This week, Google will open a high-profile office in the German capital, which has become a hub for technology firms. With the official opening next year of the Factory, a campus of companies including SoundCloud, entrepreneurs in the city hope to cement Berlin’s reputation as Europe’s leading city for start-ups.
The official demolition of the Berlin Wall began at Bernauerstrasse and Ackerstrasse in June 1990. More than two decades later, amid graffiti-laden Wall remnants and an outdoor memorial, construction cranes are still present at the former border between East and West. Today, they are helping to rebuild an old warehouse, slated to open next year as a tech hub.
Dubbed the Factory, the building — where armed guards gazed from the top windows prior to 1989 — is the latest development in Berlin’s growing technology scene. When completed in the first quarter of 2013, the Factory will be part of a five-building campus that will be home to 6Wunderkinder, a start-up that creates the popular productivity app Wunderlist, nonprofit Mozilla, developer of the Firefox web browser, and social sound platform SoundCloud, among other upstart companies. The area will also include playgrounds to inspire creativity, including a gym and space for local techies and innovators to swap ideas and host hackathons. This being Berlin, it will also include its own art gallery and, of course, a beer garden.
The Factory is to open in phases, and events aimed at start-up founders are already being organized, including this weekend’s “Geeks on a Plane” event, organized by well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist Dave McClure, the founder of the accelerator 500 Startups, which will bring together tech entrepreneurs and investors and baptize them into the Berlin scene.