The hype about the Berlin tech startup scene has continued this year, but as 2013 ebbs into spring, many are asking the same question: When will the hype turn into real results? As many of my contacts said to me on a recent visit: what we need in Berlin for all this hype to be real is a big exit. The most recent evidence that Berlin is capable of producing a decent startup exit is the sale of streaming music tech company Aupeo to Panasonic Automotive, although the financial terms remain a mystery.
And German media giant Axel Springer recently acquired Berlin social TV startup TunedIn, originally founded in New York. No price was released.
Similarly, Senzari, the Miami-based streaming music startup offering an alternative to Pandora, acquired the tiny Berlin-based startup wahwah.fm. Again the terms were undisclosed.
By contrast, London and the UK, where the tech hype has been in full flow for a while, has been coming out with some daily impressive results of late.
London-based Summly famously went to Yahoo! for $30 million while Mendeley has exited for as much as $100 million.
Then there is Cisco buying Ubiquisys for $310 million.
But of course we are forgetting the Berlin-based Samwer Brother phenomenon, where waves of MBAs are sent into battle to clone the latest thing out of the Valley for a simple exit, as happened with CityDeal and Groupon.
Can we really say that e-commerce deals, such as Fab.com acquiring its German competitor Casacanda last year, count in real tech startup terms?
They certainly do if you are thinking about sheer value creation. But purists would argue that e-commerce-oriented companies and technology platform companies are quite different beasts.
Whatever the philosophical arguments, what Berliners are really looking for are exits from some home-grown innovators and some bigs ones.
And while some of the biggest Berlin tech companies, such as Soundcloud and Wooga, appear to be shooting for a major home run, here doesn’t appear to be an exit or IPO on the cards this year for either.
What is to be done? Sit and wait? Many would say, let’s just cut the hype and get back to work. No one likes the boy who cried wolf one too many times…
Meanwhile, to keep you occupied, we present for you a selection from the hottest startup we found in Berlin lately: a Tumblr blog called WhenYouReallyLiveInBerlin, (for those of you who have tired of WhenYouLiveInBerlin).
At least we’ll have something to keep us occupied while we wait for Berlin to have its PayPal Mafia moment.
When someone says berlin is the new silicon valley
When someone explains how hard it is to run a million dollar startup
When a startup runs out of club mate
Who people think they are when they work at a startup
When someone tells you about working at betahaus
When you ask someone working at soundcloud about his sex life