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Hamburg: the start-up alternative to Berlin

Financial Times praises the Hanseatic city. Centre for European Economic Research and Microsoft confirm: Hamburg has been the incubator of technology start-ups for ten years.

In medieval times, Hamburg prospered as a trading city state. In the 20th century, The Beatles honed their skills there. Now, entrepreneurship is the new rock ‘n’ roll, and the city’s image is being reinvented as a home for technology start-ups, writes Jonathan Moules in the British daily Financial Times. To prove his evaluation, Moules’ article is a long list of examples of best-practice. The first: newly launched Betahaus Hamburg, a co-working space that runs events for aspiring founders.

Capital of web titans

Moules is thus not surprised that the titans of the technology industry choose Hamburg for their German bases, most notably Google and Facebook. In addition, successful Hamburg-bred global players back up youngsters to the scene. Take, for example, Lars Hinrichs, who founded social business network Xing and VC funding network HackFwd. He has helped several start-ups by sharing space in his offices for these teams. Founded in Hamburg in 2007, Jimdo enables people to create a website quickly on computer, smartphone or tablet. Last but not least, Protonet enables smaller businesses to create a personal cloud server. According to Moules, also access to start-up capital is easy. The state-owned “Investitions- und Förderbank” provides grants and low-interest loans to early-stage ventures with innovative or technology-driven business plans. InnoRamUp provides grants of up to €150,000. Hamburg Kredit is an alternative funding provider offering loans of up to 500,000 euro , with better conditions than most conventional banks.

Innovative support for start-ups

In a preliminary report of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival, Germany’s biggest club event in late September, a David Graver of the US-platform Cool Hunting also praised the start-up scene in Hamburg and presented the five finalists of the innovative pitch “Startups @ Reeperbahn 2014”: Protonet, Sofa Concerts, audioguideMe, Familonet, and Tinnitracks.

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