Sharing Knowledge on Berlin’s First Startup Tour

By Lynsey Anderson |

Berlin’s first startup tour offered a unique chance for tech enthusiasts to gain insider access to the industry’s inner workings – including advice from top CEOs. The event, organised by F@6 host Derk Marseille, served to emphasize the spirit of openness which, like in all the best tech scenes, pervades Berlin.

Friday’s tour gave wannabe entrepreneurs the opportunity to ask questions and make contacts, but it also attracted non-techies wanting to find out what lies behind the Berlin hype.

And there’s no doubt that the tour was a big hit. More than 20 people took part, many of them booking through Gidsy – one of Berlin’s startup success stories. There was also an open invite to watch that evening’s live recording of F@6 from Monoqi’s groovy office.

First stop was Earlybird Venture Capital on Torstrasse. One of the firm’s partners, Ciaran O’Leary, explained to the audience what venture capitalists do; what the term means and what role they play in startup projects. It’s the kind of topic which would-be entrepreneurs need to have a good grip on – and it was no surprise that the Q&A session which followed covered topics like the best way to get projects funded, how to establish contacts and whether showing up at a VC’s door is the best way to get noticed.

Twago was next up. The firm offers an online marketplace service which matches up freelancers and projects around the world, and the tour covered more specific questions about creating and developing a startup. With less of a focus on funding and more on the initial teething problems that many startups face, CEO Gunnar Berning offered solutions to problems that people on the tour were themselves facing or had faced in the past.

Bookings for the tour were taken through Gidsy, and the startup itself was a key part of the day. Gidsy has already gone international, and there were plenty of questions for co-founders Edial and Floris Dekker and Philip Wassibauer on their latest investor, Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher.

More advice was proffered on how to get funding from VCs and how to deal with their demands. It was a popular stop – the other side of the coin, so to speak, to Earlybird.

Next stop was Aupeo!, whose CEO Holger Weiss shed some more light on how to found a startup. Once again, there were plenty of questions from people looking for advice on how to create an stabilise their own projects, but not everyone there was trying to get their foot in the door of the startup world – one woman from London was there to promote her charity N4YP, which raises money to send young people from London to Berlin to pitch their ideas and work on their own projects.

The tour ended at style-based startup Monoqi, with food and drinks laid on as the group waited to listen to the live radio show. It was a great opportunity for those present to get to know each other, reflect on what they had learned and share their ideas – the openness, in fact, that marks Berlin out as a special place.