Key learnings from our first month in Berlin

Portadi is part of Batch #3 at the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Berlin. We moved to Berlin in mid March, made first friends and learned a few things about all things German.

How to name your new company

Naming a company is a frustrating experience for most entrepreneurs, especially if your business is global and you need a decent domain name. Not so much if you are in Germany. The Germans have a system for everything. We rented our flat through Wunderflats (in Batch #2 of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Berlin). Right next to our desk at the accelerator is the team WunderAgent, part of Batch #3 of the MSVA. When we go anywhere in Berlin, we hire a car from WunderCar. And our tasks are organized in Wunderlist. In case you’re looking for a business intelligence service, there’s Wunderdata. Looking for a better HR recruitment solution? Right, Talentwunder. I hope you already got the WunderMessage.

Cranes

Cranes in Berlin

Even thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are cranes everywhere. The construction boom is happening right in front of our building where a new subway line is being built, connecting the Brandenburg Gate with Alex (as Alexanderplatz is called by the locals). The friendly team at the accelerator figured that it would be a shame not the replicate the atmosphere directly in our office so we got new desk lamp that look just like - yes, you guessed it - construction cranes.

Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Office

The German “yes"

We got to see quite a few startup events around the city in our first month here. After all, Berlin is the second most significant startup hub in Europe, after London. The events are really well organized (there's always beer), and pretty well attended, albeit smaller than in Silicon Valley. One big difference is emotions, though. “Are you ready to see the next speaker?” asked the American host in a loud voice. One or two people shouted back. “Come on, guys, we can do better that,” sighted the American host. "You got the German ‘yes',” was the response from the audience.

Valley in Berlin 2015

Wi-Fi access

How does one connect to the Internet? If you are in Germany, you properly follow the proper procedures. A 30-minute wifi access will require you to sign a two page document stating - most likely - that you agree to use the Internet for the betterment of the world. And if not, you’ll pay a fine. One signed copy goes to the person giving you the wifi password, and the other copy is yours to keep. (Not every wifi hotspot is like that but you encounter them pretty often.)

German wi-fi instructions

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