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London vs. Berlin - which is the better startup city?

I've heard a lot of talk about Berlin of late and how much less expensive it is and also its great access to UX and engineering talent. London is obviously an epicenter of finance, but I hear you they go to berlin weekly. For a new startup, what's a better spot?

10 Replies

David Crooke
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David Crooke Entrepreneur
Serial entrepreneur and CTO
Being British, I can't stand London for more than a few days, Berlin is more civilized. However, both are expensive, and there is software industry outside the perimeter. Do you really need to be there?
Heidi Therese Dangelmaier
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disruptive category innovation for female + digital native market | new product + tech + brands + services + media
In our global community I believe anywhere.. as long as your product has vision, and there is a true market need.
Paul Travis
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Paul Travis Entrepreneur
Multifaceted Online Executor: Product Marketing to Program Mgmt. to Business Development
David, I think there are a few factors that your individual situation may dictate: access to capital, specific talent needs, ecosystem, and perhaps others.

My point is based on being in the Seattle startup ecosystem for 25 years, which has always played "second fiddle" to Silicon Valley -- except perhaps in startup ecosystem, which is thriving.

So I'd consider weight these conditions based on your situation, relative to London or Berlin -- good luck!
Jukka Niemelä
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Jukka Niemelä Advisor
Simplifier & possibilist. Entrepreneur since 2008. Proven track record in helping others succeed.
Consider Helsinki or Espoo, Finland. We have a good reputation ;) Supercell, Rovio (Angry Birds) etc...
Andrew Lockley
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Andrew Lockley Advisor
Investor and strategy consultant
Depends on sector and model
Larissa E. Lielacher
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Larissa E. Lielacher Entrepreneur
Data Scientist / Co-CEO at Flock Data Analytics
Hey David,

Berlin is considered to be very hot right now. A lot of start-ups, especially those operating in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) are based there. Compared to London, life is fairly cheap and from what I've heard, there's great access to talent. From what I know, there are many working spaces and in terms of quality of life, Berlin has a great reputation.

In terms of access to funding, I would say that London has more opportunities, and that they are more organised.

One thing you should also consider are your target clients. I don't know what kind of product you have, but in my experience, being able to meet potential clients in person makes things a lot easier.

Depending on your business, you may have clients all over the place and may need to travel. In that case, you should also consider airport proximity and cost of travel.
Diane Kaston
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Diane Kaston Entrepreneur
Director of Retail Business Development at E-commerce Jewelry Start Up
tel aviv, best talent, best city, best weather, tons of startups, tons of talent, everybody speaks english, and a beach!
Simon Bone
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Simon Bone Entrepreneur
Founder At Zoom Labs
the UK has a (recently re-elected) a government that has a very pro-startup attitude - for example if you're looking to have investors they will be able to take advantage of very large tax breaks on their investments using the "SeedEnterprise Investment Scheme"(SEIS)
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Does it needed to be on a City like Berlin or London to built a startup consuming customers there?
Andrew Lockley
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Andrew Lockley Advisor
Investor and strategy consultant
There's no reason to win your first customers in London. In fact, it's probably best to pick somewhere more typical of the population. London probably has the better startup ecosystem, but Berlin is far cheaper to live in, and thus development costs are likely to be lower.
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