A who’s who of the Berlin startup scene gathered on the banks of the Spree on Thursday at an abandoned soap factory-turned-nightclub to share knowledge, creativity and inspiration at the very first TOABerlin.
The first day of the crowdfunded festival proved a great success with its laid-back, collaborative vibe, with attendees enjoying the sunshine and making connections in Kater Holzig’s colourful courtyard.
One of the day’s big highlights was the panel discussion ‘Milking the Capital Cow’, featuring Schuyler Deerman of Moped, Felix Petersen of Amen, Paul Jozefak of Liquid Labs and angel investor Christoph Maire, moderated by Mike Butcher of TechCrunch.
The panel talked about the hype surrounding Berlin’s tech scene over the last 12 months and how startups could use this to their advantage. Paul thought that the hype in Berlin was an excellent opportunity for the tech ecosystem to grow, and will eventually attract the interest of even more VCs and investors from around the world. Felix called the hype the ‘Class of 2012’ and said that it was impossible to know what might happen in the immediate future – it still might fail. They also talked about finding the right kind of funding and finding a VC who wants to do the same things that you want to do.
There was also discussion about what the first steps should be when you are starting out, with Schuyler arguing that you should first build something before you go looking for funding – it is always easier to show what you’ve made to investors rather than explain your idea.
Other highlights included a talk from Matthew O. Brimer of General Assembly about the failure of his first startup and how important this was for his later success, and Caitlin Winner of Amen who argued that imitation was not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to startups and business models.
The day ended with music and a barbeque in the courtyard at Kater Holzig, where the crowd was able to relax with a drink and network a bit.
Feedback for the day was very positive and on the whole attendees enjoyed the laid back nature of the day. TOABerlin continues today with a huge selection of satellite events all over the city, ending with the Silicon Allee Summer Party at Prince Charles from 7pm tonight.