Last week I was sitting down for coffee looking up companies with headquarters in Berlin. Of course I came across SoundCloud located in a newly built entrepreneurial haven (backed by google) called “The Factory”. I knew Startupbootcamp had operations in Berlin and decided to look up where they were located. It turns out it was around the corner so I decided to just walk by and check it out. I walked down an alley and saw a door with Startupbootcamp logo next to it (turns out this was the back door). Upon entering I was greeted at the door and told to talk to Lucie, I walked in and asked for her. She was very confused how I knew her name and thought maybe she had a meeting she didn’t know about?
After I explained who I was and why I was there she graciously offered to give me a tour of the space and explain a bit about Rainmaking Loft (the name of the coworking space Startupbootcamp operates out of). We were told the story of how the coworking space came to be with a big emphasis on the community they are building, not just the space and resources they have. Rainmaking Loft Berlin is owned and run by entrepreneurs and active angel investors who care deeply about Berlin tech scene. Rainmaking Loft also has an office in London and coming soon to Copenhagen. The space in Berlin is not only a place for entrepreneurs to work out of, collaborate, and inspire but a place for active Angel Investors to meet young companies and great founders as well, they have a special loft area for them called the “Naked Angel Lounge” (pictured below). Rainmaking Loft has plenty of space with skype booths, 5 meeting rooms, a shower and a big kitchen; why would the entrepreneurs ever want to leave such a haven?
In addition to coworking space, Rainmaking Loft also provides event space for the community and a bar/cafe. They host tech events, conferences, bootcamps and even parties (as you will see). Le Labo, cafe by day and bar by night, is conveniently located the Rainmaking loft premises.
After my tour, Lucie asked if I had plans for Wednesday night in Berlin because Twilio was hosting a party there that was supposed to be the biggest event of the year they were calling the “Steampunk Fairytale Winter Party”!
We arrived promptly at 6PM on Wednesday night right as the event started, Hannah and I were guest number 3 & 4 to arrive. As Hannah’s friend who met us there put it, “This seems like a classic Berlin party…Weird people, coming to a weird place to do weird things.” And what would a classic Berlin startup party be without weird (and cool) things to do!
We entered through the bar area, walked through a very dark room with a robot scribe on the wall. Next to the robot on the wall were instructions to a SMS to a number and that text would magically be written on the wall by the robot in glow in the dark ink. There was also a LED lit wall with similar instructions to send a SMS to a number with a hashtag of color and effect and the LED’s would change color and style instantly. Last of the tech entertainment was an interactive projector screen on the far wall. As you stood in front of the screen, prisms would start to gather around you and fill up space as sand would in a bucket. As soon as you moved or someone walked by the prisms would explode everywhere and you would have to start collecting them again.
We saw the party start before our eyes. As more and more people came (and the drinks started flowing from the open bar) more entertainment commenced. There was an acrobatic performance from a suspended hoop by a young woman who was dressed up like a doll, two circus gentleman juggling and doing acrobatics and a contortionist who used the bar as her stage. All in all, we had a blast and were glad to be included in the festivities!
I am continually amazed at how welcoming the international startup community is. What the community really boils down to are the people in it and the organizations that facilitate their created and continued existence. As I search for where I belong in the startup ecosystem, I hope I can make others feel as welcomed as I have.
As usual, here are some pictures to help illustrate and add color.