Berlin is a great place to found a startup – but it can be frustrating when it comes to growing out into the wider world. The news that TechHub is expanding into the German capital, then, will surely be welcomed by entrepreneurs here. Berlin will become the seventh location for the startup community and co-working space, which was founded three years ago by serial entrepreneur Elizabeth Varley and TechCrunch‘s European editor Mike Butcher.
It will hopefully provide the opportunity for young companies to connect with entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and media in London and further afield.
TechHub, which originated in London, provides space for tech entrepreneurs to get together, work and collaborate, with plenty of events and advice sessions. Founder Varley said: “We’re really focusing on creating a bridge between the Berlin and London tech communities, and beyond. There’s often talk about which one is going to be the European startup centre, and I don’t think it matters – we’re keen to see collaboration over competition.”
There are already TechHubs in London, Manchester, Swansea, Riga and Bucharest, with Bangalore announced last month. Each member has access to all of these sites and also benefits from the contacts, marketing opportunities and press profile that comes with it. TechHub doesn’t invest or take any equity in its members.
The Berlin presence will open next year, and Varley said events would begin in the coming months and talks with potential launch partners are ongoing. Current partners elsewhere include Google – TechHub is a major partner of the Campus London alongside the tech giant – as well as Telefonica, BlackBerry, Barclays Bank and BT. Overall, TechHub members have raised more than $100 million (€72.6m) in funding, while import.io revealed plans to double the number of public APIs globally before the end of the year in launching at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin.
Mike Butcher said that Europe has seen a blooming of startup clusters with entrepreneurs and talent keen to connect with each other: “They can do it on their own, or they can super-charge their efforts with the support of TechHub. This is why it makes so much sense for TechHub’s growing international network to connect with the high-growth Berlin startup ecosystem, both to add to the city’s own development and to act as a gateway for international connections, bringing something unique to Berlin.”
TechHub has been working with Simon Schäfer, CEO of the Factory, on its presence in Berlin, and he said: “We are delighted to be working with TechHub to open up its fantastic community to Berlin especially as TechHub members have free access to all TechHub’s global sites. We see TechHub as bringing something new to the community.”
Schäfer appeared on stage briefly at Disrupt, when he gave Butcher a (disarmed) grenade dug up during renovations at the Factory (“good luck getting that through customs”) and promised that the startup hub would be finished within weeks rather than months.