Speaking about Julia French…
Now she feels strongly that Berlin is the place to be in Europe – so much so that she is setting up an office here in the German capital. She said: “We are going to move over here, it’s just a matter of figuring out the timing. We feel it’s the best place to be in Europe… What we are asking ourselves is how can we participate in the (Berlin) ecosystem? What can we do, and how can we help?”
The problem Berlin has is that it retains a relatively high (for Germany) unemployment rate and that typically means you don’t have high skill workers. Of course that’s a bit of a mis-truth, but one thing Berlin has for it is that the number of start-ups are staggering and most of them are customer-facing. Assuming there’s a skills shortage it means a lot of skills will be imported, which gives Berlin a unique central-Europe scene where everyone speaks English.
Dublin’s issue has always been that it’s a great city for tech companies to sit next to large multinationals (e.g. Havok making a games engine which gets bought by Intel), but it’s always middleware based. Middleware isn’t cool or sexy.
Berlin will feel a pinch soon enough unless it gets a major international hit that generates revenue. As great as wunderkit and the likes are, they don’t generate huge revenue. Not yet, anyway. SoundCloud is the perfect Berlin start-up right now. In fact it’s no longer a start-up because it has a revenue model that it can exploit and offices overseas. At some point every startup should aim to be a real company.
When startups move on and grow up that “startup” vibe is simply redefined as “culture”, and perhaps “ethics”. That’s when your tech scene gets big. Really big…