From San Francisco to Munich, Kreatives will be making a splash in Europe: Why it matters to the business and design ecosystems.
Kreatives is moving from San Francisco to Munich beginning January 2017.
We are a business & design company focused on helping companies build what matters most to people. Simply, our mission is to invest all our entrepreneurial and design talents into solving real problems that enrich our lives in everyway.
We’re here to partner with leading companies ready for business innovation to create new value for the changing needs of their customers. We want to support the evolution of the startup ecosystem in Munich and efforts throughout the EU. Our sweet spot will be accelerating design-driven startups focused on improving lives across the food system, digital health, aging, education, entertainment & media, money, kids, cities & mobility, to consumer products & services — just to name a few areas.
What was suppose to be a short vacation to Oktoberfest and birthday celebrations quickly unlocked opportunities to speak about our Silicon Valley experience, connect with Munich based entrepreneurs, conversations with investors and thought leaders. We could feel the sense of pride and hope amongst the Munich startup and innovation community when Bits and Pretzels, one of the biggest European startup events rolled around. We are convinced Munich is gearing up to be the most influential startup and innovation ecosystem in Europe.
Here’s a bit of what we saw:
Events such as Bits and Pretzels, DLD, and 48forward are catching the world’s attention to connect money, creatives, entrepreneurs, corporates, innovators and, government together.
Silicon Valley companies such as IBM and Google are setting up sites in Munich as Germany is at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 initiative. Munich is also home to many multinational corporations such as Allianz, BMW, and Siemens that are setting up innovation arms. Teams such as the Kaiser-X labs are taking a human-centered design approach to create meaningful customer experience and innovative services for Allianz.
Everyone involved in the startup, innovative, and creative scene is very passionate about creating change. The education system is working hard to support the innovation and startup ecosystem with institutions such as the Technical University of Munich.
Coworking spaces, incubators, and corporate accelerators can be found to support the entrepreneurial journey. Additionally, some of the world’s best design companies, such as Frog and IDEO have also positioned themselves in Munich. Likewise, the World Food Programme just launched their accelerator in Munich.
What we were most impressed with is the insane amount of governmental support to boost the startup ecosystem. The government has set up incentives for Angel Investors and Venture funds to fuel the early stage startups.
And Munich is an access point to any other European city.
Areas of Opportunity
Having lived and worked in San Francisco the last three years we are deeply immersed in the pipeline of startups. We’ve met many Germans in the Bay Area who moved for a better chance of launching their startups or visit to hunt for new ideas. We want to invest our capabilities to promote German/European startups and innovation.
Some areas of opportunity we saw:
Moving beyond the fear of failure and aversion to risk. Failure needs to be reframed and strategically embraced for the opportunity to grow.
There areNOT enough founders/ startups. According to Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-giant-hole-in-germanys-economy-startups-1425517694) only 2% of Germans aged 14–34 have started a business. Startups can be agile and innovative enough to solve the changing demands of consumer needs. Likewise, we hear a lot of promising startups getting acquired by corporate companies within 1–2 years and potentially losing it’s culture and spirit of experimentation.
According to Angel List, Munich has only 588 startups compared to San Francisco at +27,000.
We also saw the opportunity to build and scale a diversity of startups beyond food delivery and industry 4.0.
There needs to be more businesses that support the lifestyle of entrepreneurship, which includes more working cafes and bars. In addition, co-working spaces, accelerators etc should have a public presence and not hidden in the “Hinterhof”. Entrepreneurship needs to become normalized and accessible for everyone.
One of the biggest opportunities we see is integrating the creative and design scene with entrepreneurship and technology. Design driven startups are proving to delivery better profits, customer satisfaction, and solving real human needs. (TONY’s LINK). Germany has some of the world’s best design schools and talent to tap into.
Moving away from cloning startups to solving localized problems.
Connect the various communities (such as investment, design, entrepreneurs, etc) with and across each other. We spoke to a handful of Angel Investors during our trip and they are excited about the opportunity not only to invest into the future generation but also be advisors since they once owned successful businesses.
We’re here to shake things up
Our value proposition is building what matters most to people. We can’t do this alone nor do we want to. We’re here to bring our entrepreneurial and design talents to support the efforts of every stakeholder.
Starting January 2017, here is what we plan on doing in Munich and Europe.
We’ll be running a business & design company offering strategy, business innovation, design, and brand building services to leading companies, promising startups, and organizations. We have partnerships in place and are excited to join forces.
We are looking to partner with various innovation labs, agencies, and accelerators who see the same opportunities. Additionally, we are ready to work with education and government bodies to support entrepreneurship.
We have a series of exciting events to connect entrepreneurs, designers, investors, etc together. Expect the first one “The Afterhours” in mid-late January.
Other projects in the pipeline
Growing our team
Early-stage venture fund
Programs to support SMBs
Sounds ambitious? For those that know us, there is nothing more we care about than using the power of business and design to enrich our lives.
Roll with us
We humbly admit we don’t know everything but are willing to try. An effort like this requires willpower, courage, capital, and people.
We’d love to hear from you and connect via email or in person. Whether it’s to work together on a project, share experiences, help the efforts, or share ideas. If you are working in this space as well, we’d love to connect with you.
Tony & Franzi