Taking advantage of the UK’s uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit referendum result, the German Free Democratic Party funded a mobile billboard bearing the popular British slogan “Dear start-ups, Keep Calm and move to Berlin” which appeared on London’s streets. Start-ups have been flocking to Germany’s capital, evident by the rapid growth and development of Adlershof, which is home to one of the biggest Science and Technology parks in Europe with over 1000 businesses taking up residency in the investment hotspot. Soon after the Brexit referendum result, major financial institutions announced they would abandon the City of London choosing other European locations, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs quickly committing to opening new European hubs in a promising Germany with more businesses following suit.
London is no longer the superior choice for FinTech start-ups, with fierce competition for investment money, expensive employee salaries and a high cost of living. FinTech is choosing Berlin as its home with the city attracting more FinTech investment than any other European city and it rapidly doubled its share of start-up businesses in 2017. Nicknamed Silicon Allee, Berlin’s dedicated campus for tech start-ups which is just minutes from the Hauptbahnhof main train station. A well populated area with venture capital firms and innovative enterprises offering regular meet ups for entrepreneurs and community members plus an abundance of co-working spaces.
Nearby the tech industries biggest players Facebook, Google, Apple and AirBnB are already established in the heart of the city and Germany’s online shopping giant Zalando is a few miles away overlooking the river Spree. With the wealth of venture capital investment in Berlin and low cost of living it is easy to understand why Germany’s capital city has become one of the best start-up scenes in Europe. Rental prices are 50% lower than London with a modest apartment priced around €650 (£575) per month making it an attractive place to live and work. In combination, these factors mean Berlin makes extremely good business and financial sense. In the heart of the EU, Germany’s geographic situation places Berlin based businesses in a prime location for expansion and prosperity. With an environment designed to foster ambitious start-ups and the German capital offering unrivalled access to investor funding, Berlin is very attractive to start-ups.
FinLeap founded in Berlin 2014, is a venture capital firm that specialises in seed and start-up investments, investing in the FinTech industry with a focus on digital services within the financial services market. Building a FinTech ecosystem in Germany’s capital, FinLeap has launched 16 FinTech companies in the last 5 years including; solarisBank (a platform for banks to build their own digital products), Penta (digital bank for SME’s) and ELEMENT (white-label insurtech factory) and acquired more to add to their portfolio. FinLeap’s presence in Berlin alone could the very reason why Berlin is considered a FinTech hub.
Working hard to replace the traditional banking with a mobile offering, N26 is one of the biggest challenger banks and proving successful with more than 2.5 million customers in 24 markets across Europe and holding over €1 billion in accounts and this month launched in the US in and is expected to start operating in Brazil in the coming months. wefox Group a Berlin based insurtech who operate two businesses, ONE and wefox believe that ownership of data is a basic human right. wefox is a digital marketplace for insurance and ONE is a digital insurer and of course is active on the wefox marketplace. The company has secured more than $160m in funding, including celebrity Ashton Kutcher as an investor and has more than 2,500,000 customers using its services every month.
With the UK extracting itself from the EU in a matter of months, there may be no better place than Berlin for an up and coming European FinTech company to put down roots for 2019 and beyond. The British FinTech start-up Revolut, a rival of N26, certainly believes there is no better location than Berlin. Revolut, a 3 year old unicorn that offers banking and transfer services via a smartphone app has confirmed it makes perfect sense for them to base themselves in Germany’s capital and is opening a new European tech centre in Berlin. With plans to expand into new markets in the coming months, Revolut intends to take advantage of Berlin’s talent pool and will be increasing its 1,200 employees by hiring 80 new members of staff which will consist of mainly data and software engineers.
Looking for an investment property close to Berlin’s Silicon Allee? Behaimstrasse 25 just 20 minutes away from Berlin’s Silicon Allee and a few minutes walk to the river Spree. An exclusive altbau residence in West Berlin’s prestigious Charlottenburg, prices start from €355,000 with financing available to overseas investors.