Berlin – courtesy of tidalpool = Seattle – courtesy of B.Z. Bilder ?
In this IAV post, I speculate on the idea of Berlin becoming HQ3 for Amazon or HQ1 in Europe. Mostly, it is about what Berlin and Seattle have in common. Now Amazon is doing rejected cities who did not make the HQ2 short list a major favor and explaining why they are missing out on the final competition. Here is the link to the WSJ story.
Demands in its request for proposals (WSJ link) included a metro area with a population of more than one million, public transportation, a big airport with plenty of connections to Seattle and a large pool of tech talent.
Berlin has the following qualifications that could get it on the short-list:
- Tech talent – Berlin is no. 2 in Europe after London (and closing in) for StartUps;
- Together with no. 1 above, Berlin has a natural draw for entrepreneurs after experiencing StartUp successes such as Rocket Internet, Zalando, Delivery Hero, Hello Fresh to name a few and an extensive Biotech, Medicinal-Pharma sector (think gene technology);
- Berlin has a population of 3.5 million people alone and approximately 1 million in the suburbs, with four public research universities and 27 technical and professional colleges and universities and the budding start up culture mentioned above, there is a good chance to find 50,000 tech specialists, and if Berlin alone can’t deliver, Germans from other regions and Europeans from other countries are eager to move there;
- Berlin has an extensive and functioning public transportation system that is already connected to border towns in the surrounding State of Brandenburg;
- The big minus, is a dysfunctional international airport strategy, but there is hope that all will be in place by 2020 with a second terminal as well! We shall see…
- “Local economic-development officials believe tax breaks and other incentives are an important tool for attracting jobs and other investments to their region. ” WSJ link This would be an interesting test for Berlin…
This link from the WSJ describes some of the methods short-listed cities are thinking of using when courting Amazon for HQ2.
And finally, here is an interview with Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos in Berlin and Berlin-based publisher, Axel Springer CEO, Mathias Döpfner after receiving the Springer Innovation Award. (Business Insider)
I wondered after hearing this interview if Bezos’ incentive to startup Amazon in Seattle around 1994, which was not discussed, was not only that it was an advanced software hub and becoming a magnet for techies along with having an embedded pioneering spirit, but also that it was affordable! Like Berlin!