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Die Startup-Szene

Die Startup-Szene

Gidsy on Berlin Tech and How to Get Ashton’s Attention

(Silicon Allee)

Wilkommen! This is part three of Betabeat’s new mini-series, Die Startup-Szene, a peek at the up-and-coming tech hub of Berlin, Germany. We sat down with entrepreneurs from three leading young companies here in the city that is only very, very occasionally referred to as Silicon Allee.

Earlier this week on another gloomy Berlin day, Betabeat found ourselves in a gated office park. To the left: a Turkish convenience store. To the right: a restaurant that only serves whole roasted chickens. In front of us: a waterpipe decorated with stickers, including a Tumblr logo. Yep, this was Kreuzberg, the Williamsburg of Berlin, and if we were playing “you might be a hipster if,” we’d admit that yes, later that night we went to see Tune Yards at a beer hall around the corner. But it was only because Edial Dekker, the adorable hipster CEO of Gidsy, recommended the show to us.

When we shlepped up to Gidsy’s office on the fifth floor, we discovered the source of the Tumblr sticker. Two girls in sundresses working out of a corner of Gidsytown, an open, white office with irregularly-angled walls like an attic, comprise the New York startup’s Berlin bureau. A three-person consultancy also shared the office, dubbed The Maker’s Loft, as Friends Of Gidsy.

Mr. Dekker appeared, a 27-year-old with tight golden curls and a flushed face, dressed in a red checkered shirt. A closeup of his half smile and crystal blue eyes recently appeared on the cover of CNBC magazine over the headline “Meet the Brats: Bored, restless, agile, tech savvy… and your deadliest rivals.”  Read More

Die Startup-Szene

SoundCloud Is Now the Poster Child for Berlin’s Startup Scene

Mr. Wahlforss, left; Mr. Ljung, right.

Wilkommen! This is part two of Betabeat’s new mini-series, Die Startup-Szene, a peek at the up-and-coming tech hub of Berlin, Germany. We sat down with entrepreneurs from three leading young companies here in the city that is only very, very occasionally referred to as Silicon Allee.

SoundCloud is many things: near-infinite audio hosting platform, sweet dubstep remix discovery site, and recording app; its founders believe they are adding the dimension of sound to a too-quiet web. “Sound as a sense and as a medium is missing on the web,” spectacled cofounder Alex Ljung told Betabeat. Berlin DJs and clubs are quite taken with SoundCloud; browse events on beatguide.me, for example, and every music listing is dotted with cloud icons. Ask a Berlin entrepreneur which startups to pay attention to, and SoundCloud is the first name off their tongue. So when Betabeat started planning a trip to Berlin, we knew there was one stop we’d have to make. We wanted to see where the aural magic was made. And we wanted a t-shirt.

Betabeat met the founders of SoundCloud at an afternoon rendesvous in the Janis Joplin conference room, which contained a bright orange beanbag on which Mr. Ljung was reclining as well as a Rubrik’s cube the size of a dog. For a music startup, SoundCloud’s office decor is surprisingly verbose; quotes printed on letter paper were taped up in a line around the walls: “Objectivity is the view from nowhere,” attributed to the philosopher Thomas Nagel; “The violent and righteous are hard of hearing,” attributed to German writer Gunter Grass. One conference room was called “T.S. Eliot,” because Mr. Ljung likes T.S. Eliot. Of course, a poster of Kurt Cobain watches over the adjacent office bullpen. Read More

Die Startup-Szene

Casacanda CEO Roman Kirsch on the Berlin Startup Scene and Becoming Fab.de

Mr. Kirch.

Wilkommen! This is part one of Betabeat’s new mini-series, Die Startup-Szene, a peek at the up-and-coming tech hub of Berlin. We sat down with entrepreneurs from three leading young companies here in the city that is only very, very occasionally referred to as Silicon Allee.

Roman Kirsch, who skipped two grades, has studied in Los Angeles and London, backpacked in Australia and interned at Goldman Sachs. In July 2011, he and two cofounders started an Internet company most recently reportedly valued at $10 million. About six months later, he sold it to one of the hottest startups in New York. He is 23.

It’s enough to make you wish for some Schadenfreude. Until you meet Mr. Kirsch, that is, who gave Betabeat a hug when we met with him on Monday morning at Wohnzimmer Bar, or “living room bar,” a quiet and quaintly-decorated cafe in Berlin’s startup-heavy Prenzlauer neighborhood. Wrapped in Abercrombie, he ordered a hot mint tea with honey in place of coffee. He struck us immediately as, well, calmer than the average starry-eyed 20-something New York startupper, an even speaker with wry, smiling eyes. Still, he described his company’s acquisition by Fab.com as “the best thing that could ever happen.” Read More