Startup Capitals: San Francisco vs. Berlin


Article courtesy of Lamudi

After comparing London with Berlin, global real estate portal Lamudi wonders: what are the advantages of Berlin over San Francisco, the start-up Mecca? Even if the Bay Area remains king of the start-up scene, Berlin has a few arguments in its favour to be a challenging competitor.

Home to the most successful and famous tech companies in the world, such as Google, Airbnb and Facebook, San Francisco and the Bay Area is the indisputable start-up capital of the world. San Francisco boasts an impressive 9,000 start-ups, and no one can deny that the city offers a vibrant energy to create a company, along with an easy access to financing your projects. Not only can you find business angels, banks and investors, but also motivated and brilliant partners to launch your own company.

At first sight, one might not think that Berlin can compete. There is however more than meets the eye. San Francisco has changed a lot and may have lost its disruptive edge. Recent unrest and demonstrations in the Bay against Google’s shuttles has shown the social consequences of start-up gentrification and that San Francisco now lacks diversity. Could the Bay Area be at the end of its innovation cycle?


“In many respects however, Berlin is really like San Francisco 10 to 15 years ago,” says Paul Hermann, Co-founder at Lamudi. “You can find in Berlin a really innovative counterculture. Living in the city is still cheap, so it attracts people from all over the world, in particular artists and creative people who are seeking an open-minded environment and a feeling of freedom that is not as strong anywhere else in Europe – and perhaps in the world.”

Moreover, Berlin lies closer to important markets: Europe, and in Lamudi’s case Africa and to a lesser extent Asia, which makes it much easier to venture into these regions. Being located in Europe can really make a difference. Daniel Roberts, Senior Product Manager at Lamudi, moved from San Francisco to Berlin two years ago and would not go back. “Visas are granted more easily in Germany, and talents can even stay in the country for three months after the end of the contract. Not to mention the quality of life that is on offer in Berlin and the possibility to take some risks while always having a safety net, due to the social guarantees in the country,” he says. “Even though the standard of living is higher in San Francisco, life in Berlin is much more exciting and boasts a more creative spirit.”

Last but not least, competition is fierce in San Francisco if you have a project. Especially if you are looking for a job, you will need to compete with the best talents in the whole world. In Berlin, companies give someone a chance more easily. “Here, we do not necessarily value people for what they already know and can do, but how much they can learn,” adds Hermann. “And to me, this is the start-up spirit.”

Visit Lamudi’s website: HERE

Read the Startup Hook article on ‘Taking Your Startup Global: The Lamudi Story

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