German Goliaths seek Davids in droves
Germany is cementing its place as one of Europe's premiere nations for tech startups. Building on its traditions of high quality engineering and a sizeable domestic market, the country has created an ideal environment in which to encourage a growing crowd of technological innovators, disrupters and leading entrepreneurs.
The developing trend was quickly spotted by the Berlin headquartered media house, Axel Springer. The global publisher launched its own in-house accelerator, Plug and Play, last year, and now offers startups a raft of opportunities, from mentoring and coaching to seed funding, in the hope of uncovering the next trail blazing digital success story.
In a similar move, the German transport company, Deutsche Bahn, is actively encouraging its staff to work with the Berlin-based accelerator Betahaus. Since the initiative first started, this industry Goliath has experimented with new ticket machine technology, hand gestures and augmented reality via Google Glass.
And, after a lengthy spell in the doldrums, renewed interest from private equity and Venture Capital funds is aiding the startup boom. Sequoia Capital, Union Square Ventures and even Microsoft's Bill Gates have all invested heavily in recent months. All this activity just goes to show the disruptive effect that startups can have on any industry, and it seems that the world's tech Goliaths are starting to realise the potential of the Davids around them.