At our recent AsiaBerlin event organised by enpact at The Drivery in Berlin, we brought together expat startup founders, investors, facilitators, the public sector, and the broader startup community together just before the AsiaBerlin summit 2021 (4-10 October). Here is a quick recap of what our speakers highlighted during their insightful talks:
The Founder’s Bench – Why Berlin?
Shoba Purushothaman, Co-founder of HARDSKILLS
Shoba Purushothaman is a co-founder of HARDSKILLS, a corporate learning platform that focuses on behavioral “human skills” workforce development at scale, with analytics measuring learning efficacy and impact on business performance. She has extensive experience with startups across Asia, USA and now Europe through Berlin. Being a founder among three, working from different time zones, she highlights Berlin’s plethora of talent and diversity. She intends to make Berlin one of their more prominent offices shortly.
“Berlin is a good place for us as it has competitive factors. Here we have access to tech and creative talent. The breakdown of borders is in Berlin’s history” says Shoba, while also bringing traction to the fact that patience pays off greatly to ambitious founders who want to make it big in Europe.
Bilal Farrukh, Co-founder of Integry
Relating to Shoba’s thoughts regarding the dearth of available talent in Berlin, Bilal Farrukh, co-founder of Integry, a platform that enables seamless integration across application software for higher efficiency, expresses his wish to set up an office in Berlin to attract this available talent. He provides a comprehensive perspective on the policy perspectives that Berlin can potentially enable for further ease in setting up and expanding startups. “Berlin will be at the center for founding new ideas. It already has a lot of hubs and the infrastructure in place. A lot of people will come to Berlin”.
The Investor’s bench – How Berlin?
Our speaker for the investor bench, Jag Singh is a partner at AngelInvest and one of Europe’s most active angel investors. He begins his discussion by highlighting the multitude of options available for an investor in Berlin. He also acknowledges the need for changes in the system to reduce the lead time in cross-border investments.
Jag Singh, Partner at AngelInvest and ambassador of AsiaBerlin
Jag Singh gives a perspective that when investors look for incredible returns, a lack of access to information increases lead time and demotivates investors from outside Europe. He puts his faith in Berlin adopting the style of other successful startup ecosystems and improvising upon it. “We just want to create incredible returns for our investors. Therefore, we also do a lot of crossborder investments, which is a very complex issue”.
Stefani Lu, Consultant Loft2China
Stefani Lu , a business facilitator, and consultant at Loft2China, enabling business expansion between China and Europe through marketing and strategy consulting to established brands, shares her insights to continue the conversation regarding access to information to founders and investors abroad. She suggests that the personal touch goes a long way in establishing bridges. Stefani also brings to view the difference in retail style in Europe and China while talking about the cultural differences between Berlin and China. “With us, it is all about e-commerce. This is a hot sector. In 2020, there were investments into startups in China over 7 billion USD”.
The AsiaBerlin Summit as the foundation for a global bridge between Berlin and Asia
Dr. Rainer Seider, Initiator of AsiaBerlin and the Head of the Senate Department of Economy, Energy and Public enterprises, expresses that the missing element in the Berlin ecosystem is the ease of access to information and exchange between investors and founders. This slows down the speed of innovation in Berlin. He believes in the potential of stronger bridges in enhancing the pace of innovation. He highlights the need to focus on networks and allyship in the Berlin startup ecosystem. “Our focus now is on the internationalization of the startup ecosystem of Berlin. There is a growing community of Asian-led startups in Berlin and we need to collaborate to grow a better ecosystem in the city!,” he concludes. Following this vision, AsiaBerlin summit this year will be held hybrid from 4th to 10th October to enable a wider network come together virtually and physically at Spielfeld and Edge workspaces in Berlin.
( The event was organized by our AsiaBerlin Partner enpact. enpact organizes and curates several AsiaBerlin activities such as Delegation trips, Monthly startup events, strategic partnerships with public and private initiatives across various startup ecosystems in Asia and more recently, the investor’s club and Landing pad programs to support founders in scaling their work through Berlin.)
About AsiaBerlin Summit
The AsiaBerlin Summit offers a platform to establish an international startup ecosystem between Berlin and Asia. We focus on the internationalization of startups across sectors such as Smart Cities/UrbanTech, HealthTech, FinTech, industry 4.0, AI, and Blockchain. Besides expert panels and keynotes by investors and startups on Days 1 and 2 — we will have an Embassy Day program planned in partnership with various embassies of Asian countries complemented by cultural programs as well as satellite events during the Summit. Find the full program of the Summit here.