Brits in Berlin: Tom Gardiner

  • Name: Tom Gardiner
  • Industry: Database & Business solutions
  • Position: Founder of Trevor 

What do you do for a living?

I am the founder of Trevor and I am working from Betahaus. Our value proposition: we enable everyone in your team to answer their own business questions, using your database data – no SQL knowledge required.

Why did you choose to move to Berlin?

I was starting my new company Trevor, and moving away from London meant that I could double my runway. I was choosing between Barcelona and Berlin.  Spent a week in both. And absolutely fell in love with Berlin. It instantly felt like a home away from home.

Why is Berlin the perfect location for your business/project?

Berlin is fast becoming the start-up capital of Europe. High quality of life and lots of interesting companies means that it attracts talented professionals from all over the world. The timezone means we overlap with both London and east-coast USA. And if I jump on a flight in the morning I can be in London for customer meetings before lunch.

What changes do you expect in your industry, if any, due to Brexit?

Given that most of our customers are in London, I think the biggest risk is actually the risk to those customers. Depending on what happens with freedom of movement, those companies could begin to find it much harder to hire good talent, and this may significantly raise their running costs. The uncertainty around Brexit will also mean that investors will be less keen to invest in UK-based companies.

How would you compare Berlin to where you’re from?

London is one of my favourite places in the world. If you want to drive your career forward, and work with some of the best people in the world, you certainly won’t be disappointed. There is also no end of things to do, places to eat (the choice of international cuisine is incredible) and people to meet. People from every nationality in the world can be found there; and I am yet to find another city that is as welcoming to diverse nationalities.

In contrast, the first thing that hit me arriving in Berlin as an Englishman was that Berlin has much much better weather. The sun seems to shine every day, and it almost never rains. I also find that people have a much healthier attitude towards work-life balance – London is work, work, work. The diversity, and expat cultures are very similar too.

What was it you found challenging about settling in, if anything?

Finding a place to live was an absolute nightmare. There seems to be a big discrepancy between the demand and supply of available accommodation; and it seems that Berlin’s regulation on rent control prevents this from evening out naturally.

And how did you overcome these challenges?

I spent a lot of time going to social meetups, and eventually found a place through a friend of a friend. WG-gesucht.de is how most people find a place, but as mentioned, you’re always competing with dozens of others for any room.

What do you love about Berlin?

The people. The weather. The parks. The lakes. The späti culture. The events. The lifestyle.

What advice would you give to other freshly arrived expats?

Meetup.com is your friend. Attend as many events as you can. Berlin has every kind of people. Find your people, and you’ll never want to leave.

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