Startup Alumni AmberScript on our Berlin Mission: “I would say, go for it. You will have an awesome time and at the same time meet potential new clients and investors.”

AmberScript is one of the startups that joined our mission to Berlin! 

AmberScript works on the cutting edge of speech recognition technology, bridging the gap in speech recognition between China/USA and the rest of the world. Their self-developed AI speech to text engines obtains the best results (even better than Google’s) in the market. These are used directly (e.g. to enable the deaf and hearing impaired to understand the municipality meetings of around 130 Dutch municipalities) or through their online SaaS tooling which helps their customers to bring the audio of interviews to perfect transcripts (e.g. market research agencies, the police) and of video to perfect subtitles (media producers, broadcasters). AmberScript is growing fast and has been used by over 60.000 hearing impaired, journalists, scientists, students, doctors, media professionals and lawyers. Please visit www.amberscript.com for more information.

We had the chance to talk to Peter-Paul, co-founder & CEO of AmberScript, about his Soft-Landing experience.


It’s been some time since the Soft-Landing mission, and even longer since your startup applied! But we are interested to know, could you think back to when your team Amberscript applied and tell us what you were hoping for this mission?

We were hoping to get connected to potential German customers and investors, as well as learn which conferences, hubs and people we should be aware of in the German tech ecosystem.



Beyond the specific agenda of the mission, what insights did you gain, or what skills did you improve throughout the week?

We learned about the business preferences and investment philosophy of German investors.


You’ve already mentioned to us that one of the benefits of Soft-Landing for you was making new collaborations. Could you tell us more about building your network? 

We met GTEC, the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center, which has proven to become a great collaboration partner. They have introduced us to investors and other startups. We have an office space and a lot of credibility because of them in Germany.

We have also met a lot of investors which we are still in contact with.



Now, at 6 months after the mission, have you gained any new partnerships or closed any deals as a result of the Soft-Landing mission?

Our contacts and knowledge have given us credibility in Germany, as a result we have around 500 German clients now, among which the German Landtag Mecklenberg-Vorpommern, Audi and Humboldt University.


Since returning home, have you implemented any of the lessons learned in the mission into your own work, or even shared tips with your local ecosystem?

We have promoted the Soft-Landing missions across our network!


What would you say to a startup or an ecosystem leader thinking of joining our upcoming missions?

I would say, go for it. You will have an awesome time and at the same time meet potential new clients and investors! Potentially even more, like an office location and collaborations with partner startups.



Want to join our free, full-organised missions too?

Applications are now open for New York, Silicon Valley, the Netherlands and Berlin.



Read more

5 things to know if you want to scale up in Boston

From 24-28 June 2019, we whisked away a delegation of 30 ecosystem builders for a 1-week mission to Boston, Massachusetts. Immersed in the local ecosystem, this bright group of serial entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem representatives (from accelerators, incubators, innovation centres to local governments), took away insights about how to scale up a European startup in this fascinating ecosystem. Let’s take a look at what they learnt!



1. Prioritise connecting with local talent (find mentors, consultants, students, partners)

“One of the biggest assets of Massachusetts is definitely its talent pool. There are over 300,000 students from all over the world, eager to learn and innovate.”

Olla Jongerius, Boston alumni


Did you know how the Boston innovation scene got started?

Since the 70’s, Boston has produced a plethora of creative graduates from top universities (Harvard, MIT, BU, etc.). The pleasant nature of the city (historical highlights, climate, coastal location, family-friendly feel), and its highly collaborative atmosphere, have convinced many of these bright, innovative minds to stick around. Over the years, this has snowballed into the development of more and more innovative companies, often run by pioneers in their field.



In 2019, the process continues. Innovation labs are commonplace at Boston universities, with students being openly encouraged to create with very little guidance (the ‘hands-off’ approach). Students are encouraged to find a problem and solve it in a revolutionary way – i.e. not just slightly differently than before, via a radically new approach. As we were told on our visit to MIT, “if you’re not making a difference, you shouldn’t be doing it”.

All of this means that whether you’re looking for advice from a local consultant or a new member for your team, whoever you meet in the innovation sphere in Boston is likely to offer you a wildly new perspective to your business. Get connected!


2. It’s easy to network across sectors – but get ready to follow up fast

“Networking is crucial. People are constantly looking for new connections. Some local communities are very open (e.g., you can easily go to see a Nobel prize winner in MIT if you work there).”

Ricardas Valanciauskas- Boston alumni



There are plenty of opportunities to make new connections and network in Boston. From visiting spaces like Venture Cafe, to finding weekly meetups, there is an environment of cross-collaboration between sectors and fields. When we visited the MIT Nano, we learnt about how no-one ‘owns’ the offices there – the space is completely open, including shared ‘clean rooms’ for experiments, to walk-in galleries.

When you’ve made a new connection, expect to follow-up in a few hours, to avoid losing the contact. Unlike within Europe, sending an email next week might be too late. Expect to follow up within the next 24 hours.


3. What impact can you offer the market?

“European technology is at least as good as American technology, however, the US tends to exploit it commercially much better.”

Ricardas Valanciauskas- Boston alumni


While in Europe we pride ourselves for our technological developments, we can often get stuck at this point and miss the chance to fully explore the economic impact. 

If your product is pushing boundaries, great – but what impact will it bring for the customer? What is it’s full commercial value?



When presenting your solution to new partners or investors in Boston, this is a crucial aspect to highlight in your pitch or presentation. Don’t get lost in the research behind your solution!


4. Legality: Set up locally and protect yourself with patents

“A common trend in the U.S. as well as in Europe is that VCs only invest in local companies. Although a few VC funds are investing internationally, most of them request foreign companies who are looking for financing in the U.S. to establish a Delaware Corporation.”

Samantha Michaux – Boston alumni


Investors in the US prefer to invest in what they know – either American startups, or foreign startups that have set themselves up locally. As we learnt at Cooley, a law firm with extensive experience of supporting European startups as they soft land in the US, you can jump over this hurdle by opening a subsidiary in Boston, a process which is simple to complete and offers favourable conditions. 

Then – are you protecting yourself with the right patents? You don’t need to have all the patents under the sun, just the ones that matter. Think about the various ‘layers’ of protection that you might need, i.e. which specific elements of your product/solution, in specific groupings, need protecting. Don’t forget you can leverage your patents as collateral when negotiating with investors.


5. Be less humble and more practical

“To attract capital for ventures you need to provide a positive outlook. Europeans tend to be too humble.”

Daniel Szemerey – Boston alumni


A final pearl of wisdom imparted to us at Cooley refers to one of the main ‘business-cultural’ differences between Europe and the US. When negotiating with investors, European startups and scaleups tend to be on the humble side when it comes to stating how much funding they need, with American investors being used to bigger numbers.

This was an important takeaway for our delegation. Don’t be shy in asking for more for your long-term growth, just make sure that you can reasonably justify your plan.



Want to join our free, full-organised missions too?

Applications are now open for New York, Silicon Valley, the Netherlands and Berlin.


Read more

You are invited to our FINAL event: community gathering & interactive masterclass!

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for our FINAL event, which will be held on Tuesday, 1 October, at Google for Startups in Madrid (the day before South Summit)! This free, 2-part, interactive event (morning + afternoon) will be your chance to meet and mingle with our top startup community, as well as learn from flash talks, rise & fall stories, and expert workshops!

Wow, what a ride! After taking more than 270+ startups and ecosystem builders to discover the markets of Berlin, Paris, Vilnius, the Netherlands, India, and the United States over the last 2 years, the SoftLanding project will soon be coming to an end.

During our missions, our alumni made 6000+ new connections, created 70+ investment leads and some even locked down investment deals during the week! 

To go out with a bang and celebrate the last 2 years in style, we have joined forces with SoftLanding (our sister project), to plan one final grand community gathering, and you are officially invited!

This is your chance to meet all the other SoftLanders that have visited Berlin, Paris, Vilnius, the Netherlands, India and the United States, as well as the alumni of the Startup Lighthouse project, PLUS founders, accelerators and investors from all over Europe! : )


 ‘Scaling up Europe – Masterclass’
@Google for Startups in Madrid
Tuesday, 1 October (the day before South Summit)



  • 10:00-12:30 Startup Europe Alumni Chilling – scaleup challenges and founder confessions

Are you one of the lucky startups that joined EU funded acceleration programmes? Are you a Startup Europe Ambassador mentoring scaleups, running an accelerator, startup conference or tech blog?

Get to know other founders and key players from multiple startup hubs in this informal Startup Europe community gathering. We want to hear how you get it done in your company/ecosystem! Queso y jamón on us.

  • 14:00-18:00 Open Masterclass – Scaling up in Europe

Join this energetic afternoon designed around the learnings, failures and successes of 400+ startups and ecosystem leaders that explored the hottest startup ecosystems and learned how to scale up abroad.

Get access to key notes on scaling up, inspiring startup flash talks, a supercharging panel, Lighthouse awards, and networking over a copa de vino with founders and ecosystem builders, the day before ‘South Summit’.


What is South Summit?

Set in the stunning capital of Madrid, our final event will be the perfect warm up to South Summit (2-4 October) – we’re all gonna be there! 

South Summit is one of the biggest startup events in Spain, but that’s not all – it offers the chance to connect with players from all over Europe and the world. Last year, +650 investors, +3500 startups and 4300+ top founders gathered together in Madrid, to hear 450+ speakers and take part in +2000 1:1 meetings! Some of our startups will also be competing in the Startup Competition! 

So, will we see you there? 🙂


 ‘Scaling up Europe – Masterclass’
@Google for Startups in Madrid
Tuesday, 1 October (the day before South Summit)




Read more

Alumni Kamil Barbarski on our US missions: “The Softlanding Mission to Silicon Valley was an eye opener for me. In just one week I got a good feeling of what the Valley is about.”

Kamil Barbarski joined our mission to Sillicon Valley! He is an entrepreneur, ecosystem builder and innovation hacker from Cologne/Germany. His goal is to help people and organizations follow ideas that matter for themselves and others so that they can focus on what’s essential in life and business.


Hi Kamil! It’s been 6 months since the Soft-Landing mission to Silicon Valley, and even longer since you applied! But we are interested to know, could you think back to when you applied and tell us what you were hoping for this mission?

For me it was the perfect timing when I discovered Soft-Landing. I just left my company and was looking for new adventures. My first thought was: That’s so great. I can see more of the startup world, serve a bigger purpose and get to know like-minded people. I’m always looking for good opportunities to help myself and my business grow and this was a perfect next step to do so. And I’ve never been to Silicon Valley before. I had been working in the startup scene as an entrepreneur and ecosystem builder for more than 6 years, heard and talked so much about the Valley but never experienced it hands-on. If you are in the startup community you have to go there at least once.


Beyond the specific agenda of the mission, what insights did you gain, or what skills did you improve throughout the week?

I learned a ton about how the valley is working and connected with amazing people. The huge number of startups and innovation initiatives and the straight forward culture that is much more goal oriented are the things that impressed me most. On the other side I also recognized what we’ve got in our ecosystem that I really appreciate. In my personal experience these are things like our social security systems that reduce risk for founders if they fail and a stronger connection to work-life balance, as well as social responsibility. I also learned how to network and communicate in the Valley, what investors are looking for and most importantly when and how it makes sense for European startups to move to the US. It’s so great to have all this knowledge and share it with startups that I meet in Europe so that they gain more possible roads to success.


You’ve already mentioned to us that one of the benefits of Soft-Landing for you was bringing “back home a strong network”. Could you tell us more about building your network in Silicon Valley?

We had amazing speakers and hosts in various companies, startups and accelerators. I connected with most of them and know now who to ping if I need infos or want to start something in the Valley. It makes a huge difference if you meet the people in person, shake their hands, even if you don’t work together immediately. I have a lot of ideas what I could do with my contacts in the valley.




Now, at 6 months after the mission, have you gained any new partnerships or closed any deals as a result of the Soft-Landing mission?

So far I’m in contact with two participants from Berlin with whom I’m talking about specific projects. I also have a long list of people I can meet in almost any European country and the Valley that I will definitely contact when my new projects get to a certain level.


Since returning home, have you implemented any of the lessons learned in the mission into your own work, or even shared tips with your local ecosystem?

Yes, of course. I reached out to my ecosystem via social media and offered anybody advice who wants to know more about Silicon Valley. I met with a couple of founders and ecosystem builders. The things that I told them were mostly new insights for them. I also included my learnings into my talks, workshops, accelerator programs and startup coachings.


What would you say to a startup or an ecosystem leader thinking of joining our upcoming missions to New York or Silicon Valley?

Just do it! Especially if you’ve never been to any of these ecosystems. It will be a huge benefit for you as person, for your business and for all the people in your ecosystem. The more we connect, the more we can work together and make a bigger impact for startups and innovation in general. Thank you for making this happen!



Want to join our free, full-organised missions too?

Applications are now open for New York, Silicon Valley, the Netherlands and Berlin.





Read more

Alumni Olla Jongerius on our US missions: “Do it! You won’t regret it. It’s very well organised and you will make new connections easily”

Olla Jongerius joined our mission to the United States (Silicon Valley!) She is an Intercultural, diversity & inclusion trainer and founder of TCC Tribe – a network of over 2000+  self-employed trainers, coaches, and consultants in Berlin. She is passionate about bringing people together, creating inclusive environments and challenging people’s status quo when it comes to communication in diverse teams and across borders. 

Olla is a citizen of the world: Russian-born, New Zealand-raised, Germany and Spain educated, with working experience in Russia, South Korea and Australia, and currently based in Berlin, Germany.


Hi Olla! It’s been 6 months since the Soft-Landing mission to the United States (Silicon Valley), and even longer since you applied! But we are interested to know, could you think back to when you applied and tell us what you were hoping for this mission?

To be honest, I did not know what to expect. Of course, I had this Hollywood, media-influenced, romantic idea of Silicon Valley, and read a lot about unicorns and wanna-be unicorns, and cut-through, competitive environment. In general, I was really excited to experience it first-hand. I was well aware of the American hands-on, entrepreneurial mentality and philosophy ‘never give up’ and was curious to hear from people who ‘made it’- both the locals and Europeans. As an intercultural trainer, I was of course hungry to learn about intercultural differences when it comes to communication and business relationship development. My goal for the mission was to get additional knowledge about community building, self-employment trends, diversity and inclusion management strategies in the US and edtech innovations, much needed in Germany.



Beyond the specific agenda of the mission to the United States, what insights did you gain, or what skills did you improve throughout the week? 

As mentioned above, I was very much looking forward to learning more about the American mentality and what ‘makes’ and ‘breaks ’ the deal here. I took a lot of initiative and asked my network to connect me with whoever might be worth meeting while I’m across the pond. Networking works differently in the US and from the first sight, people seem to be happy to meet you, but then would not show up or cancel at the last moment – simply because it was inconvenient and awkward for them to say no.  It was at least my experience, so take it with a grain of salt 🙂 Americans tend to mince words, smile and be friendly – but don’t be fooled- it is just a form of politeness. In Germany people are a lot more direct and straightforward. I have also managed somehow to organise a spontaneous learning and development & Edtech Meetup for 15 people – which brought me a lot of knowledge and value- I met people from HP; Linkedin and several very interesting edtech stratups. Make the most of your time there, you never know what people and companies you will end up meeting and how they will influence you and your business. 


You’ve already mentioned to us that one of the benefits of Soft-Landing for you was collaborating with alumni, speakers and partners. Could you tell us more about building your network in the United States?

I don’t work directly with alumni, since my field was very specialised and different from the rest, but I a lot of useful got second-degree connections from the network. People are so friendly and willing to help, so even if you have nothing in common ( businesswise), they try to think of a connection that might be useful for you. Additionally, it is great to get a bit of outside of your ‘bubble’ and mingle with people from completely different fields- it helps you to think outside the box and use the strategies and apply cross-functional solutions to your own business model. I know that Norbert from Berlin Partner promotes me whenever he meets self-employed and I’m very grateful for that. whenever he has an opportunity I keep in touch with some of the speakers and follow several companies. GTEC is always very supportive and inspiring- it is a wonderful network to be part of!



Now, at 6 months after the mission, have you gained any new partnerships or closed any deals as a result?

I will put it in a different way: I launched my business I was too afraid to launch 2 weeks after Silicon Valley. I’ve learned not to be afraid! I know, sounds cliche’, but in Europe we are focusing too much on building something ‘perfect’, overthinking it, changing it, adapting, researching, having second sounds, doubting ourselves. I launched my platform which was beyond not ready.. but it got tracktion straight away and proved the hypothesise that I am on the right path! I think I would’ve spent another year thinking and perfecting it and maybe not even launching it if I hadn’t visited SV 


Since returning home, have you implemented any of the lessons learned in the mission into your own work, or even shared tips with your local ecosystem? 

As mentioned above- I’ve learned to take the first step then learning to build wings to fly. I have given several talks in mine and other communities, inspiring people and encouraging them to apply and experience it first hand. Another lesson I’ve learned: in Europe the idea of Silicon Valley is too romanticized and exaggerated: Berlin is just as active and vibrant and is not worse, just smaller since it’s always a numbers game. Some aspects might be even more advanced in Europe- we have a wonderful work-life balance, mental and emotional health considerations and less financial pressure compared to startup builders in Silicon Valley. We should not take these things for granted; the grass is not greener on the other side. Sure, there are definitely a lot of things we can learn from Silicon Valley, but several things we can also teach 🙂 Europeans should cherish these advantages and be aware of the difficulties before they take the plunge and move across the pond. 


What would you say to a startup thinking of joining our upcoming missions to New York or Silicon Valley, particularly female participants?

The program is very well-thought and inclusive, it gives an opportunity for everyone to make the most of their time, regardless of experience, professional field or background. Do it! You won’t regret it. It’s very well organised and you will make new connections easily – at networking events, while on the bus on the way to different location, at breakfast and after-drinks. Surely, you will have to skip a week and not focus on your work, but this week will give you fresh insights, new perspectives and inspiration. American mentality is something that we really need in Europe. And if you fail, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and do it again. And that’s why they succeed. 


Want to join our free, full-organised missions too?

Applications are now open for New York, Silicon Valley, the Netherlands and Berlin.



Read more

Applications for the final round of Soft-Landing missions are now OPEN! (and we’re especially looking for female founders)

Join us for our final round of Soft-Landing missions!

This time, we’ve added a new destination, New York, and we’re on a special lookout for female founders to join us and share their perspective with the group.

We hope you are ready for a jam-packed, intensive agenda of scaling support in new destinations. As our final round of missions, we have put everything we’ve got into making these missions leaner and faster, to help you internationalise, find new clients, navigate local legal and tax challenges, and expand your network.

In one and a half years, 270 founders and startup ecosystem leaders from all over Europe and beyond have joined us, discovering new startup hubs, making important connections (both locally and with the Soft-Landing community), formalising partnerships, and even locking down investment. 

If you’re a startup thinking about how to internationalise, then choose your destination below and apply before our spots run out!

If you’re a startup leader (accelerators, mentors, investors, journalists and corporates with startup programmes) we just have the one destination, the Netherlands, for you this time, so it will be competitive – get applying as soon as you can!

Travel & accommodation expenses are covered up to 400 EUR (EU missions) and up to 950 EUR (US missions) thanks to Startup Europe. What are you waiting for?


New York

14-18 October 2019

“Their honest opinions helped challenge our strategy…and avoid many mistakes that European companies make when entering the US market”

Are you thinking about scaling up your startup in New York?  Are you an ecosystem builder that works with startups (an investor, mentor, accelerator, journalist?) Then this free, fully-organised agenda will give you the support you need to internationalise.

What can you get from our mission in October 2019?

  • Find out why companies like Adobe, Amazon, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Spotify and Sony are based in this region
  • Meet the organisations that can help you, from startups that have scaled successfully to innovation hubs
  • Learn how to navigate the local tax, legal & hiring practices in New York

Apply by 2 August to join our 1-week mission to New York!





Silicon Valley

11-15 November 2019

“I’ve launched 3 weeks after coming back from Silicon Valley- quick decisions instead of ‘best’ decisions and fail fast culture really made an impact on me”

If you are thinking of scaling in the United States, then Silicon Valley is often the first place on the list.

No nonsense business and moving fast are two concepts many people bring back from visiting the Valley – as well as having made tangible connections to build on when you take your first steps to setting up in the US.

What can you get from our mission in November 2019?

  • Break misconceptions and knowledge barriers – what is the local business culture like and how can you work it to your advantage?
  • Get a crash course on incorporating in the United States, hiring norms & sales the Silicon Valley way
  • Meet the local people who can help you scale up – local investors, VCs & successful startups that have scaled there (learn from both their failures and successes)

Apply by 8 September to join our 1-week mission to Silicon Valley!




The Netherlands

23-27 September 2019 (25-27 for Ecosystem builders)

“Soft-Landing Zoetermeer was a game-changer, a paradigm shift for us.”

If you are the founder or team member of a FinTech startup, then this mission has been designed for you.

Last time, one of our startups, NeoFinance, found investment as a direct result of the mission. We help you make new connections, which develop into partnerships, and then deals.

What can you get from our mission in September 2019?

  • Learn how to scale your business in The Netherlands, the second most innovative country in the world.
  • Meet with local legends like Startup Amsterdam, uGlobally, StartupDelta and more, to position your business in the market and get insights on the local business culture.
  • Learn how to navigate the legal and tax regulations with our partner Nauta Capital, especially for FinTech startups

Apply by 31 August to join our 1-week mission to Zoetermeer!





4-8 November 2019

“ A real deep-dive into the thinking and behaviour on the ground in Berlin.”

Berlin is known as one of the startup capitals of Europe. Last year, we organised three successful missions to Berlin, in which our participants had the chance to hear from the most important players in the Berlin ecosystem, get honest feedback on their pitches, visit local hubs, take part in the TechOpenAir conference and learn how to survive the legal ‘jungle’ of scaling up in Germany.

What can you get from our mission in November 2019?

  • Meet key players in the German ecosystem: investors, Government representatives, VCs and many more
  • Visit corporate innovation hubs and get to know local success stories (both failures and successes)
  • Participate in local events and meetups to start making your first connections and collaborations

Apply by 20 September 2019 to join our 1-week mission to Berlin!



Don’t forget to follow us on social media for updates on the application process!


Facebook: @SoftLandingEU

Twitter: @softlanding_eu

LinkedIn: Soft-Landing

Read more

“Valuable knowledge, great connections!” Read all about our last mission to Paris!

“The Soft Landing project was such a fantastic opportunity to discover everything you need to know about the exciting French startup ecosystem inside-out, to meet incredible ecosystem leaders, VC’s and established entrepreneurs. This program allows you to feel the flavour of the foreign startup ecosystem and bring the experience to your local communities.Valuable knowledge, great connections and incredible IMT Starter Team is what makes this Mission unforgettable.”– Mia Rakocevic
Article by IMT Starter

15 countries, 7 Start-up and 11 Ecosystem Builders were the part of Soft-Landing Paris this May.

Soft-Landing partner, IMT Starter, hosted an intense week-long mission where the delegation met the key players of the ecosystem and learned about the key activities in the French Startup Ecosystem


Diving into the Ecosystem

France is now a big contributor to the digital ecosystem. Not so long ago, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron envisioned France to be a startup country, contributing to its digital economy. Now, Paris is the leading city in Europe for the number of Fortune 500 headquarters and third worldwide, and its ecosystem is becoming more attractive to international startups.Moreover, with access to +700k students in higher education and being a European leader in R&D with an investment of 18.5 billion euros annually, the Paris region has become a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, technology geeks and policymakers. Correspondingly, Paris has become an attraction to many international startups because of its well-developed venture capital industry as well as the government’s help in investment, BPI Francebeing the most active VC in Europe.

A week with the delegation

After more than 100 applications and +100 hours of interviews and selection process, on 13th May, we finally welcomed the delegation of 24 participants from all over the world. A diverse delegation of startups that are in the industry like augmented reality, virtual reality, AI, mobility, smart cities, transportation, e-commerce and mobile workforce, as well as the ecosystem contributors like VCs, managers, government representative and leaders, were the participants of the Soft-Landing mission to Paris.

The delegation was welcomed by IMT Starter presenting their 20 years of experience in the French Digital Ecosystem in its office and later took part in the Ice-Breaker workshop where they talked about their work and profile. The first day continued with the campus visit (IMT Starter ecosystem is located on the campus of 2 schools, engineering and business management) and ended with a quick pitching session from all startups.


On day 2 and 3, the delegation met the major players of the Parisian ecosystem. The panel of investors from ElaiaBreegaand BPI France gave their insights on the French investment market. The participants also met a representative ofLa French Tech, a government initiative to help international startups grow in the French market, who shared the required information needed to enter the market and how the French Tech Visa for startups works.

Furthermore, the participants also met some successful entrepreneurs who shared their startup stories. Julien Coulon, a serial entrepreneur who created Cedexis, the “Waze of the internet” in 2009, shared his first-hand experience.


On the same day, the delegation was welcomed at the office of Paris Region Enterprises, a business and innovation catalyst helping international companies to scale in the Paris region. Followed by a presentation of an overview of startup activities in the Paris region, Thierry Louvet explained the key activities of Systematic, a connected network of +800 industry leaders and entrepreneurs. Similarly, WILCO, one of the biggest startup accelerators of France presented their unique methodology to help startups grow in one of the most dynamic ecosystems of the world.

VivaTech, Europe’s biggest tech event was accessible to our participants where they spent the whole day on conferences, meeting and other activities.

The final day of Soft-Landing was dedicated to startups. They spent the day with a closed panel of mentors and successful entrepreneurs to discuss their startup strategy and to be challenged on their project.

“In retrospect, it was extremely valuable for us. We had some doubts beforehand since 5 days is a big-time investment for us, but I would’ve kicked myself if we didn’t participate. The mentors you guys have in your network are amazing. We don’t get the chance to talk to such people. We learned a ton & there is some investment potential as well. You organized the program in a very smooth way and provided all the necessary information.” — Vorwärts

Thank you all the Soft-Landers in participating and making this mission a big success!

By Niraj Karmacharya, Project Manager at IMT Starter



Do you want to join us one of our next missions?

Sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of the homepage, to be the first to find out about our next missions (which, at the time of this article, are to New York and Silicon Valley!)


Read more

“German business style – Be punctual, be polite, be reliable!” Read all about our mission to Berlin!

Just over a week ago, our partner (GTEC – German Tech Entrepreneurship Center) hosted the amazing Soft-Landing mission to Paris! The mission had a busy agenda of meetings and workshops with the German and Berlin ecosystem, from governmental players to VC’s and corporates that share their programs, challenges, and opportunities.

Article developed by GTEC



Welcome to Berlin!

Hi, this is Mor Eini, I am happy to welcome you to the Soft-Landing mission to Berlin. On the first day we are on the 20th floor at Potsdamer Platz, right over the roofs of Berlin.

The Startups: UrbestWitivioSpectral Augmented IndustriesAssetLog, FLATNYOUEnerbrainCertifydocRADA BuildingInviertis Properties, S.L.Automate LoanBuiltrixamazingspaces.worldATLANT Blockchain Real Estate PlatformDSERVE LT


Why Berlin is not Silicon Valley

Welcomed by the GTEC Team, the delegation got an introduction to the Berlin Startup Ecosystem by GTEC’s Founding Managing Director Benjamin Rohé with a talk on ‘Why Berlin is not Silicon Valley’ sharing his insights from his life in Berlin as an entrepreneur and notes on how to live and work in this city.

Tech and innovation in Germany

For the next session Annika Schröder from the Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V. had a talk about Tech and Innovation in Germany.
According to her, Germany was popular for big industry and big companies with strong technology, but not for innovation. That’s where she and her company is coming into action, trying to join the Mittelstand with Startups to create tomorrow’s Mittelstand.
As many companies of the Mittelstand are family run, it’s hard for them to be open for innovation – but there is a willingness to change!
Hotspots for German startups are Berlin (international, forward thinking), Hamburg (co-working spaces etc.), Munich (old industry meets modern tech) and Stuttgart (popular for big automotive corporates).

The second part of the talk was led by Vanessa Cann, Artificial Intelligence & Future Mobility Platform Manager at the Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V. about the topic of A.I.. All the major corporate players in Germany just want to incorporate A.I. in their business, seeing successful models and solutions established by competitors. One thing they are struggling with is the actual implementation, though. That is where the Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V. taps in and tries to find solutions that makes both the startups and corporations happy, helping to identify the actual problems and solution A.I. can offer.


How to do business in Germany

For the next session, experienced businessman Tilo Stolzke, Founder of sananet consultants solves the big question on ‘How to do business in Germany”. Don’t start the market introduction when you are not ready yet! According to Tilo, Germany is not the best market to make super fast profit, as the US, in terms of speed, is doing better. Clients and service providers should be in one city for online businesses.

Another thing he highlighted is that for germans, the expectations on a product to be regarded as ideal, are very high. Germans want to see your whole business idea planned out to the very detail, they want to know, if your product is already sold anywhere, what are the exact aspect of the technical design, etc. It is your task as an entrepreneur to ask yourself “Is the product ready for the German market?”

To sum it up, the German Business Style is: Be punctual, be polite, be reliable.


EU Grant Workshop

The Soft-Landing Delegation just had an EU Grant workshop with Louis Papaemmanuel, Managing Director of My EU Consulting.
Focusing on convincing with a bigger plan and investing in safe things that have potential were some of the key points he made regarding Germany.

VC standard terms

VC standard Terms – that’s the next session for the Soft-Landing delegation in Berlin with BMH Bräutigam.
BMH Bräutigam are not the typical lawyers, but can explain the German Business mentality: be perfectly organized and flawless and the contracts finishes things up.

Also, there is a new financial method in Germany: SAFE and SAFT agreement for future equity and future tokens. In the end BMH Bräutigam shared a lot of personal experiences in the legal field of startups. Thanks to: Dr. Alexander Wulff, Bastian Reinschmidt and Dr. Patrick Auerbach-Hohl 


Day no. 1 closes with G-FORCE RELOADED with Benjamin Rohe for the Soft-Landing Delegation with Mission to Berlin.
This event series by GTEC offers a unique platform for aspiring entrepreneur and interested people from the startup scene. The task is to pitch your idea in front of the live audience, as well as in front of an experienced entrepreneur.
This evening its GTEC’s Benjamin Rohé, who will listen to the pitches, also coming from our Soft-Landing delegation, and give his brutally honest feedback!





The second day for the Soft-Landing Delegation in Berlin started today at the Digital:lab – Volkswagen Ag for an exciting workshop on cooperation and the automotive industry.

Welcomed by the two Product Managers at the Digital:Lab Gal BechorYonatan Chelouche and GTEC’s Michael Gröger and Mor Eini, the delegation mixed with a group of B.A. students from the המרכז הבינתחומי הרצליה – IDC HerzliyaI for the workshop revolving around the automotive industry. Divided into smaller teams, they were given the task to find the solution for the future of the automotive industry.

Part of the workshop was to quickly develop concepts for business ideas, collaborate and figure out the tricks to create a convincing product strategy and to pitch in front of the group and a jury consisting of: Hemdat Sagi, Head of Strategy and Business Development at Konnect- Volkswagen Group Innovation TLV, Timon Rupp, Founder of the Drivery GmbH, Yossi Maaravi, Vice Dean, Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at IDC Herzliya, Michael Gröger, Director Corporate Partnerships and Programs at GTEC and Jochen Scherl, Manager of the Volkswagen Digital:Lab.


Introduction to APX

For the second part of the day, the Soft-Delegation visited APX by Axel Springer and Porsche. After a quick introduction by Dr Yoni Goldwasser, Director of Venture Development at APX and Maja Markowitz, the Investment Manager at APX, explaining APX, the delegation listened to the pitches and voted their favourite from 4 startups based in the Hub!



Introduction to the Berlin ecosystem

We started the day with a very warm welcome by Carl-Philipp Wackernagel from Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie, who gave the Soft-Landing Delegation interesting insights into Berlin’s history and the city itself.

Berlin is labeled as a startup hub, but the city never actively worked out a strategy to become one, as it was originally a city strong in the industrial sector. But Berlin today is different – it’s a city of lifestyle and trends on a fast pace, changing the face of the city with a great momentum. The city can be a good home to people working around the world and compared to the rest of Germany its economic growth is in the lead. A lot of money is invested in Startups in Berlin with the popular startup sectors being e-commerce, food, food tech and mobility. In Berlin nobody wants to know where you are from, they want to know where you are heading!


I solve your challenge!

In the next session for the Soft-Landing Delegation GTEC’s Maria Gross hosts a workshop called “I solve your challenge!”, working out problem solving strategies and lessons in teamwork!


Hofbräuhaus Berlin

After a whole day packed with meetings, informations and presentations, the Soft-Landing delegation visited the Brandenburg Gate and went to the Hofbräuhaus at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz to eat and drink the traditional German way afterwards. Everyone had a nice chat with each other while drinking beer and eating Schnitzel.



Strategic networking for startups (workshop)

On day no. 4 the Soft-Landing Delegation with Mission to Berlin started with a workshop on ‘Strategic Networking for Startups’ led by Max Postnikov, who is an angel investor and tech entrepreneur himself.

Being Co-Founder of Baltic Sandbox, an accelerator operating in the Baltics, Max shared his knowledge with the Soft-Landing Delegation.

Spotlight session: VC’s and investment

Matus Steis, CFO at Rockaway Blockchain and from Rockaway Capital gave his insights on the 4. Day for the Soft-Landing Delegation into the VC Ecosystem in Berlin. He introduced the Delegation to the VC Rockaway Capital, for which he is the Chief Financial Officer, also talking about his experience working in a VC.

Proptech Innovation Summit 2019!

On this day, GTEC and Union Investment were very excited to host the PropTech Innovation Summit 2019! Winner of this years PropTech Innovation Summit hosted by GTEC and Union Investment is the PropTech Dabbel – Automation Intelligence GmbH




Innovation Amazon style (breakfast)

Innovation Amazon Style – that was the theme for our entrepreneur Breakfast this morning, for which Antoine Brochet from Amazon Web Services (AWS) provided a detailed talk about Amazon’s culture of Innovation.
Key is to learn from failure – to take up all the knowledge a mistake provides you.

Everyone has to focus on customer behaviour and the needs of their individual customer, as the product stays in the background.

Spotlight session: my experience as an entrepreneur in Germany

The last session was about sharing experience. “My experience as an entrepreneur” with GTEC NO BULLSHIT LAB Startups Cogatechdeepset and SourcingBot. The complexity of Germany and it’s economics and inside advice was shared in this last session.


After 5 days it was time to say goodbye, hopefully not for too long!

For the startups: We hope you see Berlin and Germany as your next market!
For the ecosystem leaders: We encourage you to build joint ventures with the different communities and people you met and have fruitful collaborations.


Do you want to join us one of our next missions?

Sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of the homepage, to be the first to find out about our next missions (which, at the time of this article, are to New York and Silicon Valley!)


Read more



Are you ready for the Soft-Landing Missions?


Soft-Landing gives startups, scaleups and ecosystem builders (local leaders, influencers, changemakers) the chance to dive into a foreign environment and see how to grow internationally. Missions are usually a week long, however startups also have the opportunity to extend their stay to one month (and receive scaling support) at our European destinations.

The destinations for the second round of Soft-Landing mission are Berlin (Germany), Paris (France), Zoetermeer (The Netherlands), Vilnius (Lithuania), with more missions coming up for Boston, New York and Silicon Valley (USA). These locations have been selected as they offer thriving, dynamic and diverse environments for startups, scaleups and ecosystem builders to explore and discover.




Who are the new ‘Soft-Landers’?

After a competitive selection process, more than 50+ startups and scaleups and 100+ ecosystem builders have been selected for the second round of missions. The new ‘Soft-Landers’ come from a wide variety of backgrounds and from all over Europe. Their technical skills and global ambitions mean that they will reap the benefits of these missions abroad.

The experience for startups/scaleups and ecosystem builders is slightly different, with startups/scaleups embarking on a five-day trip, and the ecosystem builders joining the group for three to five days.




Week 13 May, 2019

The Soft-Landing mission to Berlin ecosystem was a supercharged experience with full-on learning opportunities as well power-packed with great Startup ecosystem builders from across the world to interact!

Our partner organisation GTEC is organising our mission to Berlin, in Europe’s most sought-after startup hub. Berlin is home to over 40,000 startups, 50+ accelerators and is famous for its laid back and creative work environments. You can read more about this cool European ecosystem on our Berlin page.

Mor Eini of GTEC says, “We are very excited to have 15 startups from all over Europe in Berlin for 5 days full of meetings, networking, events with international corporation and a lot of fun!”

Startups and scaleups

Automate Loan FinTech
Certifydoc Legal Service
RADA building Engeneering
amazingspaces.world Proptech
AssetLog Proptech
Enerbrain Energy
Spectral Augmented Industries Information Technology and Services
urbest Proptech
Builtrix Energy
WITIVIO Computer Software
FlatnYou PropTech
ATLANT Blockchain Real Estate Platform PropTech
dserve FinTech





Week 13 May, 2019

It was an amazing experience of exploring the Parisian startup ecosystem, one of the most prospering ecosystems in Europe. We not only met the major players in Parisian hub but also networked a lot with ecosystem builders from all over Europe.

Our partner organisation IMT Starter is organising our mission to Paris, a major European business hub. Paris has the world’s 3rd highest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters and is a popular location for foreign companies to establish themselves (+15,000 in the Paris region!). You can read more about this up-and-coming European ecosystem on our Paris page.

Niraj Karmacharya of IMT Starter says of the mission “IMT Starter is excited to invite players of startup ecosystem from all over the world and connect them with each other. This is only possible because of Soft-Landing Project!”

Startups and scaleups:

ARize AR
The Virtual Mind, inc AI, Robotics
Monugram Travel
Meep App SaaS
SYSTAGfiles App
eParkio SaaS
Vorwärts E-commerce
Dynamic AI56 AI, deeptech
P.aid (PEOPLE aid for BRANDS) App

Ecosystem builders:

Marel Minok Erste Group
Rapolas Rucinskas Be&Do
Stefan Bodi Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Leitha Matz Zuper GmbH
Diana Rusu Spherik Accelerator
Egle Ciuoderiene Sneaky Box
Tricia Levasseur Freelancer
Croce Mauro PoliHub
Gintare Ambrozaityte KTU Startup Space
Inbal Kolodziejska Doya Medical
Bert Farell Zoosh Ventures
Maria Gross GTEC
Andra Bagdonite Startup Division
Maurice Beckand Vervwee Crosspring B.V.




Week 27 May, 2019

It was an amazing experience, where we got feedback for our projects, built networking with startups and learnt about new posibilities within FinTech.

Our partner organisation Startup Division is organising our mission to Vilnius, a booming FinTech scene. Vilnius is ranked 3rd in Europe for ease of doing business and has 500+ startups active in its ecosystem. You can read more about this up-and-coming European ecosystem on our Vilnius page.

Jurga Mecinskiene from Startup Division says: “We are organizing a true fintech fiesta, bringing local startups and fintech innovators from all over the world to Lithuania to discover its bustling fintech scene. Our participants will meet regulators, international unicorns and local fintech businesses and learn eveyrthing they need to know about licensing, legal environment, other startups’ experience.”

Startups and scaleups:

Sofitto Blockchain
Nect Fintech

Ecosystem builders:

Karl Gedda-Mudrov Vilnius
Michael Brooijmans Vilnius
Ionut Tata Vilnius



Week 3 June, 2019

Softlanding programme in the Netherlands was a game changer, a paradigma shift for us. Even after the 2nd mentoring sessison, we altered our business plan for a leaner, better and faster startup. Quality of the participants were exceptional.

Our partner organisation Crosspring is organising our mission to the Netherlands, a booming innovation hub. The Dutch are the 5th happiest people on earth, making business a breeze, and has a close cluster of innovation hubs and top universities. You can read more about this growing European startup ecosystem on our Netherlands page.

Crosspring is looking forward to receiving another amazing group of FinTech experts from all over Europe! The first Soft-Landing mission in the Netherlands this year will be hosted during the Amsterdam FinTech week, taking place from 3 to 7 June. Amazing sessions will be hosted by our partners in Rotterdam and Amsterdam to give a complete overview of the Dutch FinTech landscape. Thanks to our partners CIC, ECE, Baker McKenzie, Nauta Dutilh, Holland FinTech, RVO, Startup Delta, Startup Amsterdam, HPE growth capital, Briddge, InnovationQuarter, Symbid and more, we are able to provide our delegation with the best Softlanding program the Netherlands has to offer. Let’s connect and grow EU FinTech to greater hights!


Startups and scaleups

MarkID Fintech
Direct Pay Fintech
Datai.o Fintech
Neuro.Fintech Fintech
Bundle.Network Fintech
Fennec Group Fintech
Credital Fintech

Ecosystem builders

Indré Surgelyte
Matus Steis
Jesús Lozano
Antonia Imre
Sarune Smalakyte
Mariia Pohodicheva
Valentin Alexiev
Viktorija Braziunaite The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)




Week 24 June, 2019

The mission was a great platform to exchange ideas with companies from US and Europe. The organization team was super and did a great job planning everything. Highly recommended programme.

Our partner organisation Startup Division is organising our mission to Boston, the #1 startup city, with +4000 active startups to work and network with. You can read more about the US startup ecosystem on our United States page.

Jurga Mecinskiene from Startup Division says: “Boston is the #1 US startup city with 4000+ startups and internationally renowned innovations in medtech, cleantech, robotics, and other deep tech industries. Our mission to Boston will give a chance for 30 innovation managers from all across Europe to understand how Harvard, Techstars, Venture Cafe, Phillips, and other global players are driving and commercializing innovation and bring those lessons back to their home ecosystems.”


Ecosystem builders

Greta Radzeviciute Kalista Ventures
Emilie Verbunt DutchBasecamp
Jorg Kop UtrechtInc
Mirko Lukács Utrecht Holdings
Annika Schroeder German Startups Association
Arthur Hendriks FUND IT
Samantha Michaux Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
Marc Verbiest North Brabant at the Dutch Consulate-General in Munich
Rene van Stiphout
Vytas Kalinauskas Panevežys City Municipality
Tino Scholman De Haas Executive Services
Ricardas Valanciauskas Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)
Tautvydas Pipiras Lithuanian Innovation Centre
Mari-Ann Meigo Tallinn Business Incubators Foundation
Ruben Habraken Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship
Vlad Gliga Rubik Hub
Jennifer Austin Risky Business
Julian Speckmaier Deloitte Consulting
Daniel Szemerey
Health Venture Lab, powered by GE Healthcare
Donat Pajer Hiventures
Iurii-Volodymyr Blavt Civitta Ukraine
Mateusz Nowak Mazovia Capital
Diana Lace Overkill Ventures
Olla Jongerius Founder, TCCT, BerLearn
Yana Lipcheva Unknown Group
Johann Gross Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship
Laura Ludwig Museum of Values
Maja Trajkova CEED Hub Skopje
Kristine Jansone Reach for Change
Kazys Pupinis Klaipeda ID



Don’t forget you can follow the real-time journey of our ‘Soft-Landers’ on social media!






Read more

Success story! HokoCloud tells us about their Soft-Landing Netherlands experience

HokoCloud joined our Soft-landing mission in October 2018 and found out that the Dutch startup ecosystem is a keeper. Currently they’re in the process of setting up a business in The Netherlands. We had the chance to talk to Anuj Sehgal, Co-Founder & CTO at HokoCloud, about his ‘Soft-Landing’ experience…


Article by Crosspring


From all the countries you could visit, why join a mission to the Netherlands?

“The original reason HokoCloud joined the soft-landing mission was to get an exposure to the Dutch market and ecosystem. We were already considering re-locating the company from Cyprus and the Dutch ecosystem seemed attractive. The soft-landing mission appeared to be a good opportunity to get an overview of the ecosystem.

Furthermore, we were also hoping to make local connections that would make it easier for us to relocate to Netherlands and at the same time get feedback from mentors and possible connections to investors.”

Any first impressions to share?

“From all the information provided during the soft-landing mission it was quite clear that Netherlands offers a very startup friendly ecosystem. There are several opportunities provided by the government for a start-up to establish itself, and along with this the start-up community itself is very active. There is also access to skilled talent, which for a technology based company is quite important. Being highly connected in the digital and transport areas also allows for us to quickly react to the growing needs of our company and its customers.”

What do you think of the mission?

“The Soft-Landing mission was one of the best experiences we have had so far. Most startup events tend to pick too many participants and then attempt to cater it towards everyone, and this causes real information and learning to get lost in the program. But the number and quality of participants, was extremely well matched with mentors and informational talks at soft-landing. This allowed us to gather not only information about the business environment and opportunities in Netherlands, but also make connections to local business partners, mentors and investors. This experience was invaluable.”

Are you expanding to the Netherlands right now?

“We are currently in the process of setting up a Dutch BV company. The good folk at Innovation Quarter are currently advising us and guiding us through the process. The Dutch BV will become our holding company and we also intend to locate our software development staff in Rotterdam. HokoCloud is counting on The Netherlands as a big part of its future.”


And it all started with a Soft-Landing Mission… Want to experience new startup ecosystems just like HokoCloud? Our FREE mission to the Netherlands is still open for applications – just click here.

Check out more from HokoCloud here. 

Or check out the video from RiseNU with HokoCloud here. 

Read more