Announcing the Berlin Founders Fund

Silicon Allee Team
Oct 30 · 4 min read
Join us IRL: siliconallee.com/bff

Silicon Allee has worked many jobs over the years. From blogger to barista, event producer to landlord, we’ve seemingly done it all. And through it all we’ve been a friend to founders.

But now we want to be a better friend. We want to be your BFF. Which is why we’re taking on yet another job — investor.

Today, we’re announcing the Berlin Founders Fund (BFF).

  • BFF is a microfund providing equity-free investments to early-stage founders.
  • BFF has raised 1.5M€ to date and is currently backed by the European Social Fund and State of Berlin.
  • BFF’s circle of friends include founders and executives from companies like Klarna, Skype, SoundCloud, WeTransfer, and more who are eager to provide support to BFF founders.

So, we’re not a venture capital fund.

BFF is an equity-free fund. But sure, you caught us, we’re funded by the government. The European Social Fund and the State of Berlin have seeded us with 1.5M€ to make BFF possible.

People we know often bash government support for startups. (We’ve been there too). But we’ve realized a government-backed product like BFF can sit alongside private sector offerings. And we see this as a starting point to build on so that we can fund even more founders with more money in the future.

BFF at its core is a product for founders, by founders. We invest money, time and our network into founders with great ideas, but we don’t charge for it. The goal is to extend each startup’s runway and help founders raise their first real investment round.

Think of us as a first angel investor, offering a 24,000€ check and the support network to help you land in Berlin and grow your business. But unlike typical angel investors you won’t just have one person supporting you, you’ll have a team. Silicon Allee runs one of Germany’s biggest startup campuses, with offices, apartments, a cafe and bar, and has over a decade experience in organizing events for the Berlin startup community. We’re here to ensure that you’re set up with the best network of partners and advisors. And when shit hits the fan for founders we want to do what any BFF would do — have their back.

Our focus is pre-seed.

Whether you’re bootstrapping your next company, just graduated from university with a killer idea or looking to jump ship from your corporate gig, our exclusive focus is on pre-seed founders.

This means founders who are not funded yet but might already have a tangible idea — an MVP, a teaser concept, something for us to chew on. Each founder receives 2,000€ each month for up to one year. Founders we fund often need financial support to focus on their idea full time and should be looking to grow their business internationally, but be interested in doing so from Berlin.

We’re here when you need us.

As entrepreneurs ourselves we know founders don’t need babysitters, which is why we aren’t building yet another accelerator copycat. We figured, why copy the best when we’ve got them here on campus. Shameless plug — check out Techstars who recently moved in. So don’t expect the traditional mentor model ending with a demo day. We’re building something different.

At BFF we try to be as involved as founders need (and want) us to be, and therefore organize a set of services and events founders can choose to take advantage of but are by no means required to. We get it, you’ve got a busy schedule.

Our friends are your friends. Founders and execs from companies like EyeEm, SoundCloud, Skype, WeTransfer, Klarna, Techstars, AngelList and more are eager to meet you here in Berlin, in-person.

BFF is also here to support the wider Berlin community. Our events are open to not just founders we fund, but any founders interested in attending. So keep an eye out for workshops, dinners, meetups and other formats we’re opening up for everyone.

Leave the boring bureaucratic stuff to us. To make your landing in Berlin smooth, we have a team in place to help with visas and find housing and workspaces. In other words, we’re here to help.

Lastly, we are building a highway between Berlin and international hubs like Shanghai, Lisbon or Los Angeles where we have close contacts. Not only are we driven to bring talented entrepreneurs to Berlin, but we actually fund founders to get away and spend up to three months working outside Berlin with our partners around the world.

Let’s become friends.

Interested in BFF? Just pitch us. And if you’re Berlin-based, be sure to join our Launch Party or stop by one of our upcoming events to meet us in person. For further questions reach out to our team via bff@siliconallee.com

Thanks to Jeremy Bamberg

Silicon Allee Team

Written by

The community-driven voice of startups and technology companies in Berlin.

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