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Venture Capital in Berlin

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Venture Capital (VC) is the key to success for any start-up looking to turn an innovative idea into reality. VC firms provide capital, resources, strategic assistance, networks and much more to start-ups at the critical early stages. In the past, Berlin and Germany as a nation has lagged behind its EU and global counterparts partly as a result of the nation’s culture of avoiding risk. Business in Germany tends to move slowly and in a prudent fashion which doesn’t bode well for start-ups. In 2013, VC investments into Berlin start-ups totaled just €133 million.

 

A snapshot of VC funding in 2018 paints a very different picture. VC funding has skyrocketed in the last few years with future projections conveying a similar trajectory. In 2018, a total of €4.6 billion was invested in German start-ups, a 7% increase on 2017. Berlin took a significant share of this VC funding with an incredible €2.67 billion flowing to start-ups in the capital, a 2000% increase on 2013. This figure accounts for 59% of all VC capital invested in Germany and is an increase of 6% from 2017. Berlin start-ups account for 4 out the top 5 largest financing amounts for start-ups in the nation.

 

Where Was the Venture Capital Invested in Berlin?

E-Commerce start-ups have always attracted the highest level of VC investments in Berlin and 2018 followed this trend. A total of €1.64 billion was invested in German E-Commerce start-ups with Berlin start-ups collecting a healthy 67% of this figure. E-Commerce platform Auto1 Group headquartered in Berlin topped the list receiving an influx of €460 million in 2018. An interesting emerging trend is the rise of VC funding for Software and Analytic start-ups. These innovative start-ups that comprise of innovative tech such as SaaS, blockchain, virtual reality, cloud, cyber security and data analytics raised a nationwide total of €670 million with €341 million funneling into Berlin. This 56% increase from 2017 portrays the increasing trust and interest in new, innovative tech start-ups. SaaS accounted for €304 million, almost half of the VC funding. FinTech start-ups also experienced healthy growth with €456 million flowing to FinTech start-ups in Berlin.

What Caused this Significant Increase in Venture Capital Funding?

German VC firms operate on a prudent basis which is in line with German business culture. In the last few years, many large international VC firms such as Atomico, Balderton Capital, Partech and Mangrove have begun to heavily invest in German start-ups with Berlin attracting most of the attention and funding. This flow of international VC funding has broken the cultural barrier of risk-adverse German VC firms. Furthermore, German VC firms have seen this influx of competition and the rewards experienced by international VC firms causing them to question their prudent methods.

 

The future is bright for start-ups in Berlin as forecasts predict the influx of VC capital to continue to rise year on year. 

Posted by Adam Dunne on 11 March 2019

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Frankfurt's Start-up Scene

Frankfurt's Start-up Scene

Frankfurt is emerging as a vibrant European start-up ecosystem supported by its esteemed legacy and finance industries. The city boasts a highly diverse and active network of businesses that are boosted by the region’s exceptional research and education centres. Frankfurt is the finance capital of Europe, dubbed ‘Mainhattan’, the city is home to the European Central Bank, ECB Banking Supervision – SSM, the European Insurance Oversight, the German Stock Exchange (the 10th largest in the world), Bundesbank, the German financial oversight body Bafin, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and many more. The finance industry employs over 70,000 people and generates revenues higher than many countries worldwide. The city is also home to a multitude of large corporations such as Schott, Opel, Frankfurt Airport, Merck KGaA, Sanofi, and Deutsche Flugsicherung. This incredible wealth and knowledge within the city have laid the foundations for a thriving technology and start-up scene. Frankfurt’s corporate outfits offer significant benefits to start-ups in the region. Frankfurt has one of the highest concentrations of finance specialists and coders with experience in finance and tax in Europe offering much needed operational support to start-ups. Furthermore, many of Frankfurt’s large corporations have launched some incredible initiatives to position their business at the forefront of technology and start-up activity. Deutsche Bank launched its Digitalfabrik or digital factory, a project for programmers and finance experts to develop digital banking projects; Commerzbank’s initiative CommerzVentures is investing in “the most ambitious young” start-ups; and Deutsche Borse unveiled its Fintech Hub in 2016, an initiative aimed at supporting the fintech community in Frankfurt and in the Rhein/Main region. One of the newest programs to arrive in the city is the iconic Silicon Valley accelerator program Plug and Play, which launched a new European fintech program in collaboration with TechQuatier earlier this year. TechQuatier is an international community, incubator and co-working place comprised of over 100 start-ups and 30 academic partners and academic institutions. Corporate R&D spending totalled a whopping €5.5 billion in 2017. Naturally, Frankfurt is a hub for the FinTech industry with 55% of all local VC investments being acquired by fintech start-ups from 2012-2017. The acquisition of Fintech 360, a trading network for foreign currencies, was the largest start-up exit in German history coming in around €725 million. Interestingly, it was the Frankfurt Stock Exchange that acquired Fintech 360. However, Frankfurt has a lot more to offer than just fintech and finance. The city has a high concentration of AI, Big Data & Analytics start-ups with 8.5% of all start-ups in the region engaging in one of the three innovative activities. These start-ups acquired just over 13% of all local VC capital between 2012-2017. AI start-up Arago recently received €55 million in venture capital funding. These innovative start-ups are boosted by the fact that Frankfurt has the largest internet exchange point in the world, the DE-CIX. Furthermore, there is an abundance of large co-working spaces dotted around the city, twenty-two recognised spaces as of 2018. There is also numerous incubators and accelerators that offer vital support to start-up such as; Main Incubator, Pando Ventures, Unibator, Grundermaschine, Commerzbank Content Shift, Accelerator Frankfurt, E&Y Start-up Academy, Merck Accelerator and UX Accelerator. Lastly, Frankfurt’s high density of research and education institutes provide the talent needed to grow these start-ups into highly successful businesses. 25+ institutions educating over 230,000 students are present in the city and some are infamous for their innovation. Research intense institutions like the University of Mainz are where instruments for Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity were built. At this current time, Frankfurt pales in comparison to other European cities in terms of start-up activity. On the other hand, Frankfurt’s start-up activity is estimated to be growing 50% year on year and with the wealth and knowledge in the city, the future is bright.

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Renting Accommodation in Stockholm

Renting Accommodation in Stockholm

Sourcing suitable accommodation is always at the top of your priority list when relocating to a new city. Finding accommodation in Stockholm is no easy task but if you are flexible with your price and location, it is manageable. We recommend finding an apartment to rent for one to three months when you initially move to Stockholm. There are significantly more properties on the market for short-term leases as landlords and tenants may be travelling or working abroad for short periods. During this time, you will the chance to get to know the city giving you a clearer idea of where you will want to live. In addition, you will have time to ask locals or colleagues advice on where to live, how to find an apartment and all the processes that are involved with renting in the city. It is quite difficult to get a long-term apartment to rent in the city like other European cities. In Stockholm, it is the norm to be offered a 6-month lease with a possibility of a 6-month extension. It is possible to get a 1-year contract, but it’s extremely rare that you will find something longer than that. In most cases, if you are looking for a contract that extends over one year, the landlord will have to ask permission from the board of directors of the building. Rentals: There are two types of rentals in Sweden, Fist-hand and Second-hand. First-hand rentals A first-hand Förstahand contract, means that the apartment is in your name and you deal directly with the landlord. This usually requires several years in the housing queue. The housing queue gives people access to rental apartments with capped prices. To join this, you must register with the Stockholm Housing Agency. Second-hand rentals Second-hand rentals are most common in Stockholm. A second-hand Andrahand contract is a sublet. This is where someone that owns their apartment or has a first-hand contract, rents their apartment to someone else. This comes at a cost and the competition is high. These can often have a 1-3 month notice period if the tenant/landlord want to move out/in. It is extremely important to make sure that the tenant is co-operating with the board of the building bostadsrättsföreningen or that the landlord has signed off on second-hand leasing. If you sublet a flat from someone who doesn’t have permission, you could run the risk of being evicted. Where to Live Due to the high levels of competition within the city for housing, it is not only hard to find an apartment, but it can be expensive too. Thankfully, Stockholm operates a very efficient and affordable public transport system that enable you to live outside of the city without facing an arduous commute to work every day. Areas outside of the city such as Sollentuna are only 20 minutes commute by tram and offer more affordable housing. We recommend you look outside of the city centre to boost your chances of finding suitable accommodation. Prices As mentioned earlier, Stockholm city centre is very expensive to rent in with areas on the outskirts of the city offering a more affordable option. Below is a breakdown of monthly rent costa for areas within Stockhom in SEK. Green = Average Price Light Grey = One Bedroom Grey = Two Bedroom Dark Grey = Three Rooms Photo Credit: RelocatetoSweden.com Where to Look There are several housing websites where you can find suitable accommodation; Blocket – blocket.se Bostad Direkt - bostaddirekt.com Qasa Residensportalen Andrahand.se BoPunkten.se There are a number of Facebook groups where you can find shared accommodation; https://www.facebook.com/groups/223360214358564/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/146281422217393/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/139276769508646/ Looking for a job that will enable you to pay rent in Stockholm? See our full list of vacancies here.

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Automation - The Impact on Human Jobs

Automation - The Impact on Human Jobs

The robots are coming. Automation is a polarizing topic as despite the benefits and opportunities that new automation technologies offer, the impact on human jobs is a real concern. Regular reports warn that the automation apocalypse is coming within the next decade with studies from Oxford and McKinsey predicting that automation will eliminate 30 – 60% of all workplace tasks. These tasks which are carried out by human workers account for a significant portion of employment in some industries. Not all jobs are created equally, and some are more likely to be automated out of existence in the near future. To truly understand the reality of the threat that automation poses, we must examine examples of jobs that are at a high risk of automation. The long-standing staple of the taxi driver is likely to be a profession of the past. The taxi industry has already been turned on its head in a few short years with the introduction of apps such as Uber and Lyft. The human element of ordering a taxi has already been automated out of existence, is the driver next? Autonomous vehicles are no longer science fiction with major automotive brands heavily investing in autonomous technology. As the technology continues to advance and proliferate throughout society, it’s likely the lone taxi driver will simply be replaced by technology. The ‘Future of Employment’ have ranked taxi driver as one of the ‘least safe’ jobs with an 89% chance of being automated. On a similar note, truck/delivery drivers are likely to be a thing of the past alongside taxi drivers. We have already seen the first warning signs with Tesla’s fully electric autonomous semi-truck entering the market. Imagine; you order an item through a well-known online retailers’ website. All payment is made securely through the website, you provide your delivery address while ordering, but instead of your order being collected from a warehouse by an outsourced delivery partner, which is often the case at the moment, a dedicated robot tracks the order from the warehouse/ It is then loaded into a self-driving vehicle/drone and delivered safely to you, with no human interaction whatsoever. Amazon have already trialled this new tech using drones to offer same-day delivery on small Amazon purchases. US Netflix series Black Mirror provides many insights into the future of our society and how technology influences it. Take episode three of season four, Crocodile. In this episode, an autonomous pizza truck delivers a pizza while cooking it in-transit. It sounds like science fiction yet in Silicon Valley, a company called Zume is pioneering the concept of a ‘robot pizza truck’. An order is placed through the Zume app, the self-driving truck begins its journey to the destination address, and by the time it has arrived at the delivery address, the robot chef will have a freshly baked pizza ready for delivery. Household brand PizzaHut came out in 2018 saying it was teaming up with Toyota to bring the robot pizza truck concept to life. The ‘Future of Employment’ has ranked fast food cook at an 81% risk of being automated. The pizza truck will automate both fast food cook and delivery driver out of existence. As well as the food, e-commerce and driving industries, another area which faces potential extinction in the coming years is that of customer service. Customer service spans across a range of roles, yet a significant portion of these roles are on the way out. UI chatbots continue to proliferate throughout many large organisations removing the need for customer support agents. As this technology continues to improve and become a more cost and time efficient method of customer support, why would companies choose humans? Evidently, automation poses a higher risk to some industries more than others. Jobs that are highly routine with a high proportion of repetitive tasks are most at risk of being automated in the near future. However, this does not mean the job in its entirety will disappear, automation will change how we work. The reinvention and re-engineering of jobs is the key story, not job losses. For example, automating the last kilometre of truck deliveries is an inconceivable task at the movement, the journey still requires a qualified human driver. Customer service agents can upskill and work in other areas of the business such as sales or account management. Technology and automation have always changed how we work throughout history without causing an unemployment apocalypse. Automation will no doubt change how we work but the threat it poses can be mitigated by continuous upskilling and reskilling. Jobs will change, it important that we change as well.

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Demand for PHP Developers

Demand for PHP Developers

PHP is a staple language in the software development world first appearing on the tech scene way back in 1994. In recent times, we have seen a flurry of articles surface on the future of PHP with some critics arguing that it is a language of the past and that there is no future for PHP professionals on the market. We thought it would be a good idea to present our own take on the polarizing topic. Today’s technology market is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and many critics fear that the times of PHP are long gone. This begs the question; is it worthwhile investing in PHP and creating PHP resources, or are they doomed to become obsolete in the near future? Though many new languages and frameworks are quickly gaining momentum, PHP remains in the top 10 programming languages worldwide according to GitHub, TIOBE, Hacker and Fullstackacademy rankings. PHP was ranked fourth in GitHub’s rankings in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. PHP was given the seventh-place ranking in 2018 and eighth place in 2019 by TIOBE experts. Hacker.io listed it as number eight programming language to learn and Fullstackacademy.com listed is as number six programming language to learn in 2019. Not so bad for a ‘dead language’. The demand for PHP from a business perspective offers an insight into the longevity and future of the language. PHP is a highly versatile language that can be used for a plethora of business applications from website applications to CRM systems to content management systems. PHP is perfectly compatible with a variety of Apache, IIS and MySQL interfaces and it offers a high level of control to the web developer. PHP boasts a high level of reliability and performance coupled with relatively low development and maintenance costs. This versatile nature and variety of benefits offered by PHP means that it appeals to both start-ups and established businesses who in turn then seek to hire experienced PHP professionals. PHP is used by major brands such as Yahoo, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, WordPress, Friendster, Digg, Source Forge, iStockPhoto, and MailChimp as well as being used by approximately 79% of all websites (discounting CMS sites). Short answer, there is a lot of demand for PHP developers. In the current state of affairs, there is high demand for IT professionals across the entire IT spectrum with demand often outstripping supply. Companies are battling for talent leading to a surge in salaries and remuneration packages being offered to IT professionals. This however is not the case for PHP professionals. Approximately 20% of all developers within the EU have PHP in their tech stack according to LinkedIn data. This figure is so high as PHP is a comparably simple language to learn, and practitioners are often self-taught. It can be learnt for free, has a huge community, and is open source. This substantial number of PHP developers has led to lower salaries being offered compared to other IT professionals such as Ruby on Rails developers with salaries dropping by approximately 4% from 2017 to 2018. Despite the surplus of PHP developers on the market, there is always room to optimise and futureproof your skillset to get ahead of the curve. Lavarel and Symphony are sought after frameworks on a CV with only 12% and 10% of PHP professionals listing them as a core skill. Recently, we have seen a lot of demand in the market for CMS skills like TYPO3, Drupal and Magneto. There is a clear shortage of suitable candidates on the market with these skills to match the ever-growing demand. Adding these frameworks to your tech stack will make you a highly sought-after candidate and also enable you to command a higher salary. What is most important to perfect within PHP is the same as every other language, your code. Clean, effective code is a priceless commodity, one that will enable you to command a higher salary more than anything else. The future is yet to be written on PHP, current reports do signify a minute decrease in the demand for PHP, however there is no cause for panic just yet. PHP is an incredibly well established language utilised by millions for a variety of applications across the world. Looking for a PHP job? Check out our current vacancies here.