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European Tour (first stop): Wir Leben Für Startups

By Yassine El Kachchani • June 15, 2014
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First you’re nervous, second you’re impressed, and then you fit in, you melt naturally in the background. This is how Berlin treated us. StartupDigest Berlin had more than enough startup events for us to spot, filter and choose from. (thanx @holgerd for the curation).

EVENTS

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We’ve been to the following events:

  • 19th Founders Table (VOLKSBAR) Tash.io Talks #4: “Time is money – when to hire an external team to build your product”
  • SenseDrink Berlin #31: HoldUp Heaven
  • 20th UsabilityFix
  • betahaus BBQ

COWORKING SPACES

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During the day we were working in a very warm atmosphere at:

The general feeling we had was very positive. Berlin is such an inspiring place. It’s a nest for artists, creatives and hackers; We all know how dangerous that mix can be (AAPL).

I was particularly happy to see that there were gatherings targeting wannabees/rookies looking for initiation and area education, in contrast with more advanced events hosted by veterans and attended by experienced founders with live products. This is crucial for a startup ecosystem to grow healthy; the whole learning curve is covered.

A few talks with hackers residing in betahaus confirmed the trend regarding the current favorite tech stack: Javascript Everything. EVERY-ENGLISH-WORD.js is what we were hearing, which is comforting knowing that we share the same belief (node.js + expressjs + AngularJS + MongoDB is our favorite stack, more details from Adil our Architect coming soon). So if you’re just starting, consider looking into this low-coupling real-time ready stack.

We also felt like Mobile Apps aren’t the hype yet. We are not saying people are still doing web exclusively, but compared to the US Market (yes unconsciously we do that math) founders we’ve met were more web oriented than mobile.

We didn’t have time to meet funding profiles to see what the scene is like, but one quote has stuck with me: “develop your product here in Berlin, but pitch in Hamburg, the money is there”. I believe this is the case for most countries, build in cheap places, pitch where the money is.

Our first contact with the city also proved very promising for our customer discovery. The number of non-technical founders looking for CTOs was very high and exceeded our expectations. Pitching them resulted usually in an aha moment. An earned aha moment as almost everyone took us for an agency first (which is irritating but very understandable). We will be posting our pitch when we get back from Stockholm to dig more into the reasons why we are a new breed of service companies (a startup shop).

OVERALL FEEDBACK

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Berlin is a place where you can quickly get up to speed and build your product. A one stop in betahaus can get you in touch with freelancers. Attending local events can inform you about startup methodologies and even provide you with early adopters’ feedback and usability tests. The city is inspiring and will make your imagination go wider. Add the fact that cost of living is relatively cheap, and you get a serious candidate for Europe next startup hub.

That was a brief recounting of our stop in Berlin. The experience was insightful, we met with a lot of interesting people and exchanged ideas with likeminded startup enthusiasts. Thanks to anyone who crossed our path, you rock sir!

PS: sorry for the short posts, we’re blogging from the road. We’ll be expanding in important points once we get back

Now go MAKE something. Peace.

Yassine El Kachchani

VP Product at hiddenfounders.com



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