Known for its vibrant nightlife and its link to German history, Berlin has recently attracted attention as the emerging startup capital of Europe. As the center of the country’s media, R&D, and creative industries, the city is primed to innovate these sectors. The startup ecosystem has notable successes in eCommerce, including the breakout IPOs of Zalando and Rocket Internet. Berlin is brimming with culture and creativity; this, coupled with a very affordable cost-of-living, means bootstrapping startups and the talent they seek flock to Berlin. However, once startups begin to scale and grow, they often struggle with raising follow-on capital. Receiving Series A funding is a perennial obstacle for many startups and the impetus for some to relocate.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
IPO'd at €5.3B on
Up and coming startup
Up and coming startup
IPO'd at €6.7B on
Ciarán O’Leary and Hendrik Brandis serve as partners at Earlybird, a major Berlin VC firm that manages a diverse portfolio heavy on healthcare technologies.
The Factory is a major resource for Berlin’s entrepreneurs, offering one of the largest co-working spaces in the city along with mentorship and other support. As Founder at the Factory, Schaefer is a major figure in the city’s entrepreneurs. Schaefer is also Founder of totalCommerce.
Christophe Maire currently heads Atlantic Labs, one of Berlin’s most prominent tech investors with a portfolio including SoundCloud. Maire has personal experience as an entrepreneur, founding companies like gate5. He is considered one of the city’s foremost angel investors.
Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer are some of Germany’s most famous entrepreneurs and investors. Most importantly for the startup community, they established Rocket Internet, a prolific Berlin incubator known for replicating successful startup models in other countries. The Samwers also founded a VC firm, Global Founders Capital.
Alex Farcet established and leads one of Europe’s largest accelerator networks. Though Startupbootcamp maintains programs in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and several other cities, Farcet currently oversees its operations in Berlin. He is also a Partner at Rainmaking, a major tech investor.
Philipp Moehring currently manages the European operation and expansion of startup network AngelList. Previously, Moehring served as a Principal at Seedcamp, an early-stage startup fund based in London. His extensive experience working with young startups and current position give him a unique understanding of what it takes to succeed in the European market.
Christoph Räthke cemented his influence among Berlin’s founders by establishing the Berlin Startup Academy, perhaps the city’s premier accelerator. In addition to leading the BSA, Christoph is also an active mentor for entrepreneurs, providing his guidance through organizations like Startupbootcamp.
Jens Begemann leads Wooga, one of Europe’s biggest mobile gaming developers. The success of Wooga, which Begemann founded in 2009, elevated him as one of Berlin’s most prominent entrepreneurs and a valued source of mentorship for the city’s startups.
Christoph Janz is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded DealPilot.com and Pageflakes before establishing Point Nine Capital, a major Berlin VC firm. In addition to his role in developing the firm’s startups, Janz also writes on entrepreneurship and investment on his blog, The Angel VC.
Pawel Chudzinski is a veteran investor who co-founded Point Nine Capital, which styles itself as “The Angel VC.” Prior to his work at Point Nine, Chudzinski sharpened his investment acumen as Co-Founder and Partner of Team Europe, an incubator and network of entrepreneurs and investors.
Building on Germany's innovative heritage, banks and enterprises, with adequate financial support from the government, created TSB to promote innovation. TSB ensures abundant funding and support for research, science, and innovative technologies.1994
Staying true to their innovative nature, Berliners founded C-Base, which was one of the first hackerspaces in the world and the first in Germany. C-Base continues to exist to this day as a community hub.1995
Achieving success early on with the IPO of Digital River in 1998, Earlybird has become a powerful force in Berlin, with 2 IPOs and 13 acquisitions under its belt.1997
Founded by young and ambitious entrepreneurs, this incubator has grown a number of Berlin startups over the years.October 2008
Often thought of as the Zynga of Europe, Wooga is one of the most popular mobile games developers in the world. Wooga boasts an impressive diverse group of developers from 40 countries.2009
This summer saw the arrival of two major accelerators to the city. The Startup Academy is a consistent influence in Berlin, while Startupbootcamp is a top-ranked accelerator that has grown to have programs in cities around the world.Summer 2012
One of the most anticipated technology conferences, TechCrunch Disrupt always garners significant attention. The arrival of the conference to Berlin was a beacon for international awareness of the city's startup scene.October 2013
Feeling the pressure from international competition, the German government devised the HTS as a way of maintaining their top scientific and economic position. The initiative should bring particular support to entrepreneurs pursuing the sectors of big data, cybersecurity, energy, medicine, and transport.April 2014
Together with other corporate partners, Google reinforced Berlin's startup scene with this new high-end incubator. The launch was attended by VIP guest Eric Schmidt who, in his speech, promised that Google and entrepreneurs would catalyze the German economy.July 2014
These two Berlin businesses IPO'd within a day of each other for combined market caps of nearly €12 billion. These were the largest German tech IPOs in over a decade. That they both chose to list on German exchanges is also notable.October 1st and 2nd, 2014