Hamburg Invest’s versatile Startup-Unit Hamburg has been in operation since early 2018. Hamburg News talks to Veronika Reichboth, Manager.
Hamburg News: Hamburg Invest’s new Startup-Unit launched earlier this year. What is the objective of the unit?
Veronika Reichboth: The Startup-Unit came to life as a cross-sectoral point of contact for all startup related issues in Hamburg. It is important to note that the unit was established as a complementary, consecutive part of Hamburg’s startup ecosystem with the aim of strengthening the entire system quickly and without bureaucracy. The Startup-Unit’s main task is to market Hamburg as a startup location even more intensely on an internal and external level and to become a contact partner integrated in the startup ecosystem.
Hamburg News: How does the founders’ scene in Hamburg differ from those in other cities? Does it have unique selling points?
Veronika Reichboth: There are several pillars to Hamburg’s economy and short routes are one of the main features of the city-state. Hamburg has more B2B business models than other German cities. In addition, companies and their employees found many spin-offs. Hamburg is the third largest aviation centre worldwide and Europe’s third biggest port, which leads to an above-average number of start-ups in logistics.
Hamburg News: What does the unit want to achieve on a local level in Hamburg?
Veronika Reichboth: The aim is to raise the visibilty of existing offers for start-ups in the city, to answer questions about Hamburg’s startup ecosystem and to pass on queries. That includes promoting networks among founders, startups, colleges and universities, investors and established companies. But the Startup-Unit also provides information about many good startup networks and events. It is also responsible for setting up new networks and means of interaction in sectors where they do not already exist.
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Hamburg News: Which international goals is the unit pursuing?
Veronika Reichboth: The unit will step up efforts to promote Hamburg as a startup location nationally and especially internationally and to present the city as a leading European location of innovation and founders. To this end, we will set up partnerships with international start-up hubs and make use of them. Taking part in international fairs and conferences is important. Last month, Hamburg’s startup scene was presented at the South by Southwest (SXSW) digital and creative fair in Austin, Texas and at the Europe Days in Tel Aviv. There has been plenty of positive feedback.
Hamburg News: What in your opinion is the most exciting development in the startup scene at present?
Veronika Reichboth: The international startup scene is growing together and I find that very positive and exciting. We recently had a Dutchman from Rotterdam here who presented his startup offers in Hamburg and is looking for co-operating partners. In March, the next media accelerator (nma) and the Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR) invited 50 international startups from 16 countries including Israel, Turkey and Argentina to Hamburg where they were able to pitch their business ideas to top media and online marketing managers. This development shows that innovation does not stop at borders and can help build bridges.
Hamburg News: What are the three most important startup trends?
Veronika Reichboth: Personally, I find the ongoing developments in virtual reality very exciting especially the trend towards “tactical haptics” i.e. technical, hands-on tools that give virtual worlds a real experiential value via tactile feedback. I tried that out at SXSW and that was quite real and very crazy. Artificial intelligence is one of the main trending (startup) issues – irrespective of autonomous driving in the automobile industry or sensor technology in robotics. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether are another trending issue at present.