About a year ago, the founders of T Dispatch, a startup specialising in cloud-based taxi dispatching and booking software, decided to move the company from London, where it had been based since 2010, to Berlin.
“We had the opportunity to do a presentation in Berlin, at an event called Seedcamp, which is where we were exposed to a lot of investors,” said company chief executive Bryony Cooper.
“And when we came here we realized what a tech startup hub it was here, it seemed to be even more lively than London, which I was quite surprised about.”
After being offered a place in an incubator in Berlin, they made the move. “It seemed like an attractive proposition for us,” Cooper said.
T Dispatch has since raised about €500,000 in seed and angel rounds, and has grown its staff substantially.
However, not all startups have been as successful in their Berlin ventures. Last month, online retailer Fab.com (which expanded to Berlin from New York, by way of London) announced the lay-offs of more than 100 employees from its Berlin office, after rapidly growing in the city.
There’s a shift under way in European startup activity, and whether T Dispatch or Fab.com is more representative of the larger movement is still up for debate.
In investment terms, Germany and other parts of Europe are certainly beginning to give the once-dominant UK a run for its money. Whereas the UK once had the lion’s share of the continent’s major investments in startups, both Germany and France are now nipping at the country’s heels.
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