There are cables hanging from the ceiling, reclaimed pallets on the walls, and the inevitable ping-pong table in the corner. Berlin's Rainmaking Loft exudes a casual, creative aura. This is where young entrepreneurs come to polish up their business models, making it the perfect venue to launch the expanded startup platform at CeBIT 2016, Scale11.
"Startups are the speedboats of the German economy. We bring them together with the big tankers and investors," said CeBIT Managing Board member Oliver Frese. The goal: "We want startups to leave Scale11 with a calendar full of meetings." That worked well at this year’s première, as Sven Zuschlag from smapone in Dresden confirms. The company provides a platform for business apps: "We are still working through our leads from the event in March. It went really well for us." Julia Kasper, who founded Holzgespür in Rhens, Rhineland-Palatinate, benefited so much from attending the trade fair that she intends to return in 2016. The company produces customized wooden furniture that customers can configure online in their simple and fun online store. "We came here to advertise and generate some attention, but ended up selling a few tables," added a still somewhat surprised Kasper.
State Secretary Brigitte Zypries from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs is delighted to see female entrepreneurs. She regularly organizes breakfast events for female founders in Berlin, and has started a campaign for female founders. "Looking around Berlin, it is clear that we have done a lot for startups in Germany," said Zypries. "Our industry in Germany needs these fresh ideas."
Florian Nöll from the German Startups Association agrees with that statement: "Established companies can learn from us 'speedboats'." He emphasized the importance of startups for the overall economy. On average, every new company creates 17 jobs, a total of 100,000 in recent years alone. That includes companies like Linguwerk. The Dresden-based company developed the smallest language expert in the world – and packaged it in a fun toy called Lingofino, among other things. It makes it easier for pre-school children to learn to speak. The technology company will be back again in 2016. As will Ampion – the catalyst for young companies in Africa plans to increase its presence in the Startup Hall.
The second Scale11 will consist of five modules: the exhibition, a conference, events, workshops and the popular pitch opportunities. The trade fair in Hanover expects 250 venture capital investors alone to attend. "Startups can test their business models under realistic conditions with potential customers and backers," explains Managing Board member Frese. The event’s tagline is "Get out of your cozy coworking spaces and get to know your target groups".
And anyone who knows the Rainmaking Loft in Berlin knows how hard that can be...