Philipp Rösler Backs FailCon with Message of Support

By Conor Rushby |

The first German FailCon will take place later this week in Berlin – and it has received some pretty serious approval in the shape of Philipp Rösler. The German Minister of Economics and Technology sent a message of support to organisers and participants who will gather on Thursday to try and learn from past mistakes.

Hopefully the Minister can also learn from the failings of government in Germany, both local and federal, when it comes to supporting startups – let’s hope he got the message from the Berlin Startup Manifesto. Either way, you can still get your hands on tickets to the event, with Silicon Allee readers receiving a special 20 percent discount. Just enter the promo code ‘siliconallee’ on the booking page. But hurry – there are only a few left.

With FailCon, the name of the game is to share past failures with others – kind of like startup group therapy. The hope is that attendees can then avoid repeating the mistakes of others. High profile speakers who will be revealing their own cock-ups include Dr. Alex von Frankenberg managing director of High-Tech Gründerfonds, Gunnar Berning, CEO of twago, and Steffen Wicker, co-founder of simfy.

There have already been FailCon events in Brazil and Australia, and one is planned in Singapore. So far in Europe only France has hosted one and organiser David Nagy, originally from Romania, told Silicon Allee previously he thinks the German capital is ideal for FailCon. “Berlin is a more exciting and a more helpful environment than a lot of places, but in Germany people are not used to sharing bad stuff when it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I hope to make FailCon like a campfire, so people can share intimate stuff.”

In a letter posted on the FailCon website, Rösler said: “It is not possible to exclude every commercial risk in advance. This makes it all the more important to develop a ‘second chance culture.’ Even if a first attempt at setting up a business goes wrong, it must be possible to have another shot. Other countries like the United States can serve as a model for us here. The German government is addressing the insolvency rules, and will have the waiting period for debt cancellation to three years so that people can get back into business more quickly.”

It all sounds lovely – but the startup scene is still awaiting more action on concerns like the taxation of Streubesitzbeteiligungen (small shareholdings of under 10 per cent in businesses).

The controversy stems from the European Court of Justice’s ruling in 2011 that handling international and local businesses differently flies in the face of the free movement of capital. The ECJ opposes the German tax code, as shares from foreign companies are not exempt, so new taxation laws have been proposed to make foreign and German companies operate under the same conditions.

If you’re interested in going to Thursday’s event, it starts at 8.30am at the Jerusalemkirche. Tickets can be found here – don’t forget to put in ‘siliconallee’ in the promotional code box for a discount!