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July, 2014

Hamburg – The hottest port for Startups!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

After Munich and Berlin our TechChampions Roadshow with WhiteBull landed in the third German Startup City:

Hamburg – The hottest port for Startups!


Hosted by Buse Heberer Fromm, Haspa, and Betahaus, we had the chance to look at what’s new and exciting on the Tech scene in Hamburg, with presentations from 6 hot local startups:

  • Inviibe: Encouraging employees to participate in companies’ innovation – presented by Gordon Prox.
  • Pay with a Tweet: Earning money with Twitter – presented by Anna Abraham
  • My Local Scouts: The Airbnb for travel excursions, presented by Jessica Brockmann.
  • Hassleoff: A great App to organize private events presented by Tom Lesmana
  • Atalanda: One day delivery in your city – presented by Rene Baisch
  • Eyefactive: Touchscreen Usage for multiple users presented by Johannes Ryks


Further great panel members shared their perspective on the Hamburg ecosystem.


TechChampions Hamburg


The ecosystem has evolved

According to Christiane Strasse – who has been an entrepreneur for 15 years – the ecosystem has changed a lot. It’s much easier nowadays to set up a company. 15 years ago people looked at her strangely, assuming she couldn’t get a job, and so became an entrepreneur. Her first investor was the local bank Haspa, who helped entrepreneurs. Today Haspa has a 20-person department for Startups and “Deutsche Mittelstand companies” of which many entrepreneurs aren’t even aware.


Access to Funding

Access to money is one of the key frustrations for entrepreneurs. The founder of Veloyo shared his impression that there is not enough seed money in the city. Investors and entrepreneurs alike seem to lack vision in Hamburg. One reason might be that there are many family funded business with a different relationship to equity. People tend to be cautious, rather than dreaming big. Philipp Schroeder suggests that entrepreneurs should get recommendations before presenting their projects to a VC. Because VC’s are overloaded with business plans, there is only a short window to grab their attention. Try to stand out – ideally if a mutual friend recommends you at least your project will get more awareness.

Bernd Kundrun from Faktor 2 points out that these days he is able to close rounds much quicker than 3 years ago. This is also due to the fact that they have created a small network around business angels who tend to look at projects together and make mutual decisions. Thomas Promny, investor and entrepreneur, says that seed money from an investor perspective is a tough way to make money. Seed investing is not a lucrative business – not unlike in the US. There is just much more available due to the giant IPO’s of companies like Twitter or Facebook etc. Many employees who started with companies like this early on, have suddenly earned a fortune, which many have reinvested. In comparison, Hamburg has money but most of it is in the hands of older people who are afraid of new technology … Time to remove the doubt! ☺


Create Buzz

Philipp emphasizes, “Be out there and present yourself and show you’re there. Make sure people talk about you. Don’t stay in your small room and focus on your product only – talk about it!” If you create the right buzz around your company, the VC’s will be banging on your door. Make sure you have a team: develop your company and have a team so that you can do both: be out there and develop your startup at the same time.


The Legal Part

Forian Brem, partner at Buse, encourages entrepreneurs to get a lawyer early on. It may involve costs, but better to be safe from the start, to avoid trouble (and further expense) later on. At Buse they are aware of the challenges, and charge reasonable rates for entrepreneurs.


Successful Startups from Hamburg

So? Are there only small digital companies in Hamburg? No, in fact Hamburg has created great companies XING (the only real competitor to Linkedin); Goodgames; and many more. Of course there will always be a comparison to Berlin as the main startup Hub. But while there is much more buzz happening around Berlin, this doesn’t mean there are necessarily better startups.


Entrepreneurial Activities in Hamburg

More and more events are evolving around the Startup Scene like

Check our more upcoming activities here!

More and more institutions are paying attention to Hamburg. The new fund InnorampUp is also a sign that more money is being allocated to the digital sector in Hamburg.

We are looking forward to come back next year to see how the ecosystem has evolved..

Munich Makes its Mark!

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

The European Commission Researchers may have gotten it right when they recently called Munich the “Best Tech Hub in Europe!” … At least that’s how it looked from where we were standing with WhiteBull at TechChampions 2014 – Munich!

There was no shortage of talent in a packed room at Wayra headquarters. Over 150 were there – from Entrepreneurs, to Investors, to some of Munich’s top supporters of Tech Innovation.

Munich TechChampions Farley

Markus C. MuellerBlackberry’s SVP Regional Managing Director Europe, and former CEO of Ubitexx (White Bull winner 2010) kicked things off with his tale of success … with some wise advice to startups in the room.

Special thanks to our sponsors Elance-oDesk, and Cartagena Capital, who announced the 9 presenting firms:

·         Solar Tower Technologies /
·         Testbirds /
·         Uniscon /
·         Little Postman /
·         Ysura /
·         Regiondo /
·         Trustyou  /
·         YOODOC /
·         Plixos /

Our panel on the Innovation scene in Munich and beyond featured Earlybird, Cartagena, Acton Capital, Target Partners, and Active Venture Partners. We talked about the recent survey placing Munich in the #1 spot for Tech. … The question of the night: Are ecosystems important, and do VCs care? The answer: Yes, they do care … but who should be responsible for creating them?

Munich TechChampions

An intense few hours, and a great night was had by all. We left with renewed enthusiasm for the Entrepreneurial scene in Munich. See you next year!