In opposite to my previous visits, I picked Polish State Railways, as their schedule perfectly anticipated my needs. Unfortunately, things like switching the platform 2 minutes before the departure are still in common. Later, it occurred that Deutsche Bahn does not accept PDF tickets. However, I managed to reach Berlin without a fine.
The first point in my schedule was to visit Linda Grönlund, our Berlin-based client and business partner. With an over 1 hour long timebox, I decided to take a walk and supply myself with carbohydrates at one of the busiest streets of Berlin - Invalidenstrasse. After a quick lunch at Cô Chu, awesome Vietnamese restaurant (damn’ good coffee!) I had a chance to see the leftovers of the unique landmark and sign of history, the Berlin Wall.
The Berlin Wall
Linda’s Fair Photo Agency operates from beautiful, post-industrial premises of The Factory Berlin Mitte. The Factory isn’t just a co-working space. It is a strong community of over 2500 founders, professionals and entrepreneurs working on a variety of projects, products and services. The place literally vibrates with positive energy, diversity and entrepreneurship.
Hundreds of stickers are promoting initiatives all around Berlin-Mitte area
I even had a chance to take part in User Experience research; two startup founders were collecting information regarding the transportation habits, using fascinating cardboard models. Certainly, I could not resist as well as Linda and Linus, her dog.
The entrance to The Factory
The Bridge on the River Oder: software developers very close to Berlin
During the visit, I discussed the current situation of the Berlin’s startup scene, its advantages and disadvantages. More and more often it suffers due to a shortage of skilful software developers. I noticed that many of most experienced engineers are involved in the projects of Big Corporations, while smaller companies seek for in-house employees in East Europe or Asia, supporting candidates during their visa procedures.
Linus, Linda and Michal at the Factory
From my perspective, it is strongly surprising that many German startups don’t look for the development resources over the Oder river: it takes 3 hours to get from Poznań to Berlin (using Autobahn it would be even less). Polish software development teams, like Merixstudio, are happy to provide references from the DACH region and invite to our premises.
Linda’s puppy, Linus, seems to love… Apples ;)
Assuming that the cost of hiring experienced software engineers in Berlin grows significantly, performing an on-site in Poznań research doesn’t seem to be a high-risk decision. For many founders with limited budgets, this can be a great option, especially at the seed stage. Hiring a Poznań-based team is also a great option for series B/C/D companies, which need to scale up quickly to secure their competitive advantage.
The main event - Polish Tech Night
Traditionally, Polish Tech Night was a successful event, attracting a vast group of founders and professionals, representing different competencies and skills. The main part of the event is always the pitching time. This year 7 amazing companies from Poland were applying for investment, representing different industries and business models.
Pitching at the Polish Tech Night
The event was initiated by a fireside chat, during which Christophe Hocquet (Brille24) and Paweł Chudziński (Point Nine Capital) discussed the condition of the Polish startup scene. The chat was moderated by the chief-in-editor of Business Insider Poland, Łukasz Grass. Just like the last year, the 4th edition fireside chat was a great opportunity to learn the opinions and statements of internationally recognised experts.
Linda, Alex and Michal at Polish Tech Night 2018
The greatest value behind Polish Tech Night is strongly related to the networking part. The event attracts many highly skilled founders and professionals and provides an excellent opportunity to discuss product, market and development related matters.
I left Berlin with a delayed bus from ZentralerOmnibus. Although the travel took a bit more than scheduled, I still wouldn’t call that long. The distance between Berlin and Poznan is very short. Poznań is a city of a 500k population, where around 20% of inhabitants are university students.
Poland has been acclaimed as one of the leading countries in the field of custom software development. Currently, founders, entrepreneurs, and project managers are attracted not only by the great Django, React or Vue competencies. They need a full stack consultancy - engineering skills combined with business acumen. Poland has become a haven for ambitious entrepreneurs, combining all of these requirements under reasonable pricing.
Events like Polish Tech Night help Polish and German communities in the integration of experts, companies and societies, building a platform which allows exchanging know-how in comfortable conditions. I hope that the future editions will be so successful as the previous ones, looking forward to paying a visit to Berlin next time.
If the Polish startups are increasing their presence in Germany, why German startups can’t benefit from the outstanding software engineers, based right behind the River Oder Bridges?