A Google Panel on Startups as Merkel Meets Tech Stars

By David Knight |

State assistance for the startup scene was one of the topics touched on at the first Google panel discussion in Berlin on Monday evening, on the same day that a group of tech heavyweights met with Angela Merkel.

Conrad Fritzsch of tape.tv, Gründerszene editor Joel Kaczmarek and Nicolas Zimmer, state secretary for economics, technology and research in the Berlin Senate, were the speakers on the panel which looked at the question of whether the German capital has the potential to become a ‘founder’s metropolis.’

Earlier in the day, Christophe Maire (Berlin investor, txtr founder), Marco Boerries (veteran entrepreneur and recently founder of NumberFour), Joachim Schoss (Immobilienscout founder), Klaus Hommels (leading business angel), Frank Thelen (doo founder) and Lars Hinrichs, Xing founder and the driving force behind the meeting, talked with the German Chancellor about how the government can best spur growth in the digital industry.

The content of the talks has remained private, but they are the clearest sign yet that government officials at both local and federal level are increasingly taking notice of a phenomenon which they had previously largely ignored.

At Google’s new Berlin HQ on Unter den Linden, the panel – moderated by Dr Ralf Bremer – discussed what they felt was important for the city’s digital economy and how the government can best be involved, for example through funding help. There was also talk of what makes Berlin attractive – low rents, good work/life balance and creative lifestyle which, however, some fear is disappearing.

But as Nicolas Zimmer said when pointing out that there are 170,000 small businesses here: “Everything is possible here in Berlin.”

Perhaps the likes of Merkel can help make that a little more true.