Takeaways from the Asia Pacific Week (2018) in Berlin

I was invited by the Berlin Senate to speak and represent the Indian Startup Ecosystem at the Asia Pacific Week (APW) in Berlin. APW is a global summit which brings together influencers across the world for a dialogue on the way forward and offers a platform for initiation of international partnerships.

It was a fascinating experience to speak and participate in the conference for reasons more than one; Berlin also known as “founder capital” with numerous colleges, technology parks, incubators, co-working spaces, VC funds, a distinct cultural and creative scene was an ideal location for this summit.

At the summit, I spoke about the Indian Startup Ecosystem and the work being pursued by NSRCEL in supporting startups. I would like to take this opportunity to share my three top takeaways from the conference:

Pepo, Sayaka, Aakarsh and Warangkana
  1. Startup Ecosystem Opportunities between Europe and Asia

There are a lot of German startup initiatives in Asia which are looking at bridging the opportunities for startups and connecting the ecosystems.

  • GINSEP -The German Indian Startup Exchange Program is an initiative to promote the German-Indian economic relations in the field of startups. This is one of the most relevant initiatives for Indian startups seeking go to market guidance to enter Germany or vice versa.
  • StartUp AsiaBerlin is an international platform established to connect dynamic startup ecosystems and foster economic cooperation between Germany and Asia. This is one of the German Startup initiatives which is operates in different hubs to provide connections and exposure to startups.
  • Start Alliance is an initiative to form a business network between the most vibrant startup hubs around the globe and to internationalise and scale up startup businesses faster. This can be considered if you wish to enter other geographies like London, Dubai, Paris, and Shanghai etc.

2. Networking

Meet the New Robot in Town

There were various networking opportunities at the conference like the embassy day where the delegations from various countries interacted with each other. This was followed by a welcome reception at German Restaurant in the heart of the city where informal interaction happened. Off course, there were various opportunities to make new friends from China, Japan, Germany, Philippines, Indonesia and a robot which called out my name!

Typically, in such huge conferences, there is always a dilemma of how to go about networking; whether to meet a lot of people with little interaction or meet few people with a deeper interaction. I chose the latter and made some really good friends; among them is Sayaka from Japan, who is doing some interesting work to support immigrant youth.

What was surprising is that I met up with some people from India, like Varad from 100 Startups, Dola from Yourstory; whom we knew but never met in person. It was great catching up with Oleksandra, Franziska, Sabine, Aria and Stephanie and exploring Berlin with friends like Amrita from IGCC and Neha from Z Nation Labs. There were also a few people like Stephan, Carolina and Queen who connected with me at the conference.

(L to R) Aakarsh, Dola, Aria, Rainer, Ces, Stephanie, Oleksandra, Franziska, Amrita to name a few

3. About Berlin and Germany:

It was a great opportunity to explore Berlin, a city with rich cultural heritage, nightlife, and transportation systems. We happened to explore some of the key sights in the city such as Brandenbourg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Alexanderplatz and Reichstag Building to name a few; its great to walk around the place, specially at night.

Any travel without the local food is incomplete; I therefore tasted authentic German dishes like Schnitzel, Pretzels and Doner; let me tell you that German food is rich, hearty and delicious. It was also evident that they take pride in their products and companies like Braun, Bosch, Siemens, BMW, Sennheiser and Nivea to name a few.

I observed a unique pattern in my interactions; they preferred machines over men as opposed to men over machines in this part of the world. I learnt that their systems are so foolproof that human intervention and interaction is very little, be it the hotel, the lockers, the public transit systems — you name it; its your job to interact with technology and avail your service! - Danke Schön for reading!

At the Brandenbourg Gate

I can be reached on Linkedin for further discussion. At NSRCEL, we support entrepreneurs right from idea through to execution, you can register on the website for mentoring support and incubation.