Incubation and Start-ups Berlin

Berlin is one of Germany’s start-up hotspots. Due to its fairly low living and renting conditions, it naturally attracts young professionals and new business. Within the game sector, there are also a fair number of start-ups (intent to grow quickly, often with an exit strategy in place), but also indie studios (small teams with no particular policy of quick growth). The study on the Berlin Game Industry (published March 2018) mentions 138 games business, the 2018 report by the German Games Industry Association (game e.V.) states 175 game developers and publishers (though companies being both might have been counted twice).

There is currently only one specific game incubator under construction which is connected to the University of Applied Sciences and their game design study programme. The incubator is called DE:HIVE.

There are two specific co-working spaces for games and related business that are based on giving each other mutual support and advice: Saftladen Indie Games Collective and Happy Tuesday. Otherwise, there are many co-working opportunities, and several technical incubators (most driven by specific companies such as Telekom, Axel Springer, Microsoft). There is a business incubator without dedicated fields of expertise: Factory Berlin works with 1,000 members at 2 large locations (they also hosted the Google start-up campus).

Universities and tertiary schools offer several start-up centres. E.g. Berlin School Economics and Law in Berlin with their start-up incubator. In terms of games accelerator, there is Target Games with a contract with Global Top Round (GTR).

There is a growing awareness of the need to support start-ups in general, in particular in the “Digital Business” sector. The state of Berlin offers a range of information and networking sources, but also the opportunity for promotion.

The State of Berlin also published a Start-up Agenda (available only in German) in 2016 with the results of an analysis of the start-up status quo and the plans for optimisation of the start-up environment.

Further, there is the initiative startup:net berlinbrandenburg of the non-profit organisation media.net berlinbrandenburg e.V. dedicated to bring investors, businesses, lobbyists, politicians, universities and start-ups together, with investors dinner, start:up club.

In particular for game start-up, media.net berlinbrandenburg e.V. brings together investors with game start-ups through their EU funded project BerlinBalticNordic.net through matchmaking events at different games conventions or through travel tours to incubators and AAA studios in other countries.

There are also several financial support schemes which apply to start-ups. The Berlin Partner website lists 13 VC organisations (including the business angel club), and mentions several accelerators and incubators of different provenance.

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Status: 01/2019

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BGZ Berliner Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit mbH