New hardware companies from Germany


A quick snapshot of some of the more recently founded hardware and IoT startups. I’m just starting to collect these more formally to make it easier to keep an overview, so this list starts out very small and will grow over time. Please do send me pointers and I’ll try to update this list accordingly.

  • Bragi. Based in Munich. Europe’s most successful Kickstarter campaign. Wireless in-ear headphones for sports that also measure vital signs. bragi.com
  • Basslet. Based in Berlin. An audio-haptic bracelet that transmits bass through the wristbone to give the listener a more intense music listening experience. rescuedideas.com
  • Headwave. Berlin-based. A motorcycle helmet add-on that turns the helmet into a resonance body so the driver can listen to music while driving. headwave.de
  • Kiwi.ki. Berlin-based. Smart lock system for residential buildings. kiwi.ki
  • BeaconInside. Berlin-based. A solar-powered indoor Bluetooth Low Energy beacon for indoor location based services. beaconinside.com
  • Airfy. Beacon & public wifi for small businesses and cafés. airfy.com
  • Polymer. Web platform for hardware makers to connect and collaborate. joinpolymer.com
  • Relayr. IoT dev kit and sensor platform. relayr.io
  • Skysense. Charging pad for commercial drones. Berlin-based. skysense.de
  • TobyRich. Smartphone controlled gadgets and toys. Bremen. tobyrich.com

Hardware and Internet of Things incubators, accelerators, etc.


Physical music cards

With all the incubator and accelerator programs popping up in the hardware / Internet of Things (IoT) / connected devices space, I thought it might help pulling together a quick overview of what’s out there. Consider it a snapshot for future reference.

Sources include Quora, Fancyhands, some good old research and plenty of bookmarks from the depth of my Pinboard. Some of these are more traditional incubators, others are more like coworking spaces with peer-mentoring, or investors. Some are hybrids: As the lines are blurry, I’m including all that seem like they might be relevant. Please also note that plenty of “traditional” startup incubators like YC of course also accept IoT/hardware startups, so if you’re looking for funding, don’t forget to look at these other programs (like these seed accelerators), too.





  • Techstars (Boston, Boulder, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, London, and Austin)
  • Brinc (Guangzhou, China)


There are quite a few still missing from this list, so I’ll keep adding. If you know one off the top of your head, please let me know and I’ll include it. Especially in Asia there are a number of programs, so any pointers there are welcome.

If you are looking for a list of European IoT startups/companies rather than incubators, Alex put together this neat map.

And if you’d like to set up an incubator or accelerator program backed by your company, feel free to get in touch. Give me a budget and I’ll bring in a kick-ass team to build a great program.

Visiting Berlin? Check out these restaurants.


For those visiting Berlin, here’s a few all time favorite restaurants of mine. Absolutely personal list, I don’t claim that this is complete by any means. Unless noted otherwise, they’re all pretty much down-to-earth, low-to-mid price restaurants with meal prices ranging from 8-20 Euros. Also, please note that it’s not uncommon for restaurants in Berlin not to accept credit cards, so make sure to bring cash.

View Restaurants in Berlin in a larger map

Cocolo Top-notch ramen in Mitte. Never having been to Japan, Cocolo serves hands-down the best ramen I’ve ever had. I’m told it’s also an insider tipp for Japanese expats and travelers. It’s tiny, so expect to be standing in line for a while. Also, after you finished your meal, be fair to the others in the line and give up your table quickly. There’s very decent bars in the neighborhood. [Foursquare link]

Schwarzwaldstuben Quite popular with the tourist crowd but still great, Schwarzwaldstuben serve south German specialties. (Schwarzwald = Black Forest). I grew up in that region and vouch for authenticity. Strangely enough, recently they also started serving Bavarian beer in 1 liter beersteins. That shouldn’t stop you from going. For larger groups make sure to reserve a table. [Foursquare link]

3Schwestern Located in a former hospital-turned-squat-house-turned-art-space-turned-whatever it is it has turned into, and right on the spot where the annual Kreuzberg riots used to start, you’ll find a large restaurant that serves excellent meals – Pan-European maybe? French- or German-inspired? It really depends, but it’s always great. If you plan on spending lunch in a nice garden, or have dinner before going to see a movie in the open air theater next door, this is the place. They also cater to large groups easily. [Foursquare link]

Nansen Located right on the canal in Kreuzkölln (the hip northern tip of Neukölln that probes into Kreuzberg), Nansen serves German food on a high level and a strong focus on organic and vegetarian food. [Nansen]

Santa Maria/Santa Peligro Until just a few years ago, decent Mexican food was hard to find in this town. The Santa* Maria mini chain changed that and kicked off a whole wave of Mexican and Californian food. My two faves out of them: Santa Maria for lunch, Santa Peligro for dinner. Don’t miss the Margaritas. [Foursquare links: Santa Maria, Santa Peligro]
* Thanks for the hint, Parker!

Hot Spot Don’t be deceived by the generic name and awkward location. This place serves fantastic Szechuan food (numbing spice! yum!) and the staff can recommend the perfect German white wine to go with it. I once stumbled upon this place through a New York Times article and I promise: it’s worth the detour. [Foursquare link]

Cookies Cream A tad bit more prices and a lot more stylish, Cookies Cream is a vegetarian-only, absolutely delicious restaurant on top of Cookies, the famous Berlin club. Enter through a hotel backyard among trash cans, this is not a place you’d randomly stumble into. Ring the bell, find your way through the corridors. And you’ll be awarded with fantastic food and great service. [Foursquare link]

Kreuzburger There are many great burger places in Berlin. One of my favorites is Kreuzburger in the heart of Kreuzberg. Serving everything in regular or fair trade, burgers (make sure to add extra bacon, although veggie options are also available) is pretty much a greasy hole in the wall, but in the best sense of the word. It’s tiny, it’s always packed, and it’s yummy. The perfect way to kick of a long night of bar hopping in the hood. [Foursquare link]

Babanbe & Co Co Banh Mi, the Vietnamese flavor of sandwiches, have been going strong in Berlin for the better part of a year. The trend was probably kicked off by Co Co in Mitte, but Babanbe in Kreuzberg is also exquisite. Expect baguette bread with a yummy filling of beef, mushrooms or tofu, served with a variety of sauces. Sandwiches have never been better. [Foursquare links: Babanbe, Co Co]

Kimchi Princess We’ve had many good group dinners at this Korean BBQ place. Expect to leave hours later smelling like someone BBQ’d something in front of you (duh!), stuffed and with a happy, happy glow on your face. If you dare, venture through the fried chicken place next door after dinner (where during the day Angry Angry Chicken Wings are served) and go through the back door to find a well-hidden, slick Korean cocktail bar that transports you straight to the neon-lit back alleys of Seoul where you can indulge in Soju-based cocktails. [Foursquare link]

I missed your fave? Send me more in the comments! Also, any Indian or Sushi places not to be missed?

I’ll be updating and extending this list as I go along.

Update: Check out this fantastic list of the best coffee shops in Berlin by Parker.

Who are your favorite women bloggers?


A few days back, ReadWriteWeb took the Blogher conference as a good occasion to list their favorite women bloggers, Go2Web2.0’s Orli Yakuel even went a step further and made a slideshow of 50 powerful females’ blogs.

A great list! A few of these blogs I follow regularly (like Emily Chang, Xeni Jardin, Danah Boyd and Tara Hunt), a number I didn’t know, so I’ll have to explore some more. (Congrats to fellow Berliner Michelle / thornet of Creative Commons fame for making that list!)

So I’m curious: Who are your favorite women bloggers? Please put your links in the comments.

Documents Are Conversations: The Future of Work (is now)


The Future of Work?A little while back, while I was visiting San Francisco, my buddy Max Senges (the proto knowledge entrepreneur) and I had a chat or two about the future of work, which both of us see in collaboration, sharing and networking/the cloud. Of course, just like for many of you, this has basically already become part of our work lives. But it’ll go further, and a great many folks and organizations might want to catch up.

Here’s a few brief thoughts, distilled into no more than 140 characters each, Twitter style (Max’ Twitter, my Twitter). We even scribbled a bunch of them in a notebook, in long-hand, but as it is with paper we lost it. So all I can provide right now is what I remember off the top of my head.

Don’t expect anything too deep; but maybe we were able to dig up a nugget or two that resonates with you. Without further ado, here’s the first few rough ideas.

  • Documents are conversation.
  • We live in the network, and you should, too.
  • Sharing is growth.
  • Social is the new black.
  • A paywall is a wall folks crash into. Free is a freeway that folks love to surf.
  • Hardware infrastructure is dead weight. We love to fly in the cloud.
  • Iterate, iterate and iterate: Nothing is ever finished.
  • Reputation, character and smarts are our capital.
  • We don’t give a shit about fancy titles. Neither ours, nor yours.
  • We want to deliver excellent results. For our clients’ best, but also to impress our peers.
  • You can eat your cake and have it, too. And know what? Your colleagues and your competition can eat that same cake, too. You’ll still have it.
  • We prefer casual talk about biz talk. We like to Get Things Done. There’s no contradiction there.
  • Flexibility is key. We won’t buy expensive stuff without checking them out up front. And we always prefer flexible rent-on-demand services.
  • Probably we know the people you’re looking for. Just ask us.
  • All this corporate stuff isn’t very sexy. We’d like to bring our own equipment.
  • We like to remix, mash up, hack. And we don’t care if the producer likes that or not.
  • Don’t broker with information. Sharing is much more effective. More fun, too.
  • Our watercooler lives in the cloud, too, it’s called Twitter.
  • Word of mouth is a powerful thing. And through Twitter it spreads fast. Really, really, really fast.
  • We’re always on. But here and there, we’ll go off the grid. During those rare times, we really won’t answer calls. Not even yours.
  • Our carry our social networks around in our pockets. Yes, even right now.