Looking back over the last two years of Berlin’s finest startups, leaves you wonder, what the years 2014 and 2015 will hold for the scene. The last two years have not been good. Though a few events shared more light from Europe and all over the World to the city with the hype of Berlin being the next Silicon Valley still going strong, but the reality looks very different. Reality suggests that there will be more companies doing more boring things instead of honest technology driven entrepreneurship. And no end in sight.
When looking at 2012 in the beginning of last year, it was revealed that it has been the lowest in investments for Berlin since 2006. Latest numbers suggest, 2013 went even lower. And while some have cashed out nicely, that was mainly in the areas of follow-up financing in Series-B or later. Series-A – the first after the initial early stage fund, usually in the lower millions – especially around those startups, which lead us believe in a creative Berlin, were nowhere to find. Leading to only one possible outcome: closing them.
Though the news around that, might still sound good, the fact that Gidsy, Amen and Moped were not able to create and sustain traction around their products, puts quite the dent into the creative tech startup scene. And runner ups? Well, the clear winners of last year were the big-fund-systems expanding e-commerce all over the world into other markets. Not really creative. Not even very techie. When investors became more cautious, e-commerce is always the safer bet. Save like in boring. Clearly visible when the local Fund-Manager of the most vocal Berlin-centered VC expands the meaning of “engineering” onto “introducing a new economic behaviour or making it easier / better to perform economic transactions” in his blog.
Ladies and Gentlemen, on actual tech-matters, we shouldn’t expect to much from this year. Last year was already low on new ideas or technologies getting funding, but even if there was interesting Early-Stage-Funding, this year it will probably become even harder for these unique ideas to get enough money to continue. The excitement on investors-side definitely didn’t last long. They’ve become more critical, more the classic German way: “What are you sales numbers? You don’t have any? Well, then let’s talk again once you do!”. Don’t get me wrong, there will be investments and they will be big. They just won’t go into interesting technology.
If you don’t have good numbers (yet), start raising even earlier than you did before. It’s gonna be a tough year.