It has housed well-known startup companies including 6Wunderkinder, SoundCloud, Twitter, Uber and Zendesk, and long-established corporates including Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Audi. These companies cooperate as business incubators for other entrepreneurs and new startups, offering them workspace, networking, creative input, consulting services (legal, business plans, financing, pitching etc.) and other support at the Factory Berlin campus for free. Factory calls this model "organic acceleration", as opposed to seed accelerators, which usually ask for shares in participating companies.
In February 2015, Factory Berlin was the location of the first Startup Europe Summit.
In April 2012, Techcrunch reported that Angel Investors JMES were partnering with S&P Real Estate to develop a tech-hub called Factory - an office building developed on the site of the former Oswald Brauerei in Berlin’s central Mitte.
We are creating a campus where startups can learn from each other and use collective knowledge to overcome early stage hurdles -- Simon Schaefer, founder.
In November 2012, Google pledged €1 million ($1.27M) over three years to Factory through its Google for Entrepreneurs program. When it officially opened on 11 June 2014, it had 16.000 sqm and residents such as SoundCloud, 6Wunderkinder (developers of Wunderlist), Zendesk, Twitter and Mozilla.
Location and site history
The building is a former brewery (Oswald-Brauerei), located on the Eastern side of the former Berlin Wall. One side of the main building formed part of the interior of the Wall. The campus is located beside the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer on Bernauer Straße. The main building has been refurbished and extended with two additional floors by Berlin-based architect Julian Breinersdorfer.
On 29 September 2012, Factory teamed up with Pirate Summit to host David McClure, the other Geeks On A Plane and 140 key players in Berlin's startup ecosystem. Geeks On A Plane is an organized tour to explore the world of entrepreneurship beyond Silicon Valley, to understand local ecosystems and to explore cross-border opportunities and emerging trends.
Factory organized the Berlin Innovation Consensus 2013, which ran on 31 August and 1 September 2013.
Post opening: 2014
Factory Berlin officially opened on 11 June 2014 with 16.000 sqm and residents such as SoundCloud, 6Wunderkinder, Zendesk, Twitter and Mozilla. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, was the keynote speaker at the Opening of Factory Berlin, and described the location as “perfect for the renaissance to come”. The Opening was also attended by the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and the Factory Founders Simon Schaefer and Udo Schloemer.
On 23 July Accel Partners hosted Office Hours for early stage startup teams in Berlin looking for investment. Michael Treskow, Vice President at Accel Partners, and Sonali De Rycker, Partner at Accel Partners, both met with startups throughout the day to speak with them about their businesses and future plans.Hackidemia hosted a monthlong MakerCamp at Factory in August which culminated in a Demo Day held on the top floor on 27 August. Hackidemia's mission is to empower children to be creators of technology through hands-on workshops, training, and entrepreneurship in order to address local challenges while creating or supporting sustainable mobile labs for children.The Stanford d.school and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking hosted their International Design Thinking Week at Factory in the first week of September. Students and participants from around the world came together to develop new solutions to inspire collaboration in co-working spaces.
Google Launchpad Berlin was held at Factory between 29 September and 3 October 2014 and was attended by US Ambassador John B. Emerson Google Launchpad is a one-week pre-incubation program organized by Google for early stage startups focused on topics including product strategy, UX/UI, engineering, digital marketing and presentation skills.On 12 October, 50 finalists came to Factory for the Gründer Garage closing ceremony. Gründer Garage is an innovative competition for German-speaking, early stage entrepreneurs. 3M, Google, Allianz, Volkswagen, Stiftung Entrepreneurship, Factory and many other organizations came together to support entrepreneurs bring their ideas to reality through events, workshops and mentor sessions.Audi partnered with Factory to launch its Sharedfleet initiative in late October. Audi's Sharedfleet is a pay-per-use car sharing system that was pioneered by in Berlin by Factory.
On 18 November, Edition F held an event called 'Die 25 Frauen für die digitale Zukunft' (25 Women for the Digital Future) to celebrate female contribution to the tech industry.
Michelin starred chef Tim Raue opened his fourth Berlin based restaurant, studio TIM RAUE, on the Factory Berlin campus on 15 January 2015. On the same day, children from the Herman Nohl Schule came to Factory to gain insight into the world of entrepreneurship as part of an initiative from Rock It Biz.The first Startup Europe Summit (SES) was held at Factory Berlin on 12 and 13 February, in cooperation with the European Commission. SES 2015 took place over the course of two days and across two stages. Speakers included European Commissioners Günther H. Oettinger and Andrus Ansip, Israeli VC, Yossi Vardi, and Marie Ekeland of France Digitale. The closing speech was given by the Ex-Vice President of the European Commission and current Special Envoy for Startups, Neelie Kroes. SES 2015 was live streamed and videos of the event have been made available. The schedule and photos of the event are also available online.On 25 February, the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, visited Factory Berlin before meeting with Angela Merkel. Later that day, Twitter held a dinner on Factory's top floor to celebrate female contribution to the company.Factory Berlin hosted two weeks of GE Garages from 16 to 28 March. GE Garage events included workshops and talks on 3D printing, the Future of Work, Health 4.0 and Women in Tech.
Startup companies and organisations residing at Factory Berlin include (as of 1 November 2015):
CareerFoundry, dataArtisans, easybooking.at, Edition F, Freeletics.com, GoButler, Google, JMES Investments, Kenkou, Limemakers, Lufthansa Innovation Hub, Merisier, Ohlala.com, Teamleader, TheNewMotion, phonedeck, relayr, SoundCloud, Twitter, Uber, unu motors, versus.com, Zendesk
Former residents of Factory Berlin include:
On 5 April 2015 it was announced that Factory Berlin co-founder Simon Schäfer would begin building additional Factory campuses in other cities, in order to expand the network internationally, turning over local operations to co-founder and real estate developer, Udo Schlömer.
On 6 March 2017 TechCrunch reported Factory raised €1M by Round Hill Capital, 500 Startups, Elkstone Capital, Makers.do and several angel investors including Christian Reber, Matthias Ummenhofer, Florian Moerth, Moritz Sell and others to expand across Europe.