‘Web Summit is the best platform you can have’ – Berlin Partner

Maeve Harris's avatar
Maeve Harris

We chatted to Berlin Partner about supporting startups, fostering entrepreneurship and why Web Summit is the perfect place to grow your startup.

For more than 20 years, Berlin Partner – the economic development agency of the city of Berlin – has been supporting business and entrepreneurial expansion in Germany’s capital city.

Focused on developing ecosystems to support Berlin-based companies, Berlin Partner helps businesses with talent and workspace acquisition, funding, and global expansion.

Where does Web Summit come in?

According to Markus Facklam, head of unit international at Berlin Partner, Web Summit has been part of the Berlin Partner’s trade programme for quite some time now, making the agency’s business dealings “super easy” across Europe.

“We use the event to mainly attract companies, reaching out to them and trying to convince them to set up their operations in Berlin,” said Markus. “Our main priority at Web Summit is to create as many business leads as possible.”

Markus said that due to Web Summit’s unique design and physical layout, connecting with international talent, potential investors and business leads is simple.

“The combination of startup booths, the ability to explore the event floor for lead generation, and the mobile app makes business development super easy,” Markus added. “What we’ve found is that Web Summit is the best platform you can have because it’s a global event, so it’s not only the European market but there are also booths from pretty much every continent.”

For most startups, money is tight, so finding and connecting with the right people is paramount.

“You want to have the right mixture of proactive and reactive lead generation,” said Markus. So with the various startup zones at Web Summit, “it’s actually a cheaper solution to lead generation compared to other events”.

According to Markus, “the event really makes the scaling and connecting process very, very easy for startups. And I think this is what makes it stand out compared to other conferences and events.”

Over the last few years, Berlin Partner has helped endorse more than 20 unicorns that have become household names across Europe and around the world, including the German online retailer Zalando.

But what has contributed to the city’s scaling success?

Markus claimed it’s due to Berlin’s rich talent pool. “We have talent from over 190 countries working here in Berlin,” with India representing the largest influx in recent years.

“The city is really kind of like a talent melting pot because it’s extremely international. It’s very easy to get around Berlin speaking English. I think Brexit has also led a lot of people to emigrate, with Berlin being more and more recognised as an international English-speaking talent hub,” said Markus.

Exposing businesses that are talent-laden with professionals from around the world to a larger audience is key to what Markus and his team do, and bringing dozens of Berlin-based startups to Lisbon each November is an important part of Berlin Partners’ plan.

However, attending is one thing. Making an event like Web Summit work for Markus’ many businesses is something else.

“I would really recommend reaching out to people as soon as you sign up for Web Summit,” said Markus. “Activate your profile and take some time each day to track attending companies to reach out and schedule meetings. I’d say you should schedule about a third of your meetings before you even step on the plane.”

Markus continued, “You don’t want to arrive at Web Summit underprepared. The day before the event is too late to start the process. You want to be properly prepared well before the event to really maximise your time and get the most out of the event.”

“So my advice would be to do your research and schedule your meetings. If you only wait for reactive business or reactive lead generation, you’re doing it wrong.”

For more information about Berlin Partner, visit their website.

Main Image: Berlin Partner

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