The 24th edition of Friday@6 was a hot and sweaty affair in the loft of Readmill’s new Prenzlauer Berg office. With the giant Twitter feed showing a barrage of tweets about the #saunaatsix, host Derk Marseille and the speakers, who included Henrik Berggren of Readmill and Wellington Partners VC Christian Thaler Wolski, as well as Gabi’s Stefanie Hoffman and Conrad Fritzsch of tape.tv, still managed to entertain the crowd with their insights into Berlin’s startup scene.
The relationship between startups and their investors was the major theme of the evening, with the audience giving Christian in particular their undivided attention as he talked about establishing relationships with startups.
Using their investment in Readmill as an example, Christian emphasized that it was important to understand the product and the team of a startup before investing, saying that the process was far more than just a pitch and a handshake: “We’ve really followed closely how they develop, and what they do, and how they do it, what the steps are. And then we came to a point where we felt comfortable to put more money into the company.”
Christian also talked about the importance of internationalization for VCs as well. He said that Wellington Partners was a European investor rather than just a German investor, and if this were not the case they wouldn’t have been able to invest in Spotify.
Conrad Fritzsch, whose company tape.tv secured €5 million in Series B funding back in May, talked about the importance of taking time to get to know investors, comparing the relationship to a marriage. When asked about Berlin’s evolving role in the tech world, he stressed that young entrepreneurs need to look for ideas that are sustainable as businesses, rather than just trying to secure a big exit.
Henrik Berggren and Stefanie Hoffman both considered the disruptive nature of their apps. Henrik, who appeared on the very first Friday@6 show nearly a year ago, talked about how Readmill partnered with retailers rather than publishers and how the goal is to be totally integrated into people’s lives. He also talked about making the most of funding by being a ‘scrappy’ startup that saves money. Stefanie talked about integrating Gabi with Facebook’s API, and how they are providing a beautiful user experience, no matter how much content there is to filter.
Stefanie also spoke about investment, saying that while she is currently bootstrapping her startup and focusing on the product, she is also talking to investors with whom she has an established relationship, and who would fit with the product. She said: “For us it’s very interesting to find someone who has an understanding of mobile and has a fascination for the product.”
There were also pitches from social gift giving startup isyou.in and amgic.net, an app that connects people’s social and professional networks by shaking their phones. Lisa Lang gave an update on the upcoming Campus Party, and Soenke Moosman talked about the SAP startup forum happening in August.
The party ended with pizza, beers, music and with Readmill’s breezy balcony rammed with revellers. Derk was phlisophical about the heat, saying that even though it was difficult to do the show in such conditions, the show must go on.