Vienna & Berlin: Comparing Outstanding Cities For Founding Your Startup

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Let’s compare two great cities for starting your business - Berlin and Vienna! Both have really made their mark on Europe’s startup scene and now have a solid reputation as great startup growing grounds.

Let’s start with the most basic basics: Both are located in German-speaking countries where you can still get around quite well with English. While Berlin is bigger than Vienna (3.6 million compared to 1.8 million inhabitants), both can hold their own as capital cities. The two cities have a rich culture and history, a booming startup scene and are relatively cheap places to live and work. So, which one is the place for founding your startup?

What Vienna & Berlin Have In Common

Because the two cities are rather similar in their history, people and language, many of the upsides mentioned in the Berlin City Guide and the Vienna Startup City Guide overlap. Also, many of the downsides and the to-be-considered’s are similar. Here are some examples:

  1. Both Austria and Germany have a patience-testing amount of bureaucracy to be completed before founding and during your time in those countries.
  2. Both are considered to be connecting links between the East and the West of Europe.
  3. You can find great talent in both cities – many of them highly educated and some even tri-lingual.
  4. Both cities are very international and EU-oriented.
  5. If you’re looking to make an impact in the DACH region, both Vienna and Berlin are great choices to connect.

Now, let’s have a closer look at their differences:


  • Berlin has a strong focus on tech startups, with new startups founded every 20 minutes and a strong sense of pride for their tech market, both local and abroad.
  • Many other tech startups are now in the process of moving to Berlin from the UK or the States.
  • There is a strong sense of community between startups and coworking spaces.
  • The state has a strong interest in the founding of new startups and considers its startup community as one of its biggest advantages. In fact, the Federal Ministry of Finance has announced that it is putting aside an extra $10 billion to subsidise startups in Berlin.
  • In Germany, there are a few other hubs to consider and to which founders in Berlin can quickly lay ties, such as Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich.
  • For those interested in founding in Berlin, there are many accelerators and incubators from which to choose.


Berlin has a very large startup community and there are plenty of entry points into this group. It is easy to get into the community – just join a coworking space or go to one of the various startup events!

Coworking in Berlin:

  • Betahaus: for all your startup needs, daily ticket 12€, monthly flex 149€, monthly fixed 229€
  • Ahoy! Berlin: focuses on teams rather than freelancers, daily 15€, monthly 190€
  • Der Salon: for NGOs, monthly open 150€, monthly fixed 170€
  • For more, check out this list.

What’s the scene like?

The tech and digital industry are both strong in Berlin’s startup community. Nevertheless, there are always some exceptions to the rule. Like Soundcloud, which was founded in Berlin and is one of its best success stories.

Berlin’s Startup Succes Stories

  • Number 26, a digital bank which is aiming to revolutionise the way we use banks.
  • Dubsmash, which is one of the most downloaded apps on iTunes.
  • Blinkist which sums up non-fiction in short, 15-minute videos, or ‘blinks’ for those who want to keep learning after their formal education.
  • Auctionata, Germany’s biggest online auction website.
  • Deliveryhero which has raised an incredible $1billion with their food delivery service.


  • There is a large number of government grants available for new businesses.
  • Vienna is the second most liveable city in the world.
  • The focus of startups is very diverse with no distinct focus.
  • Costs for development are still quite low.
  • Vienna is smaller and hence the startup scene is more spread around a few organisations/hubs rather than many.
  • For those interested in making Vienna their base, consider this list of startup organisations based in Vienna.


With a large number of events happening every week, it is also easy to get into the startup community in Vienna. Most coworking spaces also have get-to-know events where founders, teams and enthusiasts can mingle and make new connections!

Coworking in Vienna:

  • CoSpace: open working space with a very friendly barista, 25h/month 50€, monthly flex 180€, monthly fixed 240€
  • Sektor5: feels like a coffee shop with lots of space for ideas, 15€/day, monthly 170€
  • Impact Hub Vienna: focuses on social impact of its members, daily pass 15€, any other between 20€ and 200€ per month
  • Cocoquadrat: part coworking space, part coffee shop, this space charges per hour used, 2,5€/hour
  • Talent Garden Vienna: Europe’s biggest coworking network will open a space in Vienna in summer 2017 – stay tuned for more!
  • For more, visit this site.

What’s the scene like?

Vienna does not seem to have just one focus. There are numerous different startups in just about every area you can imagine, ranging from food to education to biotech to renewable energy.

Vienna’s Startup Success Stories

    • Issmich aims to reduce the amount of food being thrown away because it does not look pretty by cooking it and thereby saving a whole lot of vegetables and fruit per month.
    • Robowunderkind which teaches kids how to code using very basic tools.
    • Shpock is an online fleamarket/second hand/vintage store where anyone can buy and sell easily.
    • Usersnap provides visual and annotated feedback via screenshots of the current browser content.

Which one should you choose?

Vienna or Berlin – they are both excellent choices to found a startup. In both cities, you will find an overflow of talent, motivation, and inspiration. And if you ever feel like you chose wrong – a flight between Berlin and Vienna is only around 100 Euros.

Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments!



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