The political party behind an advertising van that was driven around London in a bid to get startups to move to Berlin says the German capital could become the next European startup hub following the result of the EU referendum.
Germany’s Freie Demokraten (FDP), or the Free Democratic Party, said it expects “quite a number” of London startups to move to Berlin now the UK is planning to leave the EU.
In a bid to encourage startups to move, the party drove a van through London’s Tech City displaying the message:
“Dear start-ups, Keep calm and move to Berlin.”
The van was spotted outside Bloomberg’s UK headquarters in Finsbury Square, London, by Bloomberg UK banking reporter Stephen Morris.
After we wrote about the van on Business Insider, the leader of the FDP party, Christin Lindner, told Business Insider Germany editor-in-chief Christin Martens: “Those who would like to enjoy the advantages of the EU are invited to come to Berlin and make the city even greater together with us. With the combination of liberal policy and smart minds from London, Berlin could be the next European startup hub.”
Berlin is considerably cheaper than London and home to a growing number of young technology companies, including the likes of Rocket Internet, Wunderlist, and SoundCloud.
Sebastian Czaja, Secretary General of the Berlin FDP, added: “Many start-ups don’t see their future in London after last weeks decision of the UK leaving the EU. And as Berlin is one of the worldwide start-up capitals, quite a number of them might move towards the German capital, where the rapidly growing start-up community offers a highly creative environment for business.”
Czaja explained that the FDP, which isn’t currently in power, wants to reduce the barriers for all startups in Berlin, adding that Berlin needs to continue to “open doors” to companies from around the world.
He explained that although Berlin’s startup scene is thriving, it still needs a “fairer tax system” and “functioning wi-fi.”
“Companies should be able to establish themselves quickly, get a good start and then reach their full potential,” said Czaja. “This is only possible with a minimum of bureaucracy and a lot of mobility. And it’s not possible without Tegel airport, which we must keep even after the opening of BER airport.”
Tech journalist Neil Murray has criticised European startup hubs for trying to prey on London startups.
“The reaction and actions of Europe’s startup hubs to London’s post-Brexit has been extremely distasteful to put it mildly,” he wrote in a Medium blog post titled “To the vultures circling London’s tech scene post-Brexit.”
“Whether it’s gleefully shouting ‘we could be Europe’s next main hub’ or setting up websites to entice London’s startups, it’s reminiscent of greedy cousins fighting over a newly dead relatives possessions.”