As the UK prepares to “brexit,” Berlin’s Silicon Allee is poised to take its place as the EU’s new Silicon Valley. Various entrepreneurs think Berlin will take London’s place as the EU’s capital for business after the departure. In fact, Inc. reports results from a recent Inc. 5000 survey that indicate 26 percent of EU entrepreneurs believe Berlin will emerge as the EU’s new business center. Others surveyed think Frankfurt will take the crown—but only two respondents said London will remain on top.
As Arne Schepker, CMO of online language learning system Babbel explains: “Berlin is here to stay. In Europe, only London can compete right now and the impending Brexit is not going to make the UK any more attractive. I personally think Berlin needs more breakthrough showcases like Zalando to build confidence globally and raise valuations.”
There are several favorable conditions that give Berlin an edge in this race. The city boasts a low cost of living compared to tech competitors like London, San Francisco and New York City. There is also a steady stream of skilled labor in Berlin, not to mention easy access to the rest of the EU.
Furthermore, there is already an American tech presence in Berlin. Several big companies like Airbnb and Facebook already have offices there, and incubator programs are readily fostering German startups such as EyeEm and N26 in Berlin. In fact, according to Ernst & Young, Berlin is now home to around 2,500 active startups, which have attracted about $2.7 billion* in venture capital in total. This means Berlin is attracting more money than startups anywhere else in the EU—but not nearly as much as Silicon Valley.
So, what’s the downside? Entrepreneurs still face barriers to entry in Berlin that don’t exist in Silicon Valley or London. Although it is growing fast, Berlin’s talent pool is significantly smaller than London’s. (This may be changing even more rapidly as Brexit causes a talent drain in the UK.) This problem is heightened by the lack of an alumni network that is dependent on a minimum volume in exits. To get to a better place in this regard, entrepreneurs in Berlin will need to either sell their startups or take them public, triggering more local investment.
All things considered, though, Berlin’s Silicon Allee is EU’s new Silicon Valley. This is especially true since the cost of living is pricing out many tech companies as it prices out their workers. We crunched the data to show you how and why that’s going to happen—and why more and more startups, originating in both the EU and the US, are going to be sprouting in Berlin.
You can read the full article at 99 designs.