Open science city
... is a startup that’s sending robots to the moon. It’s taking on this ambitious task from its headquarters in Berlin.
It’s not the only company choosing Germany as a base for such highimpact projects. There’s also Ottobock, which launched in 1919 and is now a global company creating pioneering prosthetics. Meanwhile, Berlin Adlershof Science City houses over 1,000 organisations.
When PT Scientists’ founders were deciding where to set up their fledgling space science business, it was a tossup between Hamburg, Salzburg and Berlin. In 2010, after weighing up the options, they registered the business in Berlin. ‘Berlin is cheap in terms of cost of living,’ Karsten Becker, PT Scientists’ head of electronics, says. ‘It’s also a city with many interesting companies, especially startups, that we can collaborate with.’ ‘Workspace is also affordable,’ he adds. The company is based in Berlin’s Marzahn suburb, where it’s been able to find a large space with room for its projects at an affordable rate.
Aside from Berlin’s obvious appeals to startup founders – cheap living and plenty of culture – science startups in particular benefit from Berlin’s inclination towards ‘open research’, where collaboration and knowledge sharing is paramount. One startup bringing scientists together is Research Gate, which has built a platform for scientists and entrepreneurs to collaborate on ideas. Its German founder, Ijad Madisch, set the business up in 2008 after moving to Berlin following a stint the US. ‘As well as a thriving tech scene, Berlin has a high concentration of universities, research institutes and leading hospitals,’ Madisch explains of Research Gate’s decision to base itself in the capital. ‘What’s more, the arts and culture scene serves as an inspiration and attracts talent from around the world to the city.’
Meet the scientists
Connecting with those people is easy to do in Berlin. Events like Tech Open Air, Berlin Science Week and State Festival are interdisciplinary conferences that take place each year with programmes of sciencefocussed events. ‘We try to create opportunities for startups, academics and researchers to connect with each other and a broader audience,’ says Christian Rauch, State Festival’s founder. Rauch says the city’s collaborative nature is its key attraction for startups and founders from across the globe. ‘People are joining forces around different fields, such as bioarts, bioengineering and wearable technologies,’ he says. ‘[It] enables entrepreneurs and researchers from a very deep science [background] to connect easily with creatives from other areas.’
More info : www.braincity.berlin
This is part of a sector-by-sector series on startups in Berlin published by London based Courier magazine in association with Berlin Partner. www.courierpaper.com