Start-ups and Investors both flock to Berlin

By Martin Recke

10/01/2011 | Why Berlin Needs To Become Europe’s Silicon Valley was the title of a piece ran by The Next Web last May. Now step by step, Berlin is coming closer to this goal.

ResearchGATE, a social network for scientists, moves its headquarters from Boston to Berlin, by the advice of Matt Cohler, Partner of Benchmark Capital who last year invested in ResearchGATE.

And Berlin-based Soundcloud gets a new round of funding from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures. Fred Wilson of the former and Mike Volpi of the latter both have discovered Berlin as a place to be for investors from the US.

Berlin is poor but sexy. At least that's what mayor Klaus Wowereit says. The sexiness attracts a lot of entrepreneurs and start-ups from all over Europe and increasingly also the US. The poster-boy example for this is Alexander Ljung (below), a swedish/british entrepreneur in Berlin, founder of Soundcloud and well-known speaker at NEXT.

Matt Cohler's advice for start-ups like ResearchGATE is straightforward: There are plenty of good developers available for not that much money in the German capital city. And Fred Wilson took a bicycle ride through Berlin together with Lukasz Gadowski some 18 months ago. Back then he wrote on his blog:

It’s been 25 years since I’ve been to Berlin and it’s changed a lot, for obvious reasons. It’s a modern city with a vibrant tech startup scene. But I got the distinct feeling today in Berlin that there is a mismatch between the number of high energy/high quality tech startups and the capital to fund all of them. It feels like New York ten years ago."

Last November though, the British government announced their plans to grow London into the European start-up hub. What could Berlin do to compete with London and become Europe's Silicon Valley?

Check out the following two panel proposals for NEXT11:

Please vote! The Call for Participation will be open until the end of January.