Demystifying Startups: The Lange Nacht Returns Bigger and Better

By David Knight |

The Lange Nacht der Startups (LNdS) is back, twice the size and with a more focused look than its inaugural running last year. The event, which aims to showcase Berlin’s startups to the general public, takes place on September 6 across two venues.

In total the number of startups taking part is set to rise from 70 in 2013 to 115, while attendees could top 5,000, up from 2,000.

Deutsche Telekom is once again the main organiser of the event, but this time around has partnered up with the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK), the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) and Berlin Partner. The event will take place at Telekom’s Berlin HQ – as last year – and the IHK’s Ludwig-Erhard-Haus.

The LNdS follows on from a series of events dubbed ‘Lange Nacht der…’, which means ‘Long Night of…’, and which are designed at increasing public interaction with a certain sector. For example, the Lange Nacht der Museen – Long Night of Museums – where museums are open till late in the evening has proved to be a big hit in Berlin.

For LNdS, however, the focus is two-fold: Organisers want to help entrepreneurs and founders meet potential partners and investors, but also to enable people who have heard a lot about startups but don’t necessarily ‘get’ what they are, to obtain a better understanding of an increasingly important trend.

As Cem Ergün-Müller of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Labs, who is the main force behind the LNdS, told Silicon Allee at a breakfast event on Wednesday to launch this year’s event: “We would like to demystify the startup scene. … This is the future of the workplace.”

The 115 participating startups were chosen out of more than 300 applications, and include Amorelie, Outfittery, manualONE, Hoard and Blogfoster. Niek van Damme, Deutsche Telekom board member responsible for innovation, will open the event in the morning with a keynote.

Indeed, one of the main reasons for the telco giant to back the event – and a bigger focus this year – is to help identify potential partners which fit in with its product range, such as online shopping platform Barzahlen which has sealed such a partnership having taken part at the LNdS last year.

The event will be split into a conference during the day and the Lange Nacht itself later. Both locations will feature the usual array of talks, panel discussions and live pitches, with the final of the Start Tel Aviv contest also taking place at the DT venue, in conjunction with the Israeli embassy in Berlin.

Ludwig-Erhardt-Haus, meanwhile, will see its startups competing for the chance to appear at the Le Web conference in Paris later this year, as well as a re:publica satellite event looking at partnering, founding and financing.

Afterwards, the party will feature the beatboxing/blues combo Heymoonshaker, Schafe und Wölfe (Sheep and Wolves) and LARY.

Ergün-Müller added: “It’s not just about making it bigger than last year, it’s about making it more valuable also. Last year we had four categories, and two, music and games, were not as appreciated as much as expected. People were asking why were there no B2B startups, why were there no hardware startups. This is why broadened the scope.”

As a consequence, categories like music and games were binned, and alternatives such as green/health/biotech and data analytics were added, perhaps as a reflection of the growing seriousness of the scene in Berlin itself.

“There is a real need, and people are really interested, in understanding what startups are. A very big learning [from last year] was that there are so many people interested in startups, so the mainstream media is talking about startups and hyping them a lot, but maybe four out of five Germans don’t really know what a startup is.”

Admission to the Lange Nacht der Startups costs €5, you can buy online here or on the night. Tickets for the conference, which includes the evening, cost €19.