Renowned for its quality of life and dynamic cosmopolitan character, Berlin attracts entrepreneurs from all horizons.
Written on 15 Mar 2018.
MSc in Entrepreneurship & Innovation students took a two-day plunge into the Berlin start-up ecosystem. After meeting key players in the London and Paris start-up scenes in the first semester and just before an upcoming, week-long, immersion in Silicon Valley at the end of April 2018, students went on a discovery trip to Berlin! A dream opportunity to meet, connect, and exchange with start-ups, incubators, and investors in the eclectic German capital.
Berlin counts over 100 innovative co-working spaces that host and support entrepreneurs. A prime example is “The Place Berlin.” More than an incubator, The Place is a real community that is open to start-ups the world over. In line with its laid-back image, the entrance to The Place is via a trendy café.
Inside, start-uppers can find all of the facilities they expect, including a co-working zone, a kitchen, large tables, and great meet-up areas. “Connect, Collaborate and Co-innovate”, the Place’s philosophy as imagined by founder Tsveta Stoeva, is clearly inscribed on the walls.
“Project A” is another emblematic structure in the Berlin start-up ecosystem, offering a new approach that combines venture capital with in-depth operational support.
Apart from the organisations offering to nurture start-ups, students also met new businesses at different stages of maturity, including young ventures like “This Week in Mobility” (a disruptive news app), “Nearcut” (a barbershop booking app available in London and under development in Berlin), “Faraday Motion” (an electric kit for customising bikes, skateboards, kick scooters, etc.) and impressive start-ups like “Helpling”, Europe’s leading platform bringing together households and domestic cleaners.
Since its launch, in January 2014, Helpling has raised a total of €67 million in funding and continues its breakneck expansion, not just in Europe, but also in Australia and Singapore.
“Blacklane.com”, a firm developing an upscale driver service, is based on a subtle blend of ultra-professional management and a superb working environment, Blacklane’s recipe seems to be effective, with the start-up now active in 250 cities and 50 countries around the world and having successfully completed a $40 million fundraising round at the start of the year.
Jean-Michel Ledru, Co-Director of the MSc in Entrepreneurship, explains the reasoning behind these rewarding and diverse opportunities for meeting key players in the start-up arena:
“One of the aims of the MSc in Entrepreneurship programme is to give students a grounding in the practicalities of entrepreneurship. In order to connect students with the reality out in the field, the key idea is to give them maximum exposure to multiple experiences throughout the year, not just with entrepreneurs, but also with venture capitalists. The immersion trips integrated into the programme provide perfect opportunities for doing this.”
Berlin certainly lived up to its promise! A bubbling, creative and international start-up ecosystem, with access to capital and especially with a burning desire to create, invent, share, innovate... In short, a more-than inspiring environment for our future “Made in EDHEC” entrepreneurs.