My name is Florian and I will be your guest-blogger for this evening. Until recently I was co-founder and head of PR and marketing at a startup called shoutr, where I was responsible for getting shoutr featured in several industry blogs, contributed to our win at the Businessplan-Competition Berlin-Brandenburg, and our acceptance into Startupbootcamp, one of Europe’s best international accelerator programs. Being an experienced Berlin startup guy, Roldano asked me to share a few insights and experiences with the readers of Startüberlin. Being the nice guy that I am, I said sure. I also jump at every chance I get to have my name and picture displayed. ;-)
Believe the Hype
… or don’t, but the hype can be helpful for your startup. You can leverage the hype to your advantage in order to get attention. Many media outlets like to put the buzzword “Berlin Startup” in their headlines. Whenever you pitch your startup to a journalist, including that your are situated in Berlin in your e-mail might just do the trick for you.
What is more, the fact that rents are still comparatively cheap and that the city has a lot to offer means that many young and talented people are wanting to move here. You can leverage that in order to attract talent. An internship at your startup might just be the right excuse for whomever you are seeking to hop on a plane and come to Berlin.
What we Germans call Vitamin B
Vitamin B (the B stands for “Beziehungen”, meaning connections) is essential. From my experience at shoutr I have learned that it is important to talk to people and to let them know that you are out there. A casual conversation with somebody over a cocktail might lead you to what you are looking for, whether it be funding, talent or customers. There are a lot of events going on in Berlin every week and attendance pays off. Berlin – StartupDigest is a good place to find out about events.
Some of the events might seem pricey. If they are, try to search the web for giveaway tickets. Many news outlets, like Startüberlin, get a number of them to offer to their readers for free. Sometimes it is even worthwhile to send an e-mail to the organizers and explain to them that you are just starting out and are short on cash. Most of them will come down with the price.
If you do the math, the stake in your company that accelerators ask for might seem like a lot. 10% for 25,000 € or 8% for 15,000 € is a big chunk for comparatively little money. However, the money is not really why you take part in an accelerator program. Startupbootcamp, where we went with shoutr, provides so much more than money. Joining Startupbootcamp was one of the best decisions shoutr made. The quality of angel investors and mentors that helped us work out our problem areas was outstanding. We were prepared for everything a startup needs to know, such as how to approach VC’s. The community vibe made the experience even better. With ten teams together in one co-working space, each team member brings different expertise, and chances are that one person always has the right answer to whatever problem you have at the moment. Startupbootcamp launched an entrepreneurs in residence program, where six seasoned people were tasked with providing guidance and support. I made great use of that when working at shoutr. Whenever I had questions about anything related to PR and/or marketing I approached Kalie Moore. She helped me out every time and still does. So I can certainly recommend accelerators, especially Startupbootcamp. There are a lot of accelerators and incubators in Berlin. You can find the right one for you on Berlinstartupmap.
I hope this information was helpful to everybody who is just about to start out. If anyone has any questions or would like to comment on what I have written, feel free to do so. I am also on the lookout for new PR and marketing opportunities. To find out more about me take a look at my Google+ profile.