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News & opinion

Berlin, a European ideas factory

07 Nov 2013

Cutting-edge start-ups and their venture capital investors have flocked to set up shop in Berlin, one of Europe’s innovation powerhouses.

Berlin has the twin advantages of cheaper office space, particularly useful for new businesses, and a diverse talent pool of entrepreneurs and designers.  The city is an ideas factory, with a vibrant and renowned tech scene.

One of the most exciting companies in this space is SoundCloud, which received venture capital funding to help it grow.  The great idea behind SoundCloud is that it’s inherently social. For example, the platform lets creators share their audio by giving them a URL or option to embed the waveform. Both the URL and widget can be distributed through social media like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, giving creators exposure and feedback from their fans, followers, and community.

SoundCloud is now the world’s largest audio platform and reaches 250 million people a month. Described as “Berlin’s poster-child startup”, SoundCloud is now a truly international business.

It was started by entrepreneurs Alex Ljung and Eric Wahlforss in October 2007, who travelled the US and Europe, before choosing Berlin as SoundCloud’s home. The business received venture capital funding from a number of investors to help to grow.

Alex Ljung said: “We created SoundCloud’s headquarters in Berlin as we love the creative, youthful atmosphere in the city and its punk-meets-tech vibe.”

And Berlin has also delivered on exits – Brands4Friends (€150 million), Citydeal (€130 million) and DailyDeal in 2011.  It’s no wonder that the city is rightly seen as one of Europe’s start-up capitals and was a natural choice to host this year’s Invest Europe Venture Capital Forum.

James Crisp, Media Manager, EVCA

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