Google to open start-up hub in Berlin

Google has announced it will open an expansive start-up hub in Berlin, following up similar initiatives in London and Paris with a commitment for €1 million ($A1.2m) over three years, but it’s unclear whether Australia is on the search engine giant’s hit-list.


Dubbed the “Factory”, the new hub is a direct acknowledgement of Berlin’s thriving start-up scene, although it will not be fully operational until 2013.


The Factory will span 12,000 square metres and encapsulate restaurants, cafes, and sport and event facilities.


Under the deal, Startup Weekend and Google Developers will conduct workshops for developers and entrepreneurs. Google staff will also be on hand to give advice.


The Factory will contain a tech lab and will be equipped with Google devices. A free software package of Google services for start-ups is also in the pipeline.


Well-known Berlin start-ups including Mozilla will be moving in when the site, situated near the Berlin War Memorial, is finished.


According to the Factory brand manager Jenny Jung, Berlin’s entire community will benefit from the venue.


“All these initiatives are open to the public, not just for tenants in the Factory, but to the whole ecosystem, and that was something very important to us,” Jung said at a press conference.


Martin Omander, who heads up developer relations for Google Outreach, told Silicon Allee the Factory will enable Google to become more involved in the start-up scene.


“We don’t want to build something from scratch,” he said.


“We want to help others, and be part of the community, and be one of many, many players in the ecosystem. If we do everything [ourselves] it will be sort of artificial – so this is ideal.”


According to Patrick Llewellyn of Australian start-up 99designs, which recently opened a Berlin office, Berlin is the tech start-up and design hub of Europe.


“There is no better place from which to implement our aggressive regional growth plans,” Llewellyn said in August.


The Factory joins a long list of programs under the Google for Entrepreneurs initiative, including Campus London and Le Camping in Paris.


While Google hosts an event series in Australia called Google Sudo, which aims to connect and support entrepreneurs, it’s unclear whether Google has plans to open a start-up hub here.


Google Australia said: “We have nothing to announce at this time” when approached for comment on plans for a hub Down Under.


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