Mozilla Joins the Factory as the Bulldozers Move In

By David Knight |

The bulldozers have moved in to start their work alongside the path of the former Berlin Wall – and there is more good news for the Factory with Mozilla the latest big tech name to sign up. The non-profit software foundation, responsible for the Firefox browser, will move in next year.

They will join the likes of SoundCloud at Berlin’s acclaimed new 10,000 square-meter tech hub centered around the former Oswald Brauerei building. Several of Berlin’s home-grown tech innovators have already set up camp in the first phases of the complex.

The idea behind the Factory is for young startups and more established tech companies to form closer ties and develop synergies naturally. It will also serve as an epicenter for Berlin’s blooming yet geographically fractured startup scene.

Spearheaded by Simon Schaefer, the project was initiated by JMES Investments, a Berlin-based angel and seed investor together with s+p Real Estate. The early stage startups who have moved in since the Factory opened in June include Toast, Urge iO, Views and Four Sektor, which includes the Silicon Allee editorial team.

The newly-completed building where SoundCloud are taking up residence

With SoundCloud also taking up residence and work on the main building well under way, the announcement of Mozilla’s arrival comes with the Factory already starting to buzz. Mozilla, described as a Web pioneer and advocate, creates and promotes open standards that encourage innovation. Its CFO Jim Cook said: “As an innovator in the Web space and as a project driven by community, Mozilla is thrilled to make the Factory our permanent Berlin home. The makers and tenants of the Factory share the same spirit as Mozilla. We are looking forward to playing a more active role in the vibrant Berlin Internet community, building for the open web right where new web trends are created.”

Simon Schaefer said: “As a global non-profit organization, Mozilla has been accelerating innovation around the open Web for almost 15 years. With this in mind, they’re a perfect match for the Factory’s tenants, providing Berlin startups with another valuable link to resources and mentors worldwide.”

When completed next year, the Factory will include five buildings in the central Mitte district, featuring a conference area, fitness center, basketball court and art gallery alongside a restaurant and deli. The former Oswald Brauerei on Rheinsberger Strasse is being completely renovated and transformed, including the addition of two new stories. The structure is adjacent to a former district boundary which marked the border between East and West Berlin, and the Wall memorial is located nearby.

The interior of the Factory’s main building in a picture taken on July 8.