LONDON, Summer, 2011: When you can gather 1,500 startup people into a car park on a warm summer evening in London, you know something is going on. When you can tell 800 people at a joint startup party in Berlin that they will have to PAY if they LEAVE the party before 8am, you know something is going on.
And so it is in London and Berlin. Other European centres – Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Belgrade and beyond – are clearly generating their own startup clusters. But right now, it’s London and Berlin which are becoming the natural centres of gravity for the European Tech scene. When a VC says to you – as they said to me the other day “I am spending my days on planes between London and Berlin” – then you realise things really are happening. This is the European equivalent of the “NYC-SF red-eye” right now (without the red eye).
It’s obvious to see why. London is hugely international, Europe’s largest financial centre and a natural landing point for visitors from the Valley. It also has its own natural startup cluster in East London, or Silicon Roundabout (which we’ve been documenting in a series of films here).
Berlin, meanwhile, is cheap to live and work in, has a natural affinity for attracting talent from all over Europe (especially Central and East where there are rich engineering talent pools), and has an increasing international scene of technology founders. It’s also throwing off its shackles as a clone factory, something evidenced by the recent declaration of an “anti-copycat revolution“.
Thus, last Thursday night this week the annual Moo party – an annual fixture on the London scene – attracted 1,500 people into London, and it was only three weeks ago that SoundCloud and EyeEm attracted 800 people to theirs.
And let’s not forget our very own TechCrunch Europe Summer CrunchUp.
This September will see new events like the Advance Conference and Pirate Summit in Cologne, How To Web in Central Europe… Next week is Seedcamp Week in London, StartupWeek in Vienna, Dublin’s DWS / F.ounders in the Autumn, Le Web in Paris… the list goes on. Innovative, European startups who want to take on the world are flowering like they have never flowered before, and they have the platforms to showcase themselves.
If there was a 1967 Summer of Love in the history of European startups, then Summer 2011 was it. Were you there?
Welcome to the revolution.
BERLIN, Summer, 2011