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Factory Berlin is housed in an old brewery in central Berlin.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Established companies are on the lookout for innovative ideas and creative solutions, in part as a bulwark against digital disruption of their business models.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Developer Udo Schloemer opened the Factory Berlin startup hub in 2014.
    • It houses big names such as Google, Uber and the music platform SoundCloud, alongside many startups.
    • Mr. Schloemer’s new startup networking club has already attracted Google and Japanese pharma firm Takeda.
  • Audio

    Audio

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There were times when someone in a business suit wouldn’t have dared step foot in this old Berlin factory.

A long time ago beer was brewed here. Later the Berlin Wall ran beside it, turning the area into a no-go area unless you were risking your life trying to escape from East to West. Then in the wild years after the Wall fell, rock bands hunkered down and lived in the abandoned space. Today it is simply called Factory, and it is Berlin’s premier startup hub.

Chief executives from top companies visit all the time, looking for young, promising companies to invest in. Politicians are also regular guests: Germany’s President Joachim Gauck has visited, as have the French economics minister and Britain’s finance minister.

Factory opened in Berlin’s Mitte district in 2014 with former Google boss Eric Schmidt on hand. Today it is the workplace for 800 young people employed by 90 mostly small firms.

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