You are in. These were the sweet words from Juli Decker. She is based in Berlin and for the next four months she, Marius Sewing and Kai Jaeger will be our landlords. Their garage is called Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and sits right in the heart of the German capital.
That was about 10 days ago. This weekend Tomas and I each packed up two suitcases, a couple of MacBook laptops, and relocated for the next 4 months to Berlin. The lead time was not exactly long, but in the world of technology startups it sort of comes with the territory.
Microsoft’s program in Berlin is relatively new. We’re joining Batch #3 with seven other startups. The program begins on March 9 and ends with Demo Day on June 17. (We were told spring in Berlin is beautiful but nobody wanted to elaborate, so we are a bit suspicious.)
The program is structured somewhat differently than most other well-known accelerators like Y Combinator, 500 Startups or Acceleprise: it’s truly global (7 locations around the world), it’s corporate (run by Microsoft), it’s vendor neutral (no Microsoft technology required), it does not take equity (which also means no funding). Some locations and cohorts are more specialized - Seattle focused one cohort on home automation and the Internet of Things, the Tel Aviv hub recently had cohorts focused on cyber security and healthcare.
We’re looking forward to working with the team. One of the screening interviews was over Skype and I’m sure we nailed it just like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship. Now we’ll hear the real story from the other side.
Hopefully, apart from being immersed in the local tech and startup scene, there will be time to see a few places I visited years ago. After all it was West Berlin where my parents bought me my first computer, Commodore 64, at Vobis on Kurfürstendamm -- that store is still around!