German startups go back to their roots
German engineering has enjoyed near-legendary status for more than a century, and now German tech startups are looking to renew that reputation with a slew of exciting new hardware products. Bragi LLC currently stand proudly atop Kickstarter's most funded European projects, having raised $3.4m (13 times their goal) to develop 'The Dash'. These smart in-ear headphones promise an explosion of technological riches, including built-in music storage, fitness monitoring systems and even instant translation.
Other crowdfunding success stories from Germany include LUUV, a plug-and-play image stabiliser for GoPro and smartphones; Panono, the throwable photo ball that takes 360-degree pictures from the air; and connected robo-toys called Tinkerbots. The question is whether these impressive innovators can transition to market.
The Wall Street Journal remains sceptical, citing the amount of talent turning to crowdfunding, where money comes from product pre-orders, rather than expert VCs and corporate Goliaths, as a cause for concern.
However, Wired say that accelerators, incubators, events and conferences are on the rise in Berlin; while Ciarán O'Leary of Berlin VC fund Earlybird told the FT that closer ties with Silicon Valley represent a vote of confidence for the ecosystem.
Whatever the signs may be, the talent on show and the lack of exit strategies scream to us that David and Goliath must learn to dance in Berlin.