Berlin overtook last year London as Europe’s start-up capital. Start-up companies in Berlin benefit from investing at record levels, which in turn is driving for an even more exciting and dynamic growth environment. Can we create the same success in Copenhagen?
In terms of the amount of investment, Berlin has now taken the lead as Europe’s start-up capital and overtaken London, which still keeps distance to Stockholm and Paris as its closest pursuers. According to a report from EY in Germany, which measures the amount of investment in venture capital.
Things have moved fast in Berlin, where investments in 2015 more than doubled compared to 2014. In Germany, the investments overall increased fivefold compared to 2013 in Berlin absolutely top class and where e-commerce, fine tech and big data are the primary investment.
But besides being a major city in a major country is there anything we can copy or be inspired by the Copenhagen or perhaps other cities in Denmark? What does it take to create a vibrant, dynamic growth environment that attracts the best ideas and venture capitalists in the style of Berlin?
A Strong Foundation
Berlin has in recent years acted as a magnet for start-ups in particular IT and digitization and thus attracts many people with the right skills and good ideas. Developments in Berlin can be described as extremely dynamic and there has been a positive spiral, where investor interest means that Berlin will be the focal point for even more ideas, ambitions and talented entrepreneurs.
In Copenhagen Startup Village and Rainmaking Loft good examples of physical framework that brings together both new and more experienced entrepreneurs, and where there is an interest from financially strong players and others who can help to drive development.
The possibility of establishing business centers or otherwise find places within a defined urban area where there is a low rent can help to establish these entrepreneurial powerhouses.
There is a need for strong start-up environments – places where companies can take their first steps. They become stronger in clusters where it is not just a single company, but an environment that attracts people, ideas and investment. The drive that often characterizes start-ups is contagious. They grow together – both through cooperation and competition.
Another factor is the possibility of interaction between startups and established businesses. Whether it is in the form of cooperation, sparring, investments or acquisitions, then this interaction established a very important element. There is a much greater potential here than we see today – and that goes for both sides.
The new and the established closer to each other, but it is not always unproblematic. It requires some learning and development and good examples to build on. In Denmark we see many examples of cooperation and interaction between the new and the established businesses like biotech / life science, but there is potential for more.
It’s all about moving more experience from the big to the small – often followed by capital, access to markets and to structures and systems. But it will be just as much driven by the needs of the other way. The great need of the innovative ideas and to be challenged. We will probably also see that several large companies establish their own start-up companies that can experiment with new ideas in a freer environment.
In Berlin it has become common for large companies on one way or another engaged in start-up environments – either through venture investments or various forms of accelerator programs that also focuses on coaching and development. The large global corporations – and also medium-sized, established companies – care about what digital transformation means for their markets and may come to mean for their business. Outside the door teeming with digital ideas and innovation through more exuberant character. There are strong reasons to come together for both parties.
A Healthy Ecosystem
We often use both Silicon Valley as an example of the dynamics of a cluster of high-tech companies that includes both the world’s largest and thousands of start-up companies. We can be more natural look to our neighbors.
Berlin has in recent years developed a thriving and professionally ecosystem for start-up companies, attracting investment from both home and abroad. There is also a rich experience and training environment and quality education.
We can also look at Stockholm, which is also among the top when it comes to start-up investments. Sweden, and in particular Stockholm, discussed today often as The Unicorn Factory because it has managed to establish a number of new companies with a turnover of 1 billion. USD.
Next, we must look at ourselves. We need more entrepreneurship, risk-taking, innovation, entrepreneurship and ambition. Yes, one is tempted to say more ferocity and desire to challenge and rethink business models and stereotypes. We’ll see what we can learn from the successes, breaking myths down, strengthen entrepreneurial traits in the culture and discuss how we create even more growth entrepreneurs across the country.