The Local – a site on which you can read local (in this case German) news in English – is not a news source that I would expect to have a particular expertise on startups. Nevertheless an article titled How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential which was published there made the rounds last week, also among startup circles.
Some of the points raised apply to startups everywhere: I have yet to see a startup ecosystem which is not male-dominated (3.), including Sweden – which seems to be the author’s favorite. The Swedish startups mentioned by the author on a previous point (1.), Truecaller, Spotify and Tictail, are very much male-lead, having investors such as Atomico and KPCB, which are also male-dominated. Early-stage startups lacking experienced employees (4.) is the rule rather than the exception, too, and many of Berlin’s startups are still rather early-stage.
For some other points, I have seen examples of exactly opposite at startups in Berlin and I would argue that I have a more representative sample, being around a number different startups since late 2009, compared to the author Shaun Kemp, who seems to have worked for exactly one (!) startup (Twago) for 2 years, since he arrived in 2014, according to his LinkedIn. I have seen hierarchies that were anything but flat (5.), and I have seen innovation slowing down because of too much structure and hierarchy levels (7.) and (8.).
So what is actually going wrong in Berlin? First of all, I would say: not everything, or most things, as Kemp’s article seems to imply. Things are definitely not “ideal” though either. To give a current “case study”, consider Movinga.