30 Heroes behind Berlin’s Booming Tech Scene
Berlin is having a moment. It has one of the fastest-growing startup ecosystems in the world and has a great pedigree of successful startups.
Building a thriving community isn’t easy though. There is great work being done at a city and government level and Berlin does enjoy a relatively low cost of living compared with other tech hubs like Silicon Valley, London or even Dublin but that isn’t enough. There is also an underground movement of people who get very little recognition for their contribution and yet are vital to the success of the Berlin tech scene. While we are leaving far too many people out, for brevity’s sake, we’ve chosen 30 people who have worked hard throughout the year on building great events around a passionate community and deserve to be praised. Let us know in the comments who we are missing and we will continue to update this list as a thank you to the unsung heroes. We have grouped them into Development, Design, Entrepreneurship and the people are listed below in no particular order.
Frederik Görtelmeyer — Berlin UXD
Originally founded by Alex Shirazi as a part of Global UXD, Berlin’s edition is pulled together by Frederik Görtelmeyer, a user experience designer, psychologist, and blogger, Frederik works at the interface of psychology, design and technology. In his own words, Frederik believes “design is not about making something pretty. Good design can influence the behavior of people, convey ideologies and content, make products understandable and allow or hinder action.” Berlin UXD is a group for user experience design professionals, where they approach UX design holistically.
Raffaela Rein, Emil Lamprecht — UX Designers in Berlin
Similar to Berlin UXD, UX Designers in Berlin are bringing together a professional network of UXers who want to discuss new ideas, share projects and define the discipline. The couple behind this initiative is Raffaela Rein, Founder and CEO of the UX school at CareerFoundry, and Emil Lamprecht, an experienced Googler with a number of hats including the CEO of Growth Mechanics, CXO of Whole Design Studios and an Advisor at CareerFoundry.
Chris Brown — SoundCloud Tech Meetups
While SoundCloud has been in the news recently, this is a brand we all know and love and which reaches more than 350 million people every month around the globe, across the web, mobile, widget or API — and that’s something worth talking about. More than 1,500 SoundCloud Tech Meetup is tied together by several colleagues from SoundCloud, but Chris Brown currently belongs among the most active and recognised.
Marcel Malik, Sandra Kriemann, Tobias Gesellchen — Docker Berlin
Docker Berlin is a place for developers and ops engineers who are using Docker and want to learn more on how to streamline application development and/or gain support to respond to changing needs. The group is currently organised by the trinity of Marcel Malik, a freelancing senior software engineer, Sandra Kriemann, a software engineer at medios management, and Tobias Gesellchen, a senior developer at Europace.
Elena Poughia — Big Data Berlin
Elena is touching data from a unique perspective — she’s not an engineer or a scientist herself but knows more about the topic than anyone else. Currently, Elena is the managing director of Dataconomy, the leading portal for news, events and expert opinion from the world of data driven technology. She also organises The Data Natives conference focussed on Big Data, IoT and Machine Learning. If you’re interested in Big Data, wait no longer, Elena has made Big Data Berlin for you.
Aleksandra Gavrilovska, Glenna Buford — Women Who Code
Women Who Code has created a global movement of professional females supporting each other in tech. WWC provide them with opportunities to gain new and hone existing skills for professional advancement. The directors of Berlin’s gatherings are Aleksandra Gavrilovska, an engineering manager at SoundCloud, who is also involved in SoundCloud Tech Meetups. Aleksandra believes ‘innovations and technologies are shaping the future. Women should also define it’. Glenna Buford, who started her coding career based on an initial deep dive to solve a math requirement which in turn fueled her enthusiasm for the discipline.
Trent McConaghy, Abhishek Thakur, Adriaan Schakel — Berlin Machine Learning Group
The added value of this machine learning meetup lies in its different focus — instead of the commercial side, the organisers — Trent McConaghy, Abhishek Thakur, and Adriaan Schakel — try to enhance focus on the science and technology. Trent is a founder of several startups (currently BigchainDB and IPDB Foundation), Abhishek works as a chief data scientists at Boost ai, and Adriaan is a computational physicist turned machine learning researcher, and is also a co-founder of the legal tech startup rfrnz.com.
Conrad Pöpke — Microservices
Microservices is an architecture pattern used by big players such as Netflix, E-POST, Hypoport or SoundCloud. While its pattern is favoured by lean enterprises, its true power comes in the combination with diverse methods or technologies. Conrad, a business development manager for codecentric AG set this meetup to discuss topics such as serverless architectures, polyglot languages, polyglot persistence, event sourcing, DevOps, reactive applications and multi channel applications.
Jerome Mouton, Stefan Hoth — Google Developers Group
Jerome, the CTO for SnapEngage loves meeting interesting tech people and learning from what others are doing with Google Technology. He launched this meetup after meeting with the organisers of the first chapter in Silicon Valley. Stefan is co-hosting this group and is the Head of Operations at Novoda, an app and design development agency.
Bastian Albers, Beatrice Martini, Ellen Konig — Open Tech School
Open Tech School is a community initiative offering free programming workshops and meetups to technology enthusiasts of all genders, backgrounds, and experience levels. Ran by a group of community leaders with different skills, Bastian is a frontend developer for immmr. Co-hosting the events are Beatrice whose background is a human rights tech lead and Ellen who is a senior data scientist at SoundCloud — what a perfect combination of skills.
Andreas Lubbe, Felix Stumer — Node.js
Christoph Beck — React
As a person very experienced in distributed teams, Christoph has set this meetup up to discuss the latest developments and techniques related to using the React.js library. He is also the CEO of Bitcrowd which is an agency that builds software for startups — which boosts current work productivity of enterprise applications. They have strong beliefs in test driven applications.
Shreyas Gite, Patrick Kern — Self Driving Cars & Autonomous Mobility
Computer Vision, Deep Learning, Reinforcement learning, evolutionary computation and Sensor Fusion are all topics discussed within the meetup of autonomous cars. Shreyas works for Rolls Royce where he looks into their machine learning tactics and methodologies. Patrick on the other hand is the CTO of Brighter AI Technologies, a German startup who are enriching sensor data with neural networks.
Anil Kumar Krishnashetty, Ronny Springer — Berlin Lean Prototyping
Anil Kumar Krishnashetty and Ronny Springer are two guys who understand how valuable it is in implementing the lean methodology into a company’s culture. Anil, an IT consultant at Bitgrip, and Ronny — frontend engineer at Signavio, are devoting their time and effort to teach Berliners how to keep their work flowing and performance boosted.
Benjamin Bolland — On Product
On Product is a meetup for product people in Berlin. Organised and hosted by Project A’s product team, Benjamin Bolland, his goal is to create a living community of designers, product managers, developers, QA engineers that exchange ideas, best practises and know how. Project A is a VC that provides capital, network and exclusive access to wide range of operational expertise.
UXDX have a big love for Zalando’s commitment to tech and autonomous teams. The biggest German online e-commerce platform for fashion hosts their own events and others in their office. Members of their product, design and development team takes turns to host these meetups and we look forward to more companies singing from Zalando’s hymn sheet soon.