Updated: Feb 10
It’s no secret that Berlin is fast establishing itself as a European startup hub. New, burgeoning startups are popping up daily and joining more established players on the Berlin market. With a 52% international workforce, these startups are leading to a considerable increase in job opportunities for non-German speakers in Berlin.
Staggeringly, a new startup is estimated to be created every 20 minutes in Berlin. Capital investment is flowing into the German capital, which when coupled with international talent and a creative milieu, has created fertile ground for a growing startup scene that is showing no signs of slowing up!
In this blog post, we profile some of the most promising and popular of these Berlin-based startups and take a look at some of the roles available for non-German speakers looking to make their mark in the startup landscape.
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What roles are available in the Berlin startup sector?
While there is a constant stream of new professional business jobs in Berlin’s startup sector, the sector is particularly flush with opportunities in tech and IT roles. With a growing number of English-speaking tech jobs in Berlin, some people are even coining the nickname Silicon Allee for the German capital’s booming technology sector. In particular, Berlin’s startups offer a considerable number of opportunities in:
iOS and Android Development
Backend and Frontend Development
Full Stack and Software Development
Data Analysis and Data Science
Web Design, UX/UI
Technical Support Services
Whether operating in the field of food, fashion, banking, music or tourism, the vast majority of Berlin’s startups require a full suite of tech professionals. But while tech workers often form the core of Berlin’s startup scene, there are also a large number of business roles at the city’s startups. Here, you will find ample roles in:
Startups are often associated with a slightly more chaotic, ad hoc style, and roles are generally more loosely defined than in established enterprises. This brings opportunities for taking on additional opportunities and gaining wider experience, even if working in entry-level positions. However, the Berlin startup sector will often require you to work longer hours and be more adaptive to change/resilient to pressure than if working in a more traditional German company. If this suits you, then here are some top employers and names to look out for when looking for a startup job in the German capital:
The Heavy Hitters
Zalando – a titan of the European online fashion industry, Zalando has quickly established itself as one of Berlin’s most exciting and successful startup companies.
Rocket Internet – the company specialises in building startups and invests in internet companies. Notable success stories include HelloFresh, home24 and Delivery Hero.
N26 – as Europe’s first completely mobile bank, N26 are breathing fresh life into personal banking and taking on age-old ‘bricks and mortar’ financial institutions.
GetYourGuide – the company is an online marketplace and booking engine for booking tours and excursions around the world.
HelloFresh – a world-leading meal kit company, HelloFresh delivers recipes and fresh ingredients directly to customers.
SoundCloud – the world’s biggest audio and music streaming platform with 180 million records and counting!
Wayfair – an e-commerce company that sells over 10 million home goods and furnishings with revenues surpassing USD 6 billion in 2018.
Delivery Hero – an online-food delivery service operating in over 40 countries. The Berlin HQ employs over 1000 staff from 80 different countries.
home24 – home and living e-commerce platform connecting customers to a broad range of products.
FinLeap – Fintech experts who specialise in building tech companies for the insurance, asset management and banking industries.
While these are some of the bigger names in the Berlin startup scene, we also recommend checking out:
Babbel – combining state-of-the-art tech with effective education methods, Babbel is a language learning app and platform currently offering 14 different languages. Based in Mitte, the company currently has approximately 450 employees.
Onefootball – a platform for the football lovers out there. Onefootball brings you news, scores and statistics from over 100 leagues and competitions.
Bumble – a location-based dating app that is already valued at over $1 billion and boasts over 55 million users.
Blinkist – a book-summarising service that allows you to read the main lessons from 3000+ books in 15 minutes or less.
FinCompare – a market network that assists companies in finding, comparing and securing financing solutions.
Grover – a company that offers “pay-as-you-go” subscriptions to consumer tech as an alternative to purchasing products.
Vehiculum – comparison site that provides transparent overviews of vehicle leasing offers.
Humanoo – a digital platform for employees and policyholders that is focused around workplace health.
Wunderflats – online platform that assists users in finding and renting flats in Germany.
Smunch – online canteen that delivers lunches to offices.
Sellics – software to help you perform better on Amazon. The software helps you increase organic traffic, track profits, automate campaigns, etc.
HomeToGo – holiday rental search engine with over 17 million offers from over 600 rental websites.
Marley Spoon – Berlin-based meal kit company.
Freshworks – customer engagement software with over 150,000 customers on their books.
Applift – mobile ad tech company that helps companies to connect with customers.
Wooga – a game developer that develops free social and mobile games for smartphones, tablets and Facebook.
Pepper.com – largest social commerce site in the world with over 500 million page views per month.
While this blog has so far focused on working for startups, you may in fact be more interested in starting your own startup in Berlin. In this respect, Berlin again has a lot to offer. With a host of startup campuses, Berlin offers entrepreneurs a great framework with which to build their fledgling company.
Startup Campuses and Centres
Factory Berlin – billed as a community of innovators and changemakers, Factory Berlin operates two startup hubs in Berlin. With over 3000 members from 70 countries, the goal is to build an ecosystem for founders and innovators. As well as offering community-oriented office space, they run a wide range of events and offer founders great opportunities to connect with talent and investors.
Silicon Allee – Founded as a community for entrepreneurs, Silicon Allee has grown into a 7,500 m2 startup campus with office spaces, apartments, event spaces, a café and bar. Through its events and community, it offers extensive advice for running a startup company in Germany.
Betahaus – Started by 6 students in 2009, Betahaus was established as Berlin’s first coworking space. And the focus of the company is all about creating spaces, whether it be space to work, collaborate, host events or create. With over 1000+ startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers in its community, Betahaus offers a perfect platform from which to launch your company.
So where does Nomaden Berlin come into all this?
Nomaden Berlin is a full-service relocation company that has been helping expats get settled in Berlin since 2016. We offer services that are relevant for both job seekers and those who are moving to Berlin with a job. Among other services, we offer:
Job hunting advice and support
Company listings including 300+ Berlin-based startups that employ non-German speakers.
An extensive list of 80+ job boards in Germany that cover all the main job fields.
Job hunting information and tips for Berlin.
Detailed CV and LinkedIn advice.
Editable CV template and CV examples for the German market.
Visa support and application guidance
If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, then you’ll require a work permit to work at a Berlin startup company. As part of our packages, we can help you convert your job offer into a valid work visa for Germany. We provide visa support and application guidance for a wide range of visas including the Residence Permit for Employment, EU Blue Card, Residence Permit for Freelance Employment and Working Holiday Visa.
As part of our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes, we offer a visa appointment booking service. This ensures your visa appointment will be scheduled at a time and date that ties in with your relocation timeline.
Nomaden Berlin will ensure you are fully aware of all the documentation requirements and pre-requisites for obtaining a work visa for Germany and that you have completed all the visa paperwork correctly prior to your visa appointment.
While finding a job at a Berlin-based startup and securing a relevant work visa are probably your priorities when moving to Berlin, there are a number of other administrative steps to complete to get set up in Berlin. All of our packages include full administrative support, incl. guidance and instructions regarding address registration, banking, health insurance, apartment hunting, etc.
To start work, you’ll require a number of documents including a tax ID, health insurance confirmation, social security number, etc. Again, our packages can guide you through how, where and when to obtain these different documents to ensure that your relocation goes quickly and smoothly.
To apply for a visa in Berlin and to receive a tax ID (required when starting work in Berlin), you first need to register at an address (Anmeldung). In the current property market, it can take some time to find an apartment to register at and failing to register quickly can really hamper the time it takes for you to apply for a visa/start working in Berlin. Our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation where you are able to register. In short, signing up for the Berlin Kickstarter or Berlin Pro programme will ensure you get registered in your first week in Berlin, which then paves the way for the rest of your relocation.
Social events, tours and meetups
It’s important to not overlook the social aspect of moving overseas as arriving in a new country can be a lonely experience without the right support. At Nomaden Berlin, we run a wide array of events, tours and meetups as part of our relocation programmes. From monthly BBQs and bar crawls to street art tours and festivals, we run over 20 events a year that bring both past and present Nomaden participants together.
I hope you’ve found this post interesting. For further info about how Nomaden Berlin can help you relocate to Berlin, don’t hesitate to send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our different packages here.