Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Old World vs. New World

Two places are popping up in start-up news lately - the city Berlin and the country Brazil. While these places are geographically and culturally miles apart, there is common ground when it comes to business.

investors looking at Berlin
investors looking at Berlin

Old world Berlin making waves

Super low rent is only one reason for entrepreneurs to launch start-ups from the ├╝ber-cool Berlin. Start-ups in the German city like the hugely successful Zalando and its backer Rocket appear to be motivating other investors to look at Berlin more favourably. ResearchGate moved from Boston in the US to Berlin and has Bill Gates as an investor. Although nothing is concrete as yet, these companies are considering IPOs, as are other tech firms situated in Berlin like Mister Spex and Wooga. Also to be found in Berlin, the food ordering company HelloFood aced the award for the 'Best E-Commerce Start-up 2014' from some 800 European contenders. With an unemployment rate of over 10%, Berlin could certainly do with the boost a tech start-up wave brings.

Is it sunnier down south in the new world?

Brazil is rumoured to have spent at least $13 billion on the World Cup. This is in comparison to the puny $1 billion South Africa spent on the previous World Cup. Surely there is no shortage of money for funding start-ups? Maybe. As always Brazil is a country of contradictions. While mobile technology is booming and digital intelligence is on the rise, people are also taking to the streets in protest of the large sums of money spent on the World Cup. According to Sergio Borger from IBM Research in Brazil, the innovative new technologically fuelled eco-system in Brazil is a breeding ground for entrepreneurial opportunities. The country appears to be one of the best business environments. According to the UN, it has the seventh largest economy in the world and the indisputably largest in South America, despite its reputation for corruption and violence.