Late last year, I was having a conversation with Nicholas Zimmer, head of the Technologiestiftung Berlin ((TSB), about the tech and startup sector in Berlin. He mentioned the cities competing against Berlin to attract entrepreneurs and the overall concerns that most people voice about the challenges these new upstarts face at any stage of their fundraising rounds.
I have always voiced the opinion that the key to a vibrant technology community is the ecosystem in which this community resides. Having said that, scenes like those in Lebanon – as EyeEm CTO Ramzi Risk will tell you – as well as in Lisbon, Barcelona and Sophia Antipolis are all vibrant but still very much local. Unlike those scenes, we in Berlin and Germany have evolved to become Silicon Allee and are very much a magnet for the young global citizen entrepreneur and an international beacon with which every other city and country attempts to compete. Unlike most other parts of the world, the Berlin and German technology community is not local and keeps attracting development talent, entrepreneurship and venture capital from all over the world.
Yet on the other hand, due to the limited venture capital markets in those other cities and countries, many have come up with innovative ideas to connect the personal investor with the startup to encourage investments to fuel their startup economies.
Now imagine yourself boarding a Turkish Airlines flight: you sit back in your seat and after taxi and takeoff, you start to flip through the on-board entertainment system and on one of the channels you find invest-on-board. You flip through the video pitches of startups and decide whether or not you wish to make an investment in that Turkish startup. This crowdfunding model appears to be a collaboration between Turkish Airlines and eTohum, a startup and investment organisation in Turkey.
Honestly, I love the idea, and I hope that it succeeds and that more airlines adapt it and allow invest-on-board to beam on board their flights and add that extra pipeline of capital for startups.
This really sparked my interest. Will it work? I don’t know but time will tell.
So you passengers of Turkish Airlines, sit back, relax, invest and enjoy your flight.