Come join The Place for the free community breakfast. Every Friday at 10:30 (sharp!). Meet and mingle with members of The Place, share your story, make connections.

Please let us know beforehand if you’d like to join: hallo@theplaceberlin.com

We Can Start Up and Start Alliance are joining forces and are happy to invite you to We Can Start Up meets Start Alliance Demo Day at The Place, March 28th!

Start Alliance Berlin is back with a program dedicated to #femalefounders!

The batch will be taking place from March 18th – 28th. We are happy to welcome Startups from our partner cities WARSAW, NEW YORK, LONDON, PARIS, DUBAI, SHANGHAI, TEL AVIV, BEIJING and VIENNA. They all are interested in expanding their business to Germany via BERLIN.

Our fellow founders will be working hard during these two weeks! Come, join us, get to know them and learn more about the program outputs!

We Can Start Up! is a pitch competition destined to empower female founders in the Berlin Tech Startup scene.

AGENDA

18:00 Open Doors

18:30 Welcome + Keynote

19:00 Introduction to the jury + Startup Pitches

20:00 Announcing of Pitch-Winners & Networking

Jury:

Nandi Scherbl – Signals VC

Isabelle Canu – Coparion

Fabian Leipelt – WestTech Ventures

Daniel Höpfner and/or Henri Kühnert – b10

Mali Baum – W-Lounge

Berliner Sparkasse is taking in a new batch of startups at The Place for the months of April to June 2019.

Join us for the pitch session where the following 6 startups will compete for the chance to work at Berlin’s best coworking space for tech startups. Each team will have 5min plus a short Q&A. Drinks and networking after the pitches!

The pitching startups will be announced here after 14 March.

Please book your spot here

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The Place is teaming up with some of the hottest comedians in town to celebrate the vibrant startup scene in Berlin and help all our busy Innovators and Entrepreneurs relax and unwind with an evening of laughter.

You can check out their past events here and don’t forget to Sign Up, it’s free!

This time, Deep.Circle is partnering up with ESCP Europe Business School, Deutsche Ventures and French Tech to offer to you a “One-Day ESCP Master Class” on the topic “How to raise money in Tech”, with a special focus on deep tech challenges.

You will have the opportunity to work and discuss with professional investors and M&A experts. They will share insights and advice for tech founders & startups who want to value assets and get in the starting blocks for a financing round.

Programme:

– Life before and after IPO

– Investors expectations: strategies and values

– How to raise money: processes and tools

– The power and value of IP for tech startups

– What to expect and how to work with VCs

Some speakers:

– Joerg Rheinbolt, CEO APX

– Emmanuel Thomassin, CFO Delivery Hero SE

– Stéphane Valorge, Managing partner at Clipperton

– Otto Birnbaum, Principal Partech Ventures

– Markus Von Fuchs, CEO & Partner SKW Schwarz

– Gunnar Graef, Professor ESCP Europe

Seats are very limited! Please register here

Inside The Place’s Rebranding

Last week, we finalised quite a task for the whole team here at The Place — our rebranding. Today, we say hello to our new brand identity and boy oh boy — we love it!

But first, some backstory!

No matter how much you love your brand, eventually it may come time to change things up. Being an active part of Berlin’s startup ecosystem and seeing it changes so fast,  we matured, changed the way we operate and the way we do business. In the last few years, we were growing, cooperating, sharing, learning, adapting, shaping and innovating in our collaborative effort.

As our startup hub grew, we started to add lots of new features, such as our own mentorship program The Smarts, new event series The Place Meets, new workshop formats and so on. So, in celebration of turning four this year, we looked back on our journey and decided that it’s time for a change. It’s time for us to discover new ways to revive our brand and in some cases, make it stronger than ever.

Now, cue the drum roll, please

Here’s where our new brand identity comes in to show our new vision of this crazy startup life that we’re all living. But more importantly, it shows the core of The Place Berlin and the values that define us — the fact that we’re open, dynamic, brutally honest and challenging the status quo, at least once in a while.

A problem well stated is a problem half-solved, they say. What we wanted to achieve with the rebranding was to show our true character and the fact that we’re not about design furniture but about community. From the very beginning, our main aim was and still is to create a place for entrepreneurs to come together, share their knowledge and learn from their peers.

Our brand identity is here to tell exactly this story. We imagined something bold, a little bit crazy and very Berliner-ish (whatever that means:) and we’re happy with the result. We hope you like it, too!

As this is just the first of a series of posts with which we share more about what we do here at The Place — we would like to hear your feedback! We want to tell you guys as much as possible about our plans, programs and new features and we promise to take your opinion about all this very seriously.

Tell us what do you think in the comments below and thanks for following us along the way. You folks are awesome🎈

Text: Tsveta Stoeva
Brand Identity: DSGN Clinic

Since planting our roots in Berlin 3.5 years ago, we have crossed paths, had beers and shared experiences with many of the greatest minds in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We have found ourselves constantly inspired by our network of peers – designers, investors, program directors and entrepreneurs alike – who have challenged us, pushed us and managed to get the tongues in our team wagging as we discussed ways in which we can elevate The Place to the next level.

So what did we do? We decided to embark on a journey to unite the smartest people from Berlin’s startup ecosystem, and build a program through which they can connect with our community of founders. And so, we present to you: The Smarts.

WHAT IS THE SMARTS?

The Smarts is Berlin’s first equity-free, in-house program aimed at supporting early-stage startups. Together with our network of talented mentors and experts, we are creating a hyper-efficient platform in which startups can build business outcomes and long-term strategic relationships. From matching founders with successful entrepreneurs, to facilitating one-on-one introductions with investors, to curating on-point pitch training seminars with Berlin’s leading talent, we are working hard to ensure that our startups can find the help they need to take things to the next level.

WHY ARE WE DOING IT?

It is clear to us that we are not simply a space in which teams come to sit. We are a community, and we take an active interest in addressing the pain-points that we see all too often in the startup scene. Whether it is writing a business plan, connecting with corporates or raising money, we know that starting a business is full of challenges. That’s where The Smarts come in, to listen to our founders and connect them with the right talent to develop their businesses further. The main aim of this exclusive network is to encourage the next Wunderlist or EyeEm to hatch in Berlin

WHO ARE THE SMARTS?

We have over 50 enthusiastic mentors and experts who are at the ready to help our startups. Our Smarts come from various backgrounds, companies and corners of the globe – simply speaking, they represent all of the people that founders need: experts in growth hacking, branding, communication, corporate relationships, tax, book-keeping, fund raising, UX/UI, law, and so forth. You can check out their profiles here.

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

Our program has been built for founders and entrepreneurs with big visions, and we are on the hunt for the most promising startups in Berlin (or indeed, the globe) to join our community.

RECOMMEND A STARTUP // hallo@theplaceberlin.com

Characteristics of Successful Founders

Having the right team is usually what makes or breaks a startup considering the challenges that lie ahead at the beginning of a very long journey. If you plan to make yours a success story then you should know one thing: Lone champs are not the right choices for startup teams. You might find the most decorated candidate to handle half your workload on their own; but if he or she doesn’t meet the team spirit, you are going to have problems. Guaranteed. To eliminate such problems for you, we have gathered some traits successful founders usually have in common;

 

 

Flexibility:

Being able to adapt to changing conditions and agendas on the go is crucial for startups. You need people who are not annoyed or reluctant to change their perspective. People who has the best interest of the whole team in mind. Motivation loss in a small team can spread pretty quickly. Make sure your team is highly motivated to encounter whatever comes along.

Check our blog on ‘Creating  A Welcoming Company Culture’ for more information on this matter!

 

Solution-oriented:

Obviously, each firm is looking for solution oriented employees. In startups though, this takes precedent over a lot of qualifications. You need people who do not mind getting their hands dirty. Find those who would dive into a conflict and come up with quick, creative solutions.

 

Customer-oriented:

First customers are everything for a startup. They are your benchmark, your case study, your credibility and most legitimate feedback source. To conquer the market you will need to listen to your customers and create tailor-made services that are unique and innovative. Satisfied customers speak volumes without opening their mouths.

 

Responsiveness:

Being able to respond quickly to the business and customer needs will help your team go a long way in short time. As you can imagine, this qualification will help you capitalize solution- and customer-oriented decisions.



Inquisitiveness:

There will be a lot of unknowns in a startup, you will have to learn things on the go and get acquainted with new processes quickly. Most importantly, without letting it show to others. Having a curious team that is proactive in jumping into new endeavors will for sure help you save time and spirits.

 

 

Recapping everything; you need comrades who are flexible, solution and customer oriented, persistent and inquisitive. Long story short you need entrepreneurial minds! If you take a look at our previous blog “Finding The Right Founding Team” you will find some team insights as well! A hint; you will need people to deal with finance, business development and digital marketing in addition to technical experts.

Creating A Welcoming Company Culture

We know that today people are not just looking for a well-paid job from 9 to 6. They are also looking for a place where they can truly enjoy working. It was about a decade ago that the ‘traditional’ working environment became outdated; nowadays, one of the matters that entrepreneurs cannot overlook is how to create a conscious and welcoming company culture.

You might be setting up your own business from zero or transitioning into a new setting with new team members; in either case, you need a strong company culture for the long run.

Why is having a precise company culture so important?

As you know, startup life is never without its up and downs. Thus, a welcoming company culture will help your firm survive through harder times with greater ease! The company culture directly affects the communication of your co-workers, as well as their performance and general motivation. So, you need to make sure the company culture that you are trying to create fits the nature of your firm perfectly. If you come up with a fitting model, a more efficient and happy working environment is guaranteed! But, what do you actually need to do when creating a welcoming company culture?

1. Address the topic head on!

There are a few things to consider on the way to creating a welcoming company culture. The first one is, of course, never to postpone your plans to get started with creating your own company culture.

Otherwise, you might face real problems once you grow to the next stage and move on to become middle-sized. You see this problem more distinctly with companies that are institutionalizing relatively fast. If newcomers are not motivated properly or do not know what to expect, this will result in a disconnection between old and new co-workers. What’s more is, you might encounter problems with your employees yourself, as they will not know how to approach you. 

Of course, as the boss, you can force-direct your own relationships in the way that you want to, but having a general understanding of how to approach each other will help avoid such confrontations.

Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company – Brian Kristofek, President and CEO of Upshot

2. Keep everyone in the loop

Prepare materials informing co-workers of your company culture goals and plans. It might be harder for you to communicate your expectations to your team members once you start growing, so try to create a booklet or a slideshow explaining new members how you do business here and what they can expect. This will help accelerate their integration process and also put their minds at ease.

3. Have someone watching over everyone

A strong company culture means continuous efforts to sustaining a certain type of interaction. This is, of course, not a one-person-job and everyone in the company must pitch in with their own efforts – but you will definitely need someone keeping an eye on the general mood and coming up with ideas and solutions where necessary. Team activities or heart-to-heart conversations; whatever is needed at that time!

4. Get to know your people for real

We cannot advise you often enough to make a special effort to getting to know your team on a personal level. You spend more time with them in a day than your social circle, so it is crucial that you feel comfortable around each other and know that you will not be ‘hung out to dry’ if something goes wrong. Having an easily approachable boss will decrease the amount of problems you encounter and also increase the motivation of everyone to openly share and solve problems together.


5. Advocate for your team no matter what

Showing that you have their back on all matters against 3rd parties is the best way to boost confidence in your co-workers. A problem-free business life is far from being achieved by anyone, and mistakes will of course cause you money or job loss. Nevertheless, you have to take this as it comes. Watch out on how you react when your team members bring it up. Your reaction is everything to them in deciding what they shall do the next time such a problem occurs. You will set the roots for a trust-based relationship!

6. Pick your co-workers carefully

Be careful, not everyone is fit for the kind of environment you want to promote. You need to see if candidates have the potential to adjust to the way your team works. Identify your general characteristics as a company and compare them to the personal traits of each candidate.

Let’s say that you receive an application from someone who seems to be a perfect fit for the position in terms of experience and qualifications. However, in the interview, you identify a couple of ‘red flags’ that indicate that this person may in fact be a difficult team player. It is worth taking the time to openly question the candidate then and there about the way in which they envision working within your team. Their answers will likely provide you with insight into their ability to share tasks, receive instructions and collaborate with people from different backgrounds.

Shaping your culture is more than half done when you hire your team. –  Jessica Herrin, Founder of Stella & Dot

7. It’s not MY company culture but OUR company culture!

You might be setting up your own company, but you will be running it with a team. So, you need to characterize your company culture to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. This way you will not have to impose anything on any of your team members to the extent that they are uncomfortable to play along. Collaboratively creating your environment as a team is the best way to ensure that your business runs smoothly. 

Do not forget that we are social creatures. Working from 9 to 6 everyday without breaks is not the way to ensure efficiency. Search inspiration in personal connections and support; an outlet to be able to keep working at a certain pace. Corporate firms who make the mistake of overlooking this aspect of ‘work-life balance’ often end up with co-workers who pretend to work on their stations when the boss is passing by, but retreat to completing personal tasks on the clock. Communication is key – so be sure to continuously touch base with your team to ensure that everybody is not only coping, but flourishing. 

Happy team building!

Finding The Right Founding Team

It is super crucial for any firm to have strong Human Resources, however, when we are talking about a startup, finding the right founding team gains much more importance. Why? Because, let’s be truthful, the new firms are usually made up of the core team itself only. This means the smallest mistake in choosing the team will create a ripple effect and unfortunately, you will feel it deeply.

 

After being around startups for years, there are two crucial things that I have learned; one, it is a frustrating journey to succeed as a startup and two, if your team isn’t strong enough to encounter problems resourcefully, then you are doomed. And who are the must-have players in a startup?

Instead of trying to talk about field expertise or specializations, today I want to talk about the three most crucial positions that you need to fill ASAP to have a rising startup:

Finance

From the moment you found a company, the success of your startup depends on whether it can generate revenues and profits, whether it is sustainable or not. When it comes to finance and accounting there is no room for mistakes, you need to keep clean records from day one and always be on top if incoming and outgoing invoices or expenses/gains. So, you need someone to take charge of finance so that you do not lose track of what’s going on and who documented what.

Business Development

Starting from scratch, startups are all about business development. This is because a successful business will have its biggest growth margin when there is space for growth. You are starting from Zero at all matters. New company vision, new strategies, leadership model, operations, processes and so on. Therefore, it is crucial that you have a team member who can make conscious decisions on these matters and help your team find the most fitting models.

Digital Marketing

The better you position yourself in a market, the faster you shall grow. Startups who manage to effectively utilize digital marketing will not suffer from lead generation. Startups starting with limited funds can get a competitive advantage over big corporations just with a kick-ass digital marketing plan. Fighting big dogs on minimum budget is a skill every startup should hack. Needless to say, most of it happens through successful digital marketing.

 

It is our opinion that these 3 positions should be the first ones that founding teams should cover. Of course, every company is unique and has a unique selling point. There will also be field-specific recruitments, but from a business perspective these positions are crucial to fill. Find a good synthesis between the business and technical development teams. This way, you can delegate duties to respective experts on these positions. There is also the matter of personal strengths of course to bare in mind when delegating responsibilities. Some traits are needed by all and some aren’t; you can find more about these on our previous article “Characteristics of Successful Founders“.