Publication:
2019
URN:
https://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:kobv:109-1-15365000
Path:
EDITION Nº 01/2019

BUSINESS NEWS TO TAKE AWAY

B:\ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
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INTERVIEW: DR. RALF HERBRICH FROM AMAZON
TEA TIME WITH RAJESH AGRAWAL
COLLONIL: SHINY SHOES SINCE 1909

INTERNATIONAL
COSMOPOLITAN
CREATIVE

ALL DAY
SCHOOLS

RELIABLE
AND PROVEN

GRADES
1–13

ALL EXAMS

“Dare to be wise.”
Immanuel Kant
For 60 years we have provided a happy school environment for the children and adolescents entrusted to our care. We strive to connect with tolerance and respect, while
dedicated teachers and state-of-the-art school facilities shape the daily classroom experience. Our educational work is designed to nurture critically-thinking, responsible
and compassionate members of society who bravely face the challenges of the future.

Kant-Grundschule

Kant-Oberschule

personal atmosphere ∙ English from
grade 1 to 6 ∙ guided homework hours
Grunewaldstraße 44 · 12165 Berlin
phone 82 00 70 900

Secondary school up to Abitur
Economics in English or German
Campus Steglitz · Körnerstraße 11
12169 Berlin · phone 79 000 360

Berlin International School

Internationale Schule Berlin

Primary and Secondary school (E/G)
offering BBR, MSA, IGCSE and IB-D
examinsations
Campus Dahlem · Lentzeallee 8/14
14195 Berlin · phone 82 00 77 780

Primary and Secondary school (G/E)
offering a Bilingual Abitur (university
entrance)
Campus Steglitz · Körnerstraße 11
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Sie finden uns auch im Internet unter www.private-kant-schulen.de
2
Verband Deutscher Privatschulen
Landesverband Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.
Bildungseinrichtungen in freier Trägerschaft

EDITORIAL

DEAR READER,
The future is being built in Berlin. In the field of artificial intelligence, the city already boasts
223 companies, over 4,900 employees and a turnover €0.5 billion, making it the place to be for
AI in Germany.
However, the very technology that innovators and visionaries are reveling in is causing concern
among skeptics and doomsday theorists, some of whom fear a scenario in which machines outperform human beings and ultimately take over the world. But no worries, you’re not going to
run in to an Ex Machina in the German capital, nor is Berlin’s Plänterwald the new Westworld.
And rest assured that AI is not able to either replace or outdo humans – at least not yet.
In fact, you might be surprised to find out just how often AI already contributes to making our
everyday lives easier: for example, when we use facial recognition to unlock our smartphones
or when Amazon suggests the latest book by our favorite author. Even the automatic chat of our
mobile service provider is based on intelligent software.
AI also makes key contributions to such things as the reliable diagnosis of illnesses and
the testing of self-driving cars. Many of these applications originated in startups in BerlinBrandenburg; between 2012 and 2017, 48% of all AI startups in Germany chose to set up offices
in the capital region. In addition, a number of these innovative applications are based on the
work of over 60 scholars who carry out research in Berlin on AI-related subjects.
Artificial intelligence is a field with unlimited potential, and this issue of Berlin to go shines
a spotlight on the cutting-edge products and services being generated for the future in Berlin.
I wish you a pleasant read!
Sincerely,

Dr. Stefan Franzke

Source: Technologiestiftung Berlin

CEO, Berlin Partner

3

CONTENTS
Savvy solutions

20

from Berlin
These solutions are
improving everyday life

PROSPECTS
A Berlin original

22

Collonil – shiny shoes
since 1909
Bringing added

In search
of streamlined
intelligence
Water for the 

Eye on Berlin 

6

News from the capital

TITLE
8

At home in Berlin: AI

28

How companies

16

TE A TIME

Basic research in data

London and Berlin

science from Berlin

A conversation with Rajesh

Amazon

Agrawal, Dep. Mayor

30

of London
19

How an app could
change healthcare

10

lined intelligence
Dr. Ralf Herbrich researches
what customers want for
Amazon
13

intelligence?
From sci-fi to everyday
technology

30
4

Pizza alone won’t cut it

digital mill

Ouch, ADA!

Intro

What is artificial

its 2018 annual report

attract developers

NEWS TO GO

In search of stream-

Berlin Partner presents

Tea
Time

Photos: ©  Amazon (Montage RAZ Verlag), © Wolf Lux, © camera photo arte snc

10

26

value to Berlin

RECOMMEN­
DATIONS
Culture tips

LEGAL NOTICE
32

Editors:
Christin Berges / Ltg.
Gabriele Schulte-Kemper / Ltg.

Highlights on Berlin’s

Heike Herckelrath

event calendar

Inka Thaysen
Layout & graphics:
Daniel Isbrecht

Is a Berlin Partner publication
Publisher:
Berlin Partners Holding
Capital City Marketing Ltd.
Fasanenstrasse 85
10623 Berlin
CEO:
Dr. Stefan Franzke
Editor in Chief:
Lukas Breitenbach (V.i.S.d.P.)
lukas.breitenbach@berlin-partner.de
Tel.: +49 30 - 46 30 25 99

BERLIN TO D O
Dates
Dates & Events

34

Published by:
RAZ Verlag
Am Borsigturm 13 · 13507 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 - 437 77 82 - 0
Fax: +49 30 - 437 77 82 - 22
Managing Director:
Tomislav Bucec

Contributing staff to this edition:
Christiane Flechtner
Anja Jönsson
Translation:
Barbara Serfozo
Ads:
RAZ Verlag, Falko Hoffmann
anzeigen_BTG@raz-verlag.de
Tel.: +49 30 - 437 77 82 - 20
Production:
LASERLINE GmbH
Scheringstrasse 1 · 13355 Berlin-Mitte
www.laser-line.de
Copies printed: 2,000
Any media data used in this publication are taken from November 2018.

5

NEWS TO GO

6

Strong
Growth
Anticipated

Urban
5G Model
Region

Robust
Startup
Dynamic

The latest economic report
issued by Berlin’s Senate
Department for Economics,
Energy and Public Enterprises shows that the capital
is continuing its positive
growth trajectory. As Economics Senator Ramona
Pop noted, “The forces
for growth in Berlin have
maintained the upper hand.
And this upward trend is
being driven by a combination of the fast-growing service industries and
the robust manufacturing
industry. We expect to see
a growth rate of roughly
2.7% for 2018. And, at the
moment, in spite of international perils, we are
forecasting 2.3% growth
for 2019, which brings us in
above the national average.” According to the economic report, considerable
momentum is coming from
the service industries. In
the information and communication sector alone,
the number of employees
subject to social security
contributions increased
by roughly 11%, which is
more than two times higher
than the rate nationwide.

Berlin’s Senate Department
for Economics, Energy and
Public Enterprises and Deutsche Telekom came together
for intensive discussions
designed to identify measures that would allow them
to jointly bring forward the
expansion of the 5G mobile
network as soon as possible.
The measures will include
the provision of public infrastructure, including support
structures for base stations
with low-power transmission, so-called “small cells.”
Findings from a joint project
that tested out locations for
LTE small cells – such as light
poles, advertising clocks and
BVG info pillars – will also be
taken into consideration. Berlin is home to many innovative companies that would
benefit from the opportunities associated with the early
introduction of a 5G mobile
network. For this reason, in
the course of the expansion
process, we will be prioritizing
support for Berlin’s “locations
of future innovations” including the Adlershof, CHIC and
FUBIC tech parks and the
Siemens Innovation Campus.
Additional event locations and
transport routes will follow.

521 digital companies were
founded in Berlin in 2017,
which is 80 companies
more than in the previous
year. As reported by the
IBB, this marks a whopping 18% increase in the
number of new companies
founded in the capital over
the previous year. In 2017,
Berlin saw as many digital companies founded as
in Hamburg (224), Munich
(153) and Frankfurt/Main
(137) combined. These days,
the founding of one out of
every ten digital companies
in Germany takes place in
Berlin. With regard to the
intensity of founding activities – that is, the number
of companies founded per
10,000 employees – Berlin
comes in at second place
with 59 companies founded, following Cologne (81)
in first place, but ahead of
Frankfurt (47), Hamburg
(41) and Munich (23). There
are currently 9,696 companies active in the digital
economy in Berlin; in total,
they provide 88,206 jobs.

Expansions
in the Field
of AI

Climbing
Co-Working
Construction Space for
Costs
Startups

The British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is setting up an AI center at its
location in the Brandenburg town of Dahlewitz near
Berlin. Company sources
say the project is part of
a planned five-year, €113
million investment. They
also expect the AI center to
benefit from the surrounding Berlin-Brandenburg
tech environment. RollsRoyce has had a location
in Dahlewitz for 25 years.
Google is also expanding
its operations in Berlin; as
of January, 300 employees
are working primarily in
the field of AI at the company’s new offices in the
historic Gropius Ensemble, which forms part of the
“Forum at Museum Island.”
At the official opening of
the new site, Google CEO
Sundar Pichai announced further investments
in Germany as well as an
expansion of the company’s
digital education services.

Builders in Berlin and Brandenburg are now having to
dig ever deeper into their
pockets. In 2018, the cost
of erecting new residential
buildings in Berlin was on
average 6.3% higher than in
the previous year. In Brandenburg, construction costs
increased by 5.8%. At the
beginning of the year, the
Berlin-Brandenburg Office
of Statistics pointed out
that prices in Berlin rose
more than ever since the
Wall came down. In Brandenburg, construction costs
in 2018 increased by 5.8%
compared to the previous
year. This was the largest
increase in eleven years.
But it’s not just the cost
of new construction that’s
climbing; anyone using the
services of a craftsman to
paint a ceiling or put up
some wallpaper had to pay
a full 8% more than in the
previous year in Berlin. In
Brandenburg, the costs of
such “cosmetic” repairs
rose by 7.8%. The costs of
road construction in Berlin
increased by 11.5%; in Brandenburg, they rose by 9.5%.

The TU Berlin has opened its
new EINS co-working space
in a building on Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1. EINS is a unique
innovation platform that
stands for entrepreneurship, innovation, network and
sustainability. The location
is designed to service company founders, researchers
and students and to serve as
a location where entrepreneurship and tech-transfer
projects that have potential
for a threefold, sustainable
impact – economic, social
and ecological – can be carried out and transferred into
practice. The 1,000 square-meter space has 80 work
stations, a prototype workshop (Maker Space), office
and seminar rooms as well
as an event space for almost
200 people. EINS brings
together researchers and
scientific findings together
with actors drawn from business, politics and civil society. Together, they will work
across disciplines to provide
entrepreneurial solutions to
future challenges and generate added value for society.

7

TITLE

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
IS AT HOME IN BERLIN
B:\ In Berlin-Brandenburg, a total
of 223 AI companies with a turn­
over of just under =C 0.5 billion
have been identified as being
active in the field of artificial
intelligence (AI). This accounts
for roughly 8% of total turnover
in the region's software and data
service industry.
B:\ Compared with other locations
in Germany, Berlin-Brandenburg
has emerged as a major location
for AI. Since the mid-2000s, companies active in the field of AI
have increasingly set up shop in
the capital region.
B:\ AI companies employ 4,900
individuals, with 83% of these
employees working for small and
micro enterprises.
B:\ An estimated turnover of
=C 2 billion [in 2025, editor's
note] generated by AI companies
in Berlin-Brandenburg appears
realistic. The growth of the
sector's sales potential depends
closely on international, national
and regional frameworks.
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8
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B:\ A total of 28% of German
companies active in the field
of AI are based in Berlin-Brandenburg. In fact, between 2012
and 2017, 48% of all AI startups
in Germany were founded in the
region.
B:\ The region's AI companies are
known for their ability to use
AI systems (weak AI) to provide
other companies with solutions to
clearly defined problems.
The region's AI companies focus
on creating knowledge-based
expert systems and systems
capable of understanding speech.
It was not possible to identify practical applications of
so-called strong AI either in the
region or at the national level.
It was also not possible to identify any research and development
being carried out in strong AI in
the region.
B:\ Roughly =C 231 million in venture capital has gone towards AI
companies in Berlin-Brandenburg.
This marks a 45% share of German
VC financing for AI companies,
thus making the capital region a
leading location for VC financing
for AI. Those AI companies that
have received the most VC financing are largely active in the
fields of health, business intelligence, process management and
robotics.

B:\ ARTIFICIAL INTELLGENCE

B:\ From 2007 to 2017, it was
possible to identify a total of
273 AI-related research projects
in Berlin-Brandenburg that were
supported by federal ministries
with a total of =C 117 million in
funding.

Strong AI:
These are AI systems that have the
same capabilities as human beings
and even surpass them. Such systems
display self-initiative, independent decision-making capabilities,
creativity, the ability to react to
unpredictable events, the ability
to plan and learn and all combinations of the above. At the moment,
strong AI exists only in theory.

B:\ Today, there are 50 to 65
professors teaching and carrying
out research on AI-relevant subjects at universities, technical
colleges and non-university research institutes In Berlin-Brandenburg. Research is being done
in interdisciplinary networks
in subjects ranging from speech
recognition systems to collaborative robots.

Weak AI:
These are AI systems that support
human beings in making decisions,
while also automating repetitive
activities and performing simple activities on their own. They
supply solutions to concrete application problems, including learning capacities and the ability
to replicate human skills in subareas. Today's AI systems operate
solely in the realm of weak AI.

Source: Künstliche Intelligenz in Berlin und Brandenburg, Daniel Feser, Technologiestiftung Berlin, 2018

Aus Begeisterung wird Business.
IBB für junge Unternehmen: Die Startup-Förderer in Berlin.
Sie haben eine innovative Idee für eine Unternehmensgründung – wir haben
das Förderprogramm. Gemeinsam mit Ihnen entwickeln wir einen passenden
Finanzierungsplan, damit Ihr Unternehmen zum nachhaltigen Erfolg wird.
Sprechen Sie mit uns!
Telefon: 030 / 2125-4747
E-Mail: gruenden@ibb.de
www.ibb.de/gruenden

TITLE

10

IN PURSUIT OF
INTELLIGENCE EFFICIENCY
Dr. Ralf Herbrich heads a research
team at Amazon tasked with forecasting
customer wishes
If you’ve ever noticed Alexa’s uncanny ability
to play the perfect music to fit your mood, or
if you’ve ever been shopping for a reading
lamp on Amazon and suddenly had your
favorite author’s latest book recommended
to you, then it’s highly likely you’ve come into
contact with the work of Dr. Ralf Herbrich and
associated international development teams.

MR HERBRICH, WHEN YOU COMPLETED
YOUR DOCTORATE IN MACHINE LEARNING
20 YEARS AGO AT TU BERLIN, THE SUBJECT
WAS STILL CONSIDERED OF SECONDARY
IMPORTANCE. WHAT CAPTIVATED YOU
ABOUT AI?

Herbrich is a 44-year-old German with a doc-

were going to happen. And now those things

I carried out my university studies based on a
vision of the future that didn’t exist at the time.
Back then, I had to dream up all the things that

torate in computer science from TU Berlin

are actually becoming a reality. The greatest

who – after studying at universities in Berlin

hurdle we faced 20 years ago was the limited

and Cambridge and holding vari-

processing power of computers; today, we have

ous positions at Microsoft and

that power in unlimited supply thanks to the

Facebook – is now director of

cloud. Amazon currently has thousands of rese-

Machine Learning at Amazon.

archers and developers working on AI all over

As a globally renowned expert

the globe. Each one of them is a specialist in the

for artificial intelligence

field, which shows how popular and important AI

(AI), he is responsible for

is at Amazon. This is one of the key things I like

teaching computers how

about Amazon’s DNA. It’s the drive to invent and

to see, hear and speak. He

develop something new, something once conside-

aims to achieve something

red impossible. This never stops fascinating me.

that seemed impossible only
a few years ago; the ability to
predict the probability of
future events.

YOU ONCE SAID IN AN INTERVIEW: “THE
EXCITING THING ABOUT MACHINE LEAR­
NING IS THAT IT ALLOWS YOU TO APPLY
SCIENCE DIRECTLY.” HOW EXACTLY IS IT
BEING APPLIED AT AMAZON TODAY?
Artificial intelligence and in particular machine
learning are an integral part of many products
and services at Amazon. In fact, it’s probably
easier to count the number of products and services that operate without artificial intelligence at
Amazon than those that already use the technology. For example, machine learning allows us to
generate precisely forecast the demand. Amazon
has developed algorithms that can make predictions for the next season. This is a key factor in
being able to order the right goods in the right
amount in stock and to deliver them in time to
customers.
11

are going to play an increasingly important role
in the future. Today, we human beings are still
the most energy-efficient form of intelligence.
It will be a while before computer processors
become as efficient as the human brain. The largest challenge facing AI today is no longer the
The Krausenhöfe (Krausen Courtyards) are home to
Amazon’s Berlin development center

idea of becoming as precise as human beings with

YOU ALSO HAVE A TEAM AT YOUR BERLIN
OFFICES WORKING ON MACHINE TRANSLA­
TIONS. WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON THERE?

human beings in the process.

regard to perception and prediction; instead, the
challenge is to be able to use as little energy as

zon’s “Marketplace” e-commerce platform can

OVER 700 EMPLOYEES WORK AT AMAZON’S
BERLIN DEVELOPMENT CENTER. AN IMPORT­
ANT GLOBAL AMAZON MACHINE LEARNING
TEAM ALSO WORKS FROM OFFICES IN THE
GERMAN CAPITAL. WHAT MAKES BERLIN
SUCH A GOOD PLACE TO DO BUSINESS?

have their product descriptions automatically

Berlin has three key advantages: first, leading

A team of speech scientists has developed a
system that makes it possible to translate product descriptions into many different languages
automatically. This means that sellers on Ama-

translated into the many different languages in

global scientists work at Berlin universities in the

Europe, thus offering them access to markets

fields of machine learning and robotics. Second,

beyond their countries of origin. This generates

the city has an incredibly vibrant startup scene

new sales opportunities for companies and even

that continues to attract leading minds from all

greater choice for customers. It enables small and

over the world. And, finally, Berlin is truly inter-

medium-sized companies to enter international

national. I really like it and I see over and over

markets with marginal or no additional effort.

again that my Amazon colleagues from all over

Machine translation also makes it possible for

the world like to work here.

them to test the demand for certain products in

the Berlin machine learning team in cooperation

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU BENEFIT FROM
YOUR PROXIMITY TO BERLIN UNIVERSITIES
SUCH AS THE TU?

with several Amazon teams in Europe and the

We cooperate with many research institutions,

United States. Each year, hundreds of millions

including several universities and institutes such

foreign markets at no great expense. This translation service is a development that emerged from

of product pages on Amazon’s Marketplace are

as the Max Planck Society. For example, we joined

translated with the service.

with TU Berlin to create a model for post-docs in
which they work four days with us and one day

ENERGY-EFFICIENT ALGORITHMS ARE ANO­
THER FUTURE-RELEVANT ISSUE. HOW ARE
YOU TARGETING IT?

The Amazon Scholar program offers a different

These days, we already have self-learning software

model by allowing scientists to take a semester

at the TU’s Database Systems and Information

that can defeat human beings at complex board

off to work on projects for Amazon. Our CEO

games such as Chess and Go. But these algorithms

Jeff Bezos is already setting a great example by

still require one hundred or a thousand times

working four days at Amazon and one day at

more energy than humans do. I run marathons,

the space company Blue Origin. So the model is

so I’m well aware of the need to ration my energy,

obviously quite good.

because I know it’s going to run out at some point,
probably at a very unfavorable moment. But these
days, academic research into AI is not concentrating on the energy-efficiency of algorithms.
However, the more industry applies such demand
forecasts, the more important this aspect becomes
as the costs of computer processing capacities
12

Read the entire interview with Dr.
Ralf Herbrich on www.ki-berlin.de
where you’ll also find additional
articles and reports on the subject
of artificial intelligence in Berlin.

Photos: © Amazon, Montage RAZ

Management Group under Prof. Volker Markl.

TITLE

WELCOME
TO REALITY!
From science fiction
to everyday technology
Text: Anja Jönsson

Question: What makes it possible
for Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant to
answer questions and solve tasks?
Answer: artificial intelligence (AI).
Anyone who spends time in the digital
world interacts with it. And AI is a
hot topic today. Most magazines,
newspapers and science programs
have covered the subject in recent
months. AI is indeed fascinating,
but it’s also something many
people are afraid of.

the meantime. But what is actually behind the
recent waves of progress and popularity in AI?
The development is being driven in part by massive amounts of data (global data volume grows
at a rate of 50% per year); on the other hand, the
rapidly growing computing power and capacity
of computers along with significantly improved
algorithms and approaches to machine learning
are also playing an key role.
Scientists have been exploring the subject of
AI for decades, but that doesn’t mean there is
any clear or universally accepted definition of

Although artificial intelli-

it. American mathematician Marvin Minsky is

gence is not necessarily

considered an AI pioneer, having co-founded

anything new, it is most

the brand-new scientific discipline in 1956 with

definitely experiencing a

the words: “Artificial Intelligence is the science

renaissance today, many

of making machines do things that would

decades after its first men-

require intelligence if done by men.” Minsky

tion. People have been exploring

argued that the things a human brain accom-

AI since the beginning of electronic

plishes were not supernatural, and therefore

computing. In the 1950s, one of the

that it must be possible to teach these things

most influential theoreticians in the

to machines.

early phase of computer development, British computer scientist Alan

“There is no universal definition of artificial

Turing, posed the question as to whether

intelligence,” notes Claudia Pohlink, head of

machines were capable of thought. Since

artificial intelligence and machine learning at

then, the scientific field of AI has experi-

Deutsche Telekom’s Innovation Laboratories

enced a number of ups and downs. In the

in Berlin. “We define AI as follows: The goal

1990s, scientists concentrated more on

of research into artificial intelligence is to

using AI for real-life problems. A milestone

enable intelligent behavior in machines with

in AI research occurred when IBM’s “Deep

the help of science. In that process, one of our

Blue” computer beat world champion Garri

key priorities is to point out that AI is desi-

Kasparov at chess in 1997. On a side note, an

gned to support people in their everyday lives,

average chess app on any smartphone these

not replace them. AI is a very complex concept,

days would be able to beat “Deep Blue,” which

and when they talk about AI, many people are

shows just how far the technology has come in

actually talking about machine learning, which
13

TITLE

is a subject area within AI.” Pohlink explains

the higher the likelihood that it will be able to

further: “Simply put, machine learning is

filter that face out of a mass of other faces at

a method of analyzing large amounts

a later date.”

of data from which different types of
knowledge are ‘artificially’ genera-

The extent of AI’s abilities is very dependent

ted and learned. Groups are for-

on the quality and quantity of the data provi-

med, images recognized and pat-

ded to it. This means that AI will become more

terns identified. For example,

intelligent and more capable of learning when it

after an initial learning pro-

receives a larger amount of high-quality data. It

cess, AI is capable of diffe-

also means that incomplete or inaccurate data

rentiating cats from dogs

will lead to insufficient results. This is the point

on photos. Deep learning is

at which algorithmic prejudices – often referred

a special form of machine

to as a “bias” – emerge. “This is where the dan-

learning, a process that goes

ger arises that the data is biased,” notes Poh-

even deeper, applies to larger

link. “We have many examples of this in reality.

amounts of data and makes

Amazon, for example, tried to use AI to process

use of neural networks.”

CVs and garner recommendations as to which
candidates were best for a job. They had to halt

The neural networks Pohlink is

the experiment because the AI was suggesting

talking about are modeled on

primarily male candidates.”

the human brain and contain
artificial neurons. These are

Artificial intelligence is no longer a thing of the

built up in layers and linked

future; it’s already part of our everyday lives.

to one another. The more

This was confirmed in a recent study carried

layers and neurons there

out by the U.S. software company Pega (“What

are, the larger the

Consumers Really Think About AI: A Global

number of complex

Study,” 2019), which asked 6,000 individuals

relationships that

across the globe whether they used a device

can be mapped

containing artificial intelligence. The findings

and displayed.

showed the ambivalent relationship of consu-

“Much

like

mers to AI: 84% of respondents used AI (on

human

the basis of specific devices or services cont-

brain, AI has

aining AI components), such as virtual home

to constantly solve

assistants, intelligent chat bots and predictive

the

new tasks and respond

product recommendations), but only one in

to changing circumstan-

three respondents was aware of the fact that

ces, and this requires

AI was involved. And only one in two respon-

continuously new infor-

dents knew that AI solutions make it possible

mation (data) so as to be

for machines to learn new things. Even fewer

able to work out models more

respondents were aware of the fact that AI can

precisely and develop alterna-

also solve problems and understand languages.

tive solutions,” notes Pohlink.

And yet it is precisely these abilities that repre-

“In other words, AI is cons-

sent AI’s fundamental characteristics.

tantly trying to improve its-

14

elf and increase the accuracy

Today, our everyday digital lives would be

of its hits with regard to answers.

unthinkable without AI. Especially in the vari-

A good example of this would be

ous apps and functions on our smartphones,

facial recognition; the larger the

many of them operate with the help of intel-

number of different images a neu-

ligent computer programs. For example, the

ral network receives from a parti-

latest iPhone now features facial recognition.

cular face as a basis for its learning,

In order to make it possible for users to unlock

the iPhone XS quickly, Apple developed face-ID

the existing fears. “Stephen Hawking thought

technology; while scanning the face, the camera

AI could become a terrible event in human

uses a point projector to project 30,000 image

history, and even Tesla head Elon Musk

points onto the face of the user. These points

is critical of it.” Of course, she cont-

serve as a type of map for the creation of a

inues, “I see it as our duty to make

digital pattern. Even a new pair of glasses or a

sure that certain ethical principles

beard will not confuse the iPhone, seeing as the

are observed in the development of

facial recognition function is constantly impro-

AI.” In this spirit, Deutsche Tele-

ving itself with the help of machine learning.

kom – and other companies, as

Facebook and other apps also use AI to adapt

well – have developed a code of

as effectively as possible to the interests of

ethics for the handling of AI,

their users. If anyone is wondering why they’re

the guiding principle of which

always being shown their best friends’ posts,

is: AI systems should always be

AI is behind it. The abovementioned chat bots

subject to the same laws that

represent another important area of application

apply to humans.

for AI. These computer programs “converse”
with users and answer questions. In the process,

No doubt, the further develop-

they rely on large databases that enable them

ment of AI is unstoppable. But

to understand questions and provide approp-

how can people unfamiliar with

riate answers.

the rapid development come to
a better understanding of it?

The Pega survey also shows that 70% of res-

Pohlink has an answer: “The

pondents find AI to be troubling in one way

easiest way to understand it

or the other. A quarter of respondents even

is to compare it to the intro-

fear that machines will one day be able to take

duction of the computer

over the world. Companies should reflect on

into our everyday lives.

these consumer fears and take advantage of all

Some people were

opportunities to explain the benefits of AI to

overwhelmed by

consumers in an understandable way.

this

change.

Others actively
The key starting points for these efforts are

attended clas-

education and transparency. According to Poh-

ses to be able

link, users should be informed in advance with

to grasp and use

regard to a number of things, including what

the new technology.”

happens to their data, what kind of knowledge

Pohlink speaks passionately

AI can garner on the basis of collected user data

about her area of expertise,

and what this knowledge will ultimately be used

and argues that AI seeks

for. Today, AI is used solely in a task-related

to support human beings –

manner, and Pohlink argues that this is why it

not replace them – in their

is easier to overlook what AI is actually capable

daily lives. “The great thing

of achieving.

about AI is that it can be used
by anyone for anyone, because it

In fact, these days, the fields in which AI sys-

learns to understand the needs

tems can be applied are vast: they include medi-

and demands of each user. The

cine, telecommunications, banking, insurance,

best way for inexperienced users

financial services, legal services, the automo-

to relieve their apprehension is to

tive industry, public administration – the list

simply welcome it into their lives in

goes on. AI has long since arrived in all of these

a playful manner. AI is designed to

areas. And yet, there is still a palpable sense

simplify our daily lives, so we can

of apprehension. “Each new technology has

expect that its usability will soon

its downside,” notes Pohlink, who is aware of

become increasingly intuitive as well.”
15

TITLE

WATER FOR
THE DIGITAL MILL
Data-based research is transforming
Berlin into an engine for the development
of manifold AI applications
Text: Inka Thaysen

16

The image of an underground canal system
and that of a clinical server room could
not be more different. Indeed, apart from
sharing a monotonous background noise,
the two have very little in common. So
it’s surprising that Professor Dr. Volker
Markl drew precisely this comparison at a
recent conference of international experts
in an attempt to explain what it is that
he does. Markl sees himself as a kind of
plumber, describing his work in very vivid
terms: “You need pipes, high-pressure
pumps and treatment plants to be able to
do great things with water, like building
fountains and cooking delicious meals.
It’s my job to make sure everything runs
smoothly with regard to the water supply.”

it responsibly, manage its myriad of individual
pieces and thus “feed” machines in such a way
that they can analyze it in an optimal manner
and bring connections to light. “This doesn’t
mean sitting in front of a computer all day in a
quiet room,” notes Markl, correcting the pre-conceived idea many have of his job. “In fact, it is
a very communicative profession. It’s varied
and exciting and has plenty of room for ideas
and visions. We launch projects, write scientific
articles, assist in the emergence and growth of
startups, cooperate with industry and generally
get around a lot.”
Markl and Müller, two multiple award-winning
scientists, have already celebrated a number
of successes, as their teams regularly function
the engine for a number of popular develop-

Of course, the water in this analogy represents

ments. For example, the “Apache Flink” appli-

an entirely different raw material – one that is in

cation used worldwide today owes its existence

high demand in our increasingly digitalized era,

to Markl’s research. This app links computers
to one another and mana-

namely data! Markl is head
of the Berlin Big Data Center (BBDC) and co-director of
the Berlin Center for Machine
Learning (BZML). These two
Berlin institutions work closely together to examine
the fundamentals of what is

“Innovation
cannot be
planned”
Prof. Dr. Klaus-Robert Müller

commonly described as arti-

ges their cooperation in the
analysis of giant amounts of
data. Müller’s working group
alone is responsible for the
founding of 15 companies
and the creation of 400 new
jobs in the capital. Among
other applications, his rese-

ficial intelligence (AI). This term is not always

arch has made its way into the software used

the first choice in research circles, notes BZML

in image and speech recognition, in autono-

spokesperson and BBDC co-director Prof. Dr.

mous driving for the auto industry and in the

Klaus-Robert Müller, one of Markl’s colleagues

field of medicine, where it has assisted in the

and himself an international though leader in

analysis and forecasting of cancer cell develop-

the field: “AI is a word designed to give the gene-

ment and used in brain-computer interfaces

ral public a vague notion of what we do,” he says.

designed to help locked-in patients make their

As Müller notes, the foundation of AI is, in fact,

wishes known. “Centers of expertise are plat-

machine learning and database management,

forms through which we exchange knowledge

and ultimately also mathematics and computer

with different disciplines,” says Müller. “We are

science.

in constant dialogue with the business community and ultimately also with society. Indeed, we

Thanks to the close cooperation between the

continually make an effort to help people under-

BBDC and BZML, Berlin now holds a truly leading

stand what it is that we do exactly.”

position in Germany and also plays a pioneering
role far beyond its borders. “All machines learn

As Müller notes, the ultimate goal is to gene-

from data. Period,” says Müller, emphasizing the

rate enthusiasm here in Berlin and make the

universal potential of the work being done in

opportunities understandable to all. It is thus

the capital. The ultimate aim is to procure an

also important to transport these ideas to the

adequate amount of this data resource, handle

political realm. Last summer, Chancellor Angela

17

TITLE

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Robert Müller

Prof. Dr. Volker Markl

Merkel organized a gathering of AI experts to

lead in the industry. However, in the past several

which Müller and Markl were also invited. The

years, Germany – and especially Berlin – has set

core of the meeting focused on developing a

out on a veritable sprint. “I believe we’re doing

national strategy that would bundle the poten-

pretty well,” says Markl modestly with regard to

tial advantages of digitalization. This factor is a

his own performance. Like Müller, he also empha-

key priority for the two Berlin-based scientists,

sizes the growing climate of innovation with new

because their location will only be able to flou-

companies and more capital.

and state levels of government: “We already have

Markl also points out that the infrastructure for

the expertise in Berlin, but it must be secured for

founding companies has grown significantly. This

the long-term in a sustainable way,” notes Markl.

is a sector that ends up re-inspiring itself over

He argues that the most important thing is that

time, as first-generation role models, mentors

groups of specialists have time and space for

and business angels pass on their knowledge

open-ended cooperation, alongside steady and

and industry contacts to the next group of young

simultaneous funding, an attractive research

innovators. Markl also emphasizes the work being

environment and opportunities to foster young

done by Berlin’s universities to educate students

companies. “Most people take wwhat they know

in the field of big data, which provides students

and extrapolate that. But that’s not how innova-

not only with a scientific basis but also with the

tion works! It cannot be planned,” underscores

necessary business acumen. In turn, this is great

Müller. On the contrary, in the case of broad and

for recruiting: “There are three times as many

ongoing work, sometimes the only thing you can

fantastic people out there than jobs,” reports

hope for is something unexpected to happen;

Müller. This is a true luxury considering the high

something that causes “the whole world to look

market demand. Still, both funding and person-

different.” As Müller says, “This is basically our

nel resources are ultimately finite, he admits, a

core business.”

little tongue in cheek: “I myself want to be able to

At this point, it’s quite clear that there is tremen-

fessor and tend to my roses.” Although the image

slow down at some point, become a wise old pro-

18

dous big-data potential waiting to be discovered

of this “teacher of machines” in his rose garden

and canalized with the help of data-based rese-

is meant, again, more as a symbol, it neverthe-

arch from Berlin. It’s also quite clear that this will

less corresponds to the analogy mentioned above.

involve a certain race with the competition. The

Indeed, roses also need water to grow and unfold

United States and China have indeed taken the

their full splendor.

Photos: © Phil Dera, © Christian Kielmann

rish if it receives support from both the federal

TITLE

OUCH, ADA!
How an app could change healthcare
Text: Lukas Breitenbach

Ada is an AI-based health platform
designed to help people better understand
their health and determine the most
appropriate next steps toward the right
treatment. Ada must be a pretty smart app,
right? It’s time for two self-experiments.

diseases. After determining my symptoms, Ada
offers me five possible causes (in the following
order): 1) musculoskeletal neck pain, 2) degenerative disease of the cervical vertebrae, 3) acute
cervical radicular pain, 4) craniomandibular
dysfunction and 5) neck muscle tension. Wow,
maybe I really should go to the doctor? A crani-

I must have made a wrong move. At a recent

omandibular dysfunction is not something to be

press conference in – of all places – Berlin’s

trifled with – I think.

Senate Department for Health, I suddenly felt a
massive pain traveling from my neck down to

Ada certainly doesn’t do away with a trip to the

my back. It was getting worse by the minute,

doctor. Indeed, that’s not her goal: “Ada helps

until the point where I could no longer turn my

people recognize the next steps to take in a

head. It’ll get better, I say to myself. But it didn’t

safe and secure way, that is, to find the appro-

get better. Was it time to go to the doctor? For

priate treatment and to manage their health.

the first time ever, I turn to Ada.

Ada is a personalized, AI-supported health

On the app’s homepage, it says that a symptom

with a hypochondriac touch …

helper – with a human touch.” No doubt also
analyses is carried out using Ada every three
seconds. Ada was founded in 2011 by doctors,

Last weekend, I tested Ada again. After a recent

scientists and software developers and launched

visit to a personal trainer, I woke up with unbe-

worldwide in 2016. “Ada already speaks English,

lievably sore muscles. This time, Ada was sure:

German, Spanish, and Portuguese and is learning

The pain in my thighs could only come from a

more languages to reach even more people,” the

“serious stiffness in the lower extremities.” Or

developers write. According to them, Ada draws

from a “pulled muscle or a torn muscle fiber

on a knowledge base that comprises billions

of the quadriceps.” If the trainer asks how I’m

of symptom combinations and thousands of

doing, I’ll say it was a torn muscle fiber …
19

TITLE

SAVVY SOLUTIONS
These solutions have what it takes:
They use their smarts – and artificial intelligence – to improve our everyday lives
Text: Christin Berges

USING AI TO FIND
THE RIGHT TENANT

INTELLIGENT
ANONYMIZATION

DIGITAL
PASSENGER

Data protection laws like the
Housy is a housing portal that

20

GDPR set limits to the ways in

German Autolabs is develo-

which camera images can be

ping Chris, a digital assistant

does away with those jam-pa-

processed. Traditional “pixela-

for motorists that makes indi-

cked apartment viewings and

tion” is usually not an option,

vidual mobility and access to

endless application documents.

as it destroys so many of the

apps and services more com-

But it’s not a portal for tenants

data essential for applications

fortable and secure. Chris is

looking to find the right apart-

such as self-driving cars, retail

smart and learns like a true

ment; instead, it’s for landlords

analytics and smart cities. This

passenger. The AI is currently

looking to find the right tenant.

is why the startup Brighter AI

being used in natural speech

The company also developed

Technologies developed an

recognition, driver intent reco-

a personal-assistant chatbot

AI-based form of anonymizati-

gnition as well as in dialogue

to support people looking for

on that generates artificial faces

modeling (speech/gestures). A

an apartment: with the help of

based on an individual’s attri-

number of additional components, such as the recognition

artificial intelligence, M.A.R.T.A.

butes. This makes it possible to

performs search requests for

carry out analyses – for examp-

of specific traffic situations, are

users based on different crite-

le, with regard to demographic

also under development in an

ria and a self-developed algo-

information, clothing style and

effort to further reduce drivers’

rithm. Landlords receive a list

line of vision – without exposing

cognitive burden. With the help

of prospective tenants suitable

the person’s actual identity. In

of Chris, German Autolabs is

to them, while tenants recei-

recognition of their innovative

building a vertical voice-AI soft-

ve a list of apartments that fit

approach based particularly

ware stack for the automotive

their needs. M.A.R.T.A. provides

on the development of artifici-

industry that will also work in

Housy users a 24-hour service

al neural networks, Brighter AI

conjunction with language plat-

and is currently available via

was named “Europe’s Hottest

forms such as Alexa and Google

Facebook.

Startup” by NVIDIA.

Assistant.

FROM BERLIN

TRANSLATION
OFFICE 2.0

AI FORECASTS
CUSTOMER MOODS

READING
SOFTWARE

Parlamind provides AI-based
customer service solutions that
enable companies to respond
to the questions and moods
Lengoo is a tech startup that

of their target groups. The

develops AI-based translation

AI used by this Berlin-based

networks that use neural net-

company understands messa-

works to produce expert trans-

ges sent in by customers on a

sophisticated linguistic engine

lations in over 400 language

semantic level and is thus able

and is the only software plat-

Acrolinx is equipped with a

combinations. Although trans-

to determine the concerns and

form that “reads” content and

lation via neural networks is not

moods of customers as well as

helps authors improve upon

a new field in AI research, only

other information contained

it. Companies such as Adobe,

the availability of high-quality

in the messages. This infor-

Boeing, Google and Philips use

data and ever-increasing com-

mation allows the AI to enter

the solutions generated by this

puting power make it possible

into an independent dialo-

Berlin-based company to cre-

to use these technologies today.

gue with customers and carry

ate content that is engaging,

The Berlin-based company was

out all the requisite related

entertaining and effective. A

founded in 2012 in Karlsruhe

processes automatically. Cut-

spin-off of the German Rese-

by Philipp Koch-Büttner, Chris-

ting-edge research findings in

arch Center for Artificial Intel-

topher Kränzler and Alexander

the fields of computational lin-

ligence, Acrolinx was founded
by computer linguists working

Gigga. At the Deep Berlin Con-

guistics and machine learning

ference in November 2018, Len-

form the basis for the ongoing

on complex challenges in the

goo came in second and took

development of parlamind AI

field of content creation and

home the Jury’s Choice Prize.

technology.

communication.
21

PROSPECTS

Frank Becker, Collonil‘s Managing Partner since 1998

SHINY SHOES
SINCE 1909
Collonil has a long and moving
history in Berlin

A BERLIN
ORIGINAL

Text: Christiane Flechtner

It is loud and pleasantly warm in

in this realm, including Aloe Vera, almond and

the large production hall on Hermsdorfer Straße 70 in Wittenau. At the very
front of the hall, Hasan Oturak is stirring a large pot of hot, rubbery liquid.
Oturak is one of more than 120 employees who work at the site and, although
he is not a chef, he is mixing ingredients
involved in a very special and secret recipe.
He adds a splash of yellow and – after
comparing it with the color chart of up
to 80 different colors –is finally satisfied
with the color of the future shoe polish.

jojoba oil. Combined with extensive know-how
and state-of-the-art technologies, these are the
characteristics that distinguish the company
from the rest.

lonil produces not only creams, but also so-called aerosols, those sprays with and without propellant gas. In the aerosol department, roughly
50,000 spray cans are produced in one single
shift. One watches as a variety of cans, bottles
and pots “meander” on assembly lines through
individual factory departments and are ultima-

22

“The basic formula for shoe polish is actually

tely filled, labeled, laminated, sealed and packed.

very similar to the formula for skin cream,” exp-

Then they are sent out to the whole world. These

lains Oturak. After all, the material one is caring

tubes, cans and spray bottles contain the secret

for – namely, leather – is nothing but the skin of

ingredient to Collonil’s success. They are the

animals. Collonil uses high-quality raw materials

creams, sprays, lotions, foams, waxes and oils

Photos: © Frank Becker, © Collonil, © Christiane Flechtner

In its 14,000 square meter production hall, Col-

Collonil shoe polish has been made in Berlin for more than 100 years. The secret formula is strictly confidential.

that help to make those pumps, moccasins and

“In our 110-year company history, we’ve experi-

hiking boots worn by men, women and children

enced several highs and a number of lows. We

in 93 countries more beautiful.

had to survive two world wars, a global economic

The history of Collonil is also the history of Berlin.

looking back. “Still, we were able to celebrate

The foundation for the company’s success was

small and large successes throughout that time.”

laid in 1909 in two small rooms on Köpenicker

Over the past two decades, Becker was able to

crisis and even an expropriation,” says Becker,

Straße. After the business
began to flourish rapidly,
the three founders – Karl
Esslen and the two Salzenbrodt brothers – expanded
and took up new premises
on Schlesische Straße 12.

“The formula for
shoe polish is very
similar to that for
skin cream.”

Yet another move followed

Hasan Oturak

maneuver the company
onto a new growth course
with a consistent strategy
of internationalization
and an expansion of the
product range offered by
the Collonil core brand. At
the same time, the cons-

in 1921, this time to Mühlenbeck, a town roug-

truction of a new 3,500 square meter Collonil

hly five kilometers outside of Berlin to the north.

logistics center in Mühlenbeck in 2013 and the

After World War Two, the Salzenbrodt brothers

addition of 24 new employees marked a clear

decided to move to West Berlin, where the two

commitment to the company’s tradition in Berlin

entrepreneurs saw a better economic future for

tradition.

themselves. Esslen did not follow, which means
that in 1952 Collonil became a pure family busi-

Becker set new trends with shoe care products

ness under the name Salzenbrodt GmbH & Co KG.

made of organic materials. He also broke new

Also in 1952, an expiring lease prompted

ground with regard to marketing, for example with

the company to move one last time. Its

the “Outdoor Active” product line, the “Collonil

new site was the 14,000 square meter

Car Care” line containing innovative special-care

factory in Wittenau, where the com-

products for the auto sector, the “Aviation” line

pany has had its headquarters and

for cleaning leather seats in airplanes and pre-

production facility to this day. Frank

mium leather care for the equestrian realm. Rela-

Becker, a 58-year-old from in Bre-

tively new is the “Collonil Carbon” line, which is

merhaven, took over the reins at the

designed especially for the most popular shoes

company in the spring of 1998, when

today, sneakers. “Our customers are the focus of

he became sole managing director of

all of our actions,” says Becker. “We develop and

Salzenbrodt GmbH & Co. KG. Becker

produce high-quality and custom-made products

has been the company’s managing

that recognize their needs and fulfill their wishes.

partner since 2001.

This is our task and our motivation.”
23

PROSPECTS

Even after more than a century of doing busi-

Frank Becker. “Our continued path forward as

ness, one thing remains important to Collonil:

a modern, innovative and digitalized company

its “made in Germany” quality. This attention

engaged in the manufacturing, retail and ser-

to quality has long since allowed the company

vices industries is well-served by keeping our

to establish itself internationally. Products of

headquarters in Berlin,” concludes the managing

the Reinickendorf-based company are sold in

partner.

93 countries on all continents. Collonil also has
companies in Austria, Denmark, France and the
United Arab Emirates. In addition to its focus on
the Gulf region, Collonil holds a leading position in Europe, Japan, Russia and South America.
This kind of global activity is built on an openness within the company that allows it to adapt
to different regions throughout the world.
Collonil also benefits from the “Berlin factor,”

Founded
Location
Employees
Managing Partner
Location Highlight

which refers to the allure the capital city holds
for Collonil’s partners. “Looking forward, Collonil will focus on digital transformation in addi-

More information

1909 in Berlin
Berlin-Wittenau
120
Frank Becker
Products from the
different decades
are displayed in
a small museum
www.collonil.com

tion to positive export developments,” explains

Bestens für Sie aufgestellt:
Ihr Logenplatz
24

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PROSPECTS

BRINGING ADDED VALUE
TO BERLIN’S ECONOMY
Continuing growth – Berlin Partner
for Business and Technology presents
its 2018 annual report
For the fifth consecutive year, Berlin’s economy

and the world. With startups in the capital city

grew at a rate faster than the national average.

receiving a total of €2.64 billion in 247 rounds

The most recent calculations for 2018 show a

of financing in 2018, Berlin once again defended

rate of 2.7%. This positive trend is also reflec-

its title as Germany’s startup capital. In 2018,

ted in the balance sheet for Berlin Partner for

more than every second euro was invested in

Business and Technology GmbH. Alone the 323

Berlin companies and, at 113, even more compa-

8,810
8,810
8,810

projects completed with
Berlin Partner support
will generate some 8,810
new jobs. These companies aim to invest roug-

new jobs created
new jobs created

hly €600 million in the
Berlin area.

3,456

5,354

newjobs
jobs created
new
created

Relocations

Portfolio Management

3,456

5,354

Relocations

In a response to the figu-

Portfolio Management

3,456

5,354

Relocations

Portfolio Management

than the previous year.
In addition, a record
number of people – 589
– received their residence
permit through Berlin’s
Business Immigration
Service last year.

res delivered by Berlin

“All this goes to show that

Partner, Berlin’s Senator

Berlin enjoys a strong

730
730
730

for Economics, Energy
and Public Enterprises Ramona Pop states:
“These results speak for

5,373
5,373
5,373

397
397
397

Healthcare Industries

ICT I Media I Creative Industries

Transport I Mobility I Logistics

Healthcare Industries

ICT I Media I Creative Industries

Transport I Mobility I Logistics

Healthcare Industries

ICT I Media I Creative Industries

Transport I Mobility I Logistics

364
357
themselves: Both natio364
357
nally and internationally,
Berlin is known for being an364
attractive 357
place to
Photonics

Manufacturing Industries *

Service Industries *

Energy Technologies

Photonics

Manufacturing Industries *

Service Industries *

Photonics

Manufacturing Industries *

Service Industries
* Outside of the *
cluster

Technologies

reputation internationally. Around the world,
Berlin is known for its
cosmopolitan attitude,

282
1,307
high quality of life, crea282
1,307
tivity and the freedom it
282
offers. The 1,307
activities we’ve undertaken globally

Energy Technologies

6 Energy

do business. The city offers a close-knit network

since 2008 in cities like New York, Paris, Shang-

of companies, incubators, research facilities and

hai and Los Angeles have helped enhance Ber-

investors – creating an invaluable advantage for

lin’s international reputation as a great place to

innovative projects. With Berlin Partner, we have

live and as a forward-thinking business location

an economic development agency that cultiva-

bursting with opportunity. “The figures presen-

tes relations with all stakeholders, offers advi-

ted in our Annual Report are proof positive of

sory services, fosters networks, initiates joint

the ongoing success achieved by entrepreneurs

projects, and markets these advantages. Inves-

in Berlin,” says Dr. Stefan Franzke, Berlin Partner

tors have considerable confidence in Berlin as a

CEO. Berlin continues to attract skilled labor from

location. We must work together to insure this

abroad. In fact, the number of residency permits

6

6

26

nies relocated to Berlin

* Outside of the cluster

* Outside of the cluster

confidence continues.” Berlin’s success attracts

issued through the Business Immigration Service

talented individuals, entrepreneurs and inves-

(BIS) increased by 15% year-on-year for a total

tors from all four corners of Germany, Europe

of 589 in 2018. And since having moved to its

€1.6
€1.6
€1.6

323
323

offices in the Ludwig Erhard House in 2017, the

Berlin (IBB), nearly 3% of all private investment

BIS has registered more than 1,000 businesses.

in Berlin can be attributed to investments made

In 2017, it provided visa and residency support

by companies that have received Berlin Partner

for managers and qualified specialists (including

support. The direct effects in terms of invest-

their families) at 318 companies, which is roughly

ment and employment this brings generate indirect and equally relevant

38% more than in 2016

effects on the economy

(i.e., before the move).

as well. Drawing on a
calculation model for the

This makes Berlin the

regional economy, econo-

capital of skilled labor

mists at the IBB assessed

in Germany. “Every week,

successfully completed projects

the extent to which these

Service Industries*

in association with Berlin-Partner projects will
129 | 40 %

Portfolio Management
affect
Berlin’s overall

economic performance
in113the
medium term.
| 35 %
Relocations

*Outside of the cluster

2018, the number of those employed in the capi-

Innovation Projects

Manufacturing Industries*

Photonics

Energy Technologies

third-party funds raised

The IBB analysis reports

benefits for 2019. In

that these efforts will increase Berlin’s GDP by

The exhilarating pace of innovation in Berlin continues to

of jobs that have been created or secured in Berlin with

a total
of tech€1.6thebillion
2018
and signs
2020,
tal city increased by 53,000 tomake
reach
1.51 milit a very attractive
location in Europe
for science,
assistance between
of Berlin Partner.
Other tell-tale
of
nology and R&D. As the face of business development for success include the investment volume and third-party
with
aninternatioincrease
ofobtained
roughly
€700
million
the
lion. Boasting a growth in employment
of 3.7%,
the capital city, Berlin
Partner promotes
Berlin
capital
by projects
supported
by Berlin in
Partner.
nally and provides assistance to incoming entrepreneurs, As the numbers show, 2018 was a great year for Berlin, its
first year of investment alone. The 8,810 new jobs
Berlin features the highest rate
of any federal
investors and talent. As soon as companies and research economy and its business development. Indeed, this posiarrive in Berlin, Berlin Partner helps them tive trend is reflected in the 2018 balance sheet for Berlin
that will be created as a result of the investments
state in Germany, with Bavariainstitutions
(2.5%)
and
Hesbuild their business and regional networks – also by provi- Partner for Business and Technology GmbH: Through 323
ding them the opportunity to tap into Berlin Partner’s own successfully completed
projects,
Partner provided
ma de
byBerlincompa
nies
sen (2.4%) following. For
extensive network. The experts at Berlin Partner also keep support to companies that created a total of 8,810 new
them apprised of funding opportunities and provide sup- jobs in Berlin. Some
€599.8 billion will
be invested
in these
receiving
Berlin
Partner
2014 to 2018, the Regioport in finding the ideal location and qualified personnel. projects. These projects also generated a total of €62.6
There are several indicators confirming Berlin Partner’s million in third-party
funds. will, in turn, have
support
nal Directorate recorded
6 %*
12 %
impact in these success stories: First, there are the number

€599.8
€599.8

an impact on upstream

an increase in the number of employed to be

6 %*

at roughly 216,000, with

103,000 highly qualified

12 %
million

6 %*
28 %*

Berlin
Partner
– which
in planned
investments
lanned investments
accounts for one-third
of the total growth in
employment.

will benefit considerably,
as the need for commercial space for incoming

30 %

For the same period,

28 %*

created through projects
in receiving
planned
investments
12 %
support from

30 %

and real estate sectors

30 %

28 %*

12 %

3 % companies will grow,
9%

3%

Industries
3Healthcare
%
ICT I Media I Creative Industries
9%
9%
Transport I Mobility I Logistics
Energy Technologies
Healthcare Industries
Photonics
Healthcare IndustriesICT I Media I Creative Industries
I Mobility I Logistics
Manufacturing Industries*
ICT I Media I CreativeTransport
Industries
Energy Technologies
Service Industries*
Transport I Mobility IPhotonics
Logistics
*
Energy Technologies Manufacturing Industries
Service Industries*
Photonics
Manufacturing Industries*
Service Industries*
12 %

5

as well. The construction

12 %

the largest share (47.7%).

36,102 new jobs were

and downstream sectors

in planned investments

individuals comprising

million
million

ations

ment effects as well as

25

with social insurance

33

55

additional 45,000 jobs

20

Agency. He expects an

30

Federal Employment

Transport | Mobility | Logistics

denburg for the German

34

Directorate Berlin-Bran-

ICT | Media | Creative Industries

Healthcare Industry

Director of the Regional

€599.8
€599.8
million

0.1 million

investment and employ-

successfully completed projects

126

created in Berlin,” says
Bernd Becking, Managing

81 | 25 %

nearly 900 new jobs are

as will the demand for
housing in the city thanks
to the newly created jobs
attracting larger numbers of people. And this
trend will generate even

more jobs – particularly in those business-related

million
€160.1€160.1
million

€439.7 million
This
is yet another indication
of how much proRelocations
Portfolio Management

areas requiring a larger employee pool such as

jects receiving Berlin Partner support contribute

the service sectors, manufacturing as well retail

to the positive trends seen in Berlin’s economy.
Portfolio Management

and public administration. As a result, an additi-

According to economists at the Investitionsbank

onal 4,000 jobs will be created.

€439.7 million

Relocations

Portfolio Management

€439.7 million

589

residency permits issued for
318 companies with assistance from
theresidency
Business Immigration
permitsService
issued

27

for

PROSPECTS

PIZZA ALONE
WON’T CUT IT
How companies are vying
to attract developers
AI experts are in high demand in Berlin.
Companies looking to win the battle for the
best creative minds have to stand out from
the crowd. Today, artificial intelligence
offers one way forward in locating talent.

Text: Christin Berges

automotive sectors, and his international team
of 40 scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs
excels at moving AI from the research to the
market phase and then translating it into disruptive business models. For example, MX
Healthcare developed self-learning software that

According to the IBB, more than 47,000 jobs

evaluates radiological images in a partly auto-

were created in Berlin’s digital economy over the

mated manner.

past ten years. Indeed, the city is thirsty for skilled workers. And Berlin offers IT experts from

Every growing company is on a constant look-

all over the world a wealth of opportunities to

out for the right experts. At Merantix, the most

become active in specialty areas. Developers

attractive features for AI specialists usually

and database managers for AI systems, AI spe-

come about as a result of the proximity bet-

cialists, data scientists, business analysts and

ween science and industry: “At our company,

IT trainers are at the top of HR managers’ wish

talented professionals have the opportunity to

list. And industry insiders never seem to tire

develop companies that disrupt existing mar-

of pointing out the importance of the German

kets, without however losing the connection to

federal government’s recently adopted AI stra-

research. For many machine learning experts,

tegy, which defines important steps to train

this combination is especially exciting.” Yet ano-

experts and attract international talent,

ther key point is that employees are encouraged to pursue their curiosity and passion for a

among other things.

wide variety of subjects. “At Merantix, each new
As the leading location for artificial

talent has the opportunity to first get to know

intelligence in Germany today, Berlin

all ventures before they focus on one subject,”

already has a competitive advan-

emphasizes the company’s founder. “We believe

tage. “For AI talent, it is espe-

that a diversity of subjects is essential to attract

cially important to be able to

and keep talented individuals.”

28

have an AI hub with an

Yet another important step on the path to fin-

ideal infrastructure and

ding the perfect employees is to be aware of the

exciting networks. Berlin

advantages a company can offer potential candi-

has exactly that,” says

dates and to apply them in the search for talent.

Dr. Rasmus Rothe,

An especially important support mechanism

founder of Meran-

in the recruiting process is provided by a com-

tix. His company

munity for developers called WeAreDevelopers.

is active par-

Their service is geared, however, not primarily

ticularly in

toward companies looking for staff; instead, they

the health-

focus on the needs of developers themselves,

care and

which makes it clear the extent to which the

Image: Freepik.com

work in cities that already

Merantix founder
Dr. Rasmus Rothe

shortage of skilled

Employers with the

workers has reversed

best chances among

the roles of appli-

talent are especially

cants and employers.

those who are authen-

“On our platform, not

tic and address the

only do developers

needs of the develo-

define what they

pers. “Already in the

bring to the table,

recruiting process,

but also what they

companies should

want from a poten-

show that they work

tial employer,” says

efficiently and speak

founder Sead Ahme-

at eye-level with

tovic, who launched WeAreDevelopers together

WeAreDevelopers
co-founder Sead Ahmetovic

developers. A job interview is not a one-way

with Benjamin Ruschin and Thomas Pamminger.

street, it has to be mutually beneficial,” advises

After that, a so-called “matching” phase, develo-

Sead Ahmetovic. Today, salary is not the only

pers receive a list of the best employers and jobs.

crucial factor; the overall work environment is

Contact is only made if and when the develo-

also key. In order to raise awareness for their

pers show an interest in a job. Prior to that, the

work among developers, companies need to get

developers remain anonymous.

involved in the developer community and support it by being present on-site at conferences

In the matching phase, WeAreDevelopers – of

and meet-ups. “They have to position themsel-

course – relies on AI. A “matching score” is cal-

ves as developer-friendly, and this is a process

culated based on more than 200 parameters

in which many stakeholders are involved. These

that include, among others, salary range, work

days, you’re not going to attract skilled workers

location and a series of soft skills. Talent mana-

with pizza alone, no matter how good it is.”

gers accompany the process and ensure quality
assurance for every matc. “AI helps us read between the lines and make connections between
employers and talents that are not immediately
recognizable at first glance for a human being,”
says Ahmetovic. However, the human factor
should not be underestimated, and Ahmetovic
argues that human beings can still evaluate cultural and creative aspects better than a machine.
“It is important to us that developers and employers suit each other, that there is a so-called cultural fit; this is no less important than the hard
skills.”
Entrepreneurs are either lucky enough to be
approached by WeAreDevelopers directly and

Photos: © Merantix AG, © Tamas Kunsztler

involved in the matching phase, or they can sign
themselves up at www.wearedevelopers.com/
talents. If the company fits the catalogue of criteria, WeAreDevelopers will take it on. The catalogue also includes parameters such as efficient
recruiting processes, international orientation,
salary schemes, additional benefits, location,
work environment, tech stack and current projects and products. The evaluation usually takes
no more than two days.

The largest developers’ conference in the
world will take place in Germany for the
first time in 2019: the WeAreDevelopers
World Congress is moving from Vienna to
Berlin. International tech leaders will discuss the latest and most relevant issues
for the future of IT under the title “People –
Code – Future” on June 6 and 7, 2019 in the
CityCube. The congress will focus on five
different thematic areas that describe
the typical “lifecycle” of a developer:
Constructing Worlds, Controlling Complexity, Applying Disruption, Unchaining
Engineering and Coding Society. This
means there will be something for developers in all phases, seniority levels and
areas of expertise. In addition to lectures
by experts, WAD will attract numerous
internet pioneers and legends from the
developers’ scene, including John Romero,
Brenda Romero, Hakon Wium Lie, Rasmus
Lerdorf, Andreas Antonopoulos and many
others.
https://events.wearedevelopers.com

TE A TIME

TEA
TIME
Lukas Breitenbach in conversation with
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London
MR. MAYOR, WELCOME TO BERLIN!
WHY BERLIN, WHY NOW?

to be able to provide on the ground support
to Berlin companies who are interesting in

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be in Berlin again!

expanding or setting up in London. Our team

I’m in Berlin this week to meet with business

in Berlin will also be able to provide local

leaders, entrepreneurs and local politicians

knowledge and advice for London-based com-

to demonstrate that London remains open to

panies looking to use Berlin as a launchpad

German business, talent and investment. We

into the German market. As well as helping

have a strong trade and investment relations-

international businesses setup in London, we

hip with Germany and its vitally important that

also run the Mayor’s International Business

we continue to work closely with likeminded

Programme, an initiative to help London com-

European cities that share our values. To coin-

panies export or expand globally. We’ve seen

cide with my visit, I am delighted to announce

a lot of appetite from London companies to

a new city-to-city partnership with Berlin Part-

expand into Germany and have recently run

ner and I will be attending the official opening

trade missions to Berlin, Hamburg and Frank-

of our new office in Berlin. Both these things

furt. We hope to host many more trade missi-

demonstrate our desire to work together and

ons to Germany and our new office will help

build even stronger business links between

to make these even better for the companies

London and Berlin.

involved.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE
LONDON OFFICE IN BERLIN?
across both regions and our new office will

LONDON AND BERLIN ARE COMPETING
FOR THE TITLE STARTUP CAPITAL OF
EUROPE. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO CITIES?

help companies maximise the great business

With shared strengths for creativity, techno-

environments our two cities have to offer.

logy and innovation, it’s no surprise to see

We see lots of opportunities for businesses

that London and Berlin have emerged as two

30

Our Berlin office will be our very first Lon-

of Europe’s leading start-up hubs. We want to

don hub in Germany and we’re really excited

see both London and Berlin continue to thrive

and our main objective is to encourage greater
collaboration rather than competition. As two
of Europe’s top business hubs we have a joint
responsibility to lead by example and promote
everything that’s great about Europe’s fast-growing tech sector and creative industries.
Because if London prospers so does Berlin.

HOW WILL BERLIN AND LONDON WORK
TOGETHER AS PARTNERS IN THE FUTURE?
We already have a strong working relationship
with the city of Berlin but we see lots of opportunities for future partnerships.
Our city-to-city agreement signed today
will help us to share knowledge and expertise in fast developing areas where we share
mutual strengths such as big data, fintech
and Internet of Things. We also see a strong
opportunity for us to work together on best
practices for the use of technology to solve
common urban challenges.

Photo: © Wolf Lux

By creating even closer links between our two
economic development agencies, London &
Partners and Berlin Partner, we can make it
even easier for scale up companies to do business across both cities.

Rajesh Agrawal
Rajesh Agrawal was appointed Deputy
Mayor for Economics by the Mayor of
London, Sadiq Khan, in June 2016. Born
in India, Rajesh moved to London in
2001. As an entrepreneur, he founded
two fintech companies. He is passionate
about promoting entrepreneurship and
creating opportunities for young people.
Rajesh Agrawal is also the CEO of London
& Partners.

London & Partners
London & Partners is the official advertising
agency of the Mayor of London. Its goal is
to foster London’s image worldwide and
position it as the best city in the world – to
invest, work, study and visit on holiday. In
addition, the team also looks for creative
ways to promote London and communicate the messages of the mayor to an
international audience. London & Partners
is a not-for-profit public-private partnership. www.londonandpartners.com

31

RECOMMENDATIONS

CULTURE TIPS
FROM ARTS AND CR AF TS
TO BAUHAUS
To put an end to the myths and platitudes associated
with the concept of “Bauhaus”– this is the stated goal
of a new exhibition at the Bröhan Museum. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the
Bauhaus School, the exhibition “From Arts and Crafts
to the Bauhaus. Art and Design – A New Unity!” impressively showcases the Bauhaus’ development based on
300 exhibition pieces: from paintings and furniture to
ceramics and graphic designs. There will also be a comprehensive accompanying program, including such things
as free public tours, up until May 5, 2019.
www.broehan-museum.de

THE ATERTREFFEN
DER JUGEND
The Theatertreffen der Jugend is a gathering of youth
theater productions that sees itself as a place for
learning and strengthening individual forms of
expression. Launched way back in 1980, this year
will once again see remarkable productions presented by young ensembles, all of them winners
of a nationwide competition. During the eight-day
festival from May 24th to June 1st, the youth theater groups will present their shows at the Haus der
Berliner Festspiele alongside a diverse support program.

BLUE MAN NEWS
The team behind the Blue Man Group at Potsdamer Platz
is gearing up to make the connection between audiences and the Blue Men even more intense and full
of surprises. Their latest program will merge music,
comedy, art and science into an original mix that will
nevertheless remain true to the group’s now 15-year
run in Berlin. “From now on, as soon as they enter the
Stage Bluemax Theater, visitors will experience an even
more intense blurring of the boundaries between stage
and audience space,” the organizers promise.
www.stage-entertainment.de /musicals-shows /berlin/blueman-group/show/blue-man-group-berlin.html

32

Photos: © broehan-museum, © Burkhard Peter, ©Stage Entertainment,
© camera photo arte snc, © Museum Barberini

www.berlinerfestspiele.de/de/theatertreffen-der-jugend/start.html

RENAISSANCE MA STERS
Many consider it to be one of the most fruitful artistic
friendships of the Renaissance era: the relationship between Andrea Mantegna (1431 – 1506) and Giovanni
Bellini (1435 – 1516). This new special exhibition
organized by Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie and London’s National Gallery in cooperation with the
British Museum brings the works of both artists
together for the first time to showcase in detail
their mutual influence: Mantegna showed Bellini
the world of antique art, while Bellini influenced
Mantegna with his soft, idiosyncratic painting style.
Visitors can expect to see new constellations and
exciting juxtapositions involving roughly 100 works.
At the Gemäldegalerie until June 30, 2019.
www.smb.museum/ausstellungen/detail/
mantegna-und-bellini.html

PIC A SSO’S L ATE WORK
Potsdam’s Museum Barberini is already anticipating a surge of visitors:
until June 16, it is presenting an exhibition titled “Picasso. The Late
Work. From the Collection of Jacqueline Picasso” featuring 132 pieces
that have only rarely been shown in public, including many that will
be on display in Germany for the first time. All the loans are drawn
from the collection of Jacqueline Picasso, the artist’s second and
last wife. In the past two decades of his life, Picasso produced more
portraits of his wife Jacqueline than of any other model. The works
show just how innovative Picasso remained until the end of his life.
www.museum-barberini.com/ausstellungen

THE ELLINGTON „FREE PIANO‘‘
SATURDAY, 30.03., 27.04., 25.05., 29.06. AND
27.07.2019 | 3PM TO 6PM
You are invited to play the ELLINGTON “Free Piano” in
our DUKE Lounge. All you need: yourself and your talent!
Or simply relax with coffee, cake, drinks and snacks and
listen to some great undiscovered artists.

THE ELLINGTON JAZZ BAR
EVERY FRIDAY | 8PM TO 11PM
Enjoy relaxed conversations, our cocktails or a glass of
wine with friends and ring in the weekend. Plus great
live jazz presented by JazzRadio 106.8!
No seat reservation required – free admission.

WWW.ELLINGTON-HOTEL.COM/EVENTSCALENDAR

DATES

DATES & EVENTS
April

May

7 April

15 May

The Berlin Half Marathon marks
the beginning of the season for
runners, walkers, inline skater,
wheelchair riders and handcyclists.
www.generali-berlinerhalbmarathon.de

The Long Night of Industry is a
unique nationwide event concept
whereby companies give potential
employees, students and other
interested individuals a behind-thescenes look at their operations.
www.lange-nacht-der-industrie.de

AI Monday is a network event
series designed to share knowledge
about artificial intelligence and
inspire organizations to gather
their own AI experience. Each
event offers opportunities for
networking, two to three presentations followed Q&A sessions as well
as an AI demonstration.
www.ai-monday.berlin

AI MONDAY

6-8 May, Station Berlin

25 May, Olympiastadion
A major highlight of the soccer
season is the DFB Cup Final held
each year in Berlin’s Olympiastadion. A total of 64 teams will have
tried over the course of five rounds
to make it to this final match. The
winner of the DFB Cup Final qualifies for the UEFA European League.

8-14 April, Kulturbrauerei

re:publica
The thirteenth edition of the
re:publica conference will once
again be held alongside the
MEDIA CONVENTION in Berlin and
bring together a diverse group of
representatives of today’s digital
society. There will be discussions,
debates, arguments and issues
examined in depth more than ever
before.

BERLIN HALF MARATHON

8 April, T-Labs

AI Monday is a network event
series designed to share knowledge
about artificial intelligence and
inspire organizations to gather
their own AI experience. Each event
offers opportunities for networking, two to three presentations
followed by Q&A sessions as well as
an AI demonstration.
https://ai-monday.berlin

GAMESWEEKBERLIN

The games industry meets
technology meets culture: What
used to be the International
Games Week Berlin is now called
“Gamesweekberlin.” This seven-day
international happening brings
together industry reps and games
enthusiasts in a variety of gaming,
business and development events.
www.gamesweekberlin.com
9-11 April, Berlin Exhibition
Grounds

DMEA – CONNECTING
DIGITAL HEALTH

conHIT is now DMEA: The opportunities provided by digital transformation are becoming increasingly interesting to the fields
of nursing, private and hospital-based medical practices and
the overall healthcare industry.
These are the target groups being
addressed by the DMEA with its
tradeshow, congress, academy and
dialogues. The DMEA program also
features a focus on current themes,
such as artificial intelligence and
blockchain.
www.dmea.de
10 & 11 April, Station Berlin

THE BIG.DATA.AI
SUMIT 2019

The Big-Data.AI Summit 2019
(#BAS19) is Europe’s leading
summit for artificial intelligence
and big data. It is also the meeting
place for 5,000 like-minded
experts and practitioners interested in immersing themselves in the
big data and AI revolution. Visitors
can look forward to more than
100 presentations, workshops and
keynotes.
www.big-data.ai

34

LONG NIGHT OF INDUSTRY

RE:PUBLICA

7 & 8 May

JOBWUNDER –
THE CAREER FAIR

It’s the new career fair organized
by TU Berlin. Companies, scientific institutions and startups
will provide insights into their
working environments and offer
an opportunity for job interviews
on over 500m² of exhibition
space. Multifaceted events are in
the works: CV checks, individual
coaching sessions, company
presentations, expert lectures and
special consulting services.
www.jobwunder-karrieremesse.de

13-19 May

ASIA PACIFIC WEEK BERLIN

The APW 2019 will concentrate on
innovations relating to startups
and their ecosystems. In an
exchange between startups,
industry and SMEs, the most
important themes relating to the
fourth industrial revolution will be
discussed in order to develop joint
projects and partnerships between
Europe and the Asian-Pacific
region.
www.apwberlin.de

20 May

AI MONDAY

DFB CUP FINAL

25 May, Tempelhof Airport

BERLIN E-PRIX:
FORMULA-E-RACE

This top race in the full electric
motorsport series known as
“Formel E (Berlin E-Prix)” will once
again be held in Berlin in 2019. The
official “FIA Formula E Championship” consists of 12 races carried
out in ten different major cities
worldwide.
www.fiaformulae.com

June
6 & 7 June, CityCube Berlin

WeAreDevelopers
WORLD CONGRESS

The WeAreDevelopers World
Congress was launched in April
2015 by Benjamin Ruschin, Sead
Ahmetovic, Thomas Pamminger
and Markus Wagner as the largest
developers’ conference in Europe.
It gathers together globally
leading tech companies and brings
international tech leaders to the
stage.
events.wearedevelopers.com

16 May, Telekom Capital Offices

RISE OF AI CONFERENCE

For the past five years, the
annual Rise of AI Conference has
gathered 800 AI experts, decision
makers, opinion leaders and game
changers to discuss the effects of
artificial intelligence on society,
politics and the economy.
www.riseof.ai

OUR NEXT ISSUE WILL
FOCUS ON “BERLIN INTER­
NATIONAL” AND WILL
APPEAR ON JUNE 3RD.
Closing date: 6 May 2019

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media professionals, and sport or Berlin fans

Contact:
(030) 43 777 82 - 0 or
info@raz-verlag.de

RAZ Verlag GmbH · Am Borsigturm 13 · 13507 Berlin · Tel.: +49 30 43 777 82 - 0 · Fax +49 30 43 777 82 - 22 · E-Mail: info@raz-verlag.de

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