’s even better is that the cost for human resource is around 40% lesser than other German cities. So startups and entrepreneurs moving to Berlin do not just get access to a pool of talent that is vibrant and dynamic but also affordable.
Berlin’s Got a Thing for Innovative Startups
The last thing startups need when moving to a city is restrictions in the legal framework. The city of Berlin does away with that by offering laid-back visa and immigration processes. Many initiatives have been introduced specially for startups and entrepreneurs to have a smooth shift to this startup ecosystem. Two important state agencies that are helping entrepreneurs are Berlin Investment Bank and Berlin Partner. Berlin Investment Bank has dedicated funding programs for startups, and Berlin Partner offers guidance and assists entrepreneurs in a number of areas ranging from finding the right office to visas for employees/families. The municipal services for registering a business and other similar processes are made available in English in an attempt to simplify the process of setting up a startup for non-German speakers.
Move to Berlin to be a Part of a Vibrant Startup Culture
The rate at which startups in Berlin are growing is unmatched as compared to any other startup ecosystems in Germany. The unfathomable growth of the startup ecosystem has led to the rise of a number of venture capital funding firms, incubator and accelerators in Berlin. Not just that, new co-working office spaces in the city are waiting to be explored by startups and entrepreneurs looking for exciting and affordable workspaces. Co-working office space brands like WeWork, Kaos Berlin, CRCLR, and other have stunning office spaces ideal for entrepreneurs from different fields.
Move to Berlin and be a part of some of the best startup events and activities held throughout the year. These events pose an excellent opportunity for networking and finding various resources.
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Berlin’s Soaring Startup Sectors
Berlin’s startup ecosystem has grown from an infancy phase with only early-stage companies to a promising hub with success stories of companies that put the city at par with startup ecosystems like London or New York City. One of the companies that have brought about this transition is Auto 1, an online car dealer, which got an investment of $566 from Softbank. American seed accelerator, TechStars, has recognized the potential of the startup ecosystem in Berlin and has already invested in the city more than any other ecosystem. TechStars entered Berlin’s startup scene in 2015 and has invested in 60 companies so far.
The strength of the ecosystem in Berlin are the three sub-sectors of IoT, health and life sciences, and Fintech. Entrepreneurs whose ideas fall in these niches are bound to excel more as compared to other areas in Berlin. The same goes for professionals seeking startup jobs.
Health and Life Sciences Startups in Berlin
Berlin offers the perfect productive setting for health and life sciences company to grow. These companies have built a strong foundation in the segment and are fuelled by three world-renowned universities. Berlin is home to healthcare accelerator and lab programs by world leaders in the niche like Bayer and Pfizer. The growth of Ada Health qualifies in every way as a success story in the segment. The company got a funding of $70 and is creating a medical app by leveraging AI. The well-established fields of data science and software engineering in Berlin also go hand in hand with the health and life sciences sub-sector giving it a boost in areas of research and testing.
Fintech Startups in Berlin
The fintech sub-sector got 10% of the total regional venture capital funding since 2012 and is estimated to create 40,000 jobs in the coming decade. This sustainable jobs market is projected to be a result of scale-ups in the fintech industry in Berlin. The city is the heart of fintech activities in Germany and entrepreneurs moving to Berlin can find lucrative opportunities to work and grow with the best of the players. N26 and SolarisBank have earned the spotlight in the fintech sector with their funding and innovative products and services. N26 is a consumer banking startup that raised $212 million so far with a customer base of 500,000 and SolarisBank , a two-year-old B2B banking platform, has already got a funding of $95 million.
Internet of Things (IoT) Startups in Berlin
Internet of Things (IoT) sector had seen a boom since 2012, which is also when half of the IoT organizations were set up. These include startups in various stages and a number of renowned knowledge and research centers. The IoT potential of the region is getting international attention as more and more people, and companies are moving to Berlin to be a part of it. Bosch, for example, has started an IoT institution with an aim to connect the soaring innovation system in Berlin. The campus is one of a kind with a staff strength of 250. IOTA is one of the companies that have earned the spotlight in the industry with its innovative idea. The company is a trailblazer that has created an out-of-the-box decentral transaction layer for inter-machine interactions.
The role of the many ecosystem partners in the city cannot go unnoticed. These partners help in diverse ways to fuel the startup ecosystem in Berlin. These partners include:
Senate Department for Economics
Energy and Public Enterprises
Berliner Startup Stipendium
Hasso Plattner Ventures
Get Started Bitkom
Move to Berlin to enjoy the best of personal and professional life, the city is a goldmine of historically significant architectural pieces and has a hip nightlife. Berlin is located in the heart of Germany and is a gateway to the market in the country. Enjoy an excellent infrastructure, a positive business climate, and rich sources of funding right in this capital city of Berlin.
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