Soft-Landing Mission to Berlin

[Article by GERMANTECH]



Herzlich Willkommen to the 5th Soft-Landing mission to Berlin! We are very happy to welcome you, startups and scaleups from all over Europe to the great ecosystem of Berlin (and Leipzig!): AichomBestelBewusterembiotseProInn S.r.l.GEEVVSight and F6S. This amazing delegation joined us for an intensive, inspiring and exciting 5-days program led by GERMANTECH Head of Global Programs – Mor Eini.



We at GERMANTECH had the pleasure to host an international delegation exploring the Berlin Startup Ecosystem.
We had an inspiring a full week! From visiting local accelerators, big players and VC’s to 1on1 Workshops with industry leaders and attending one of a kind future-centric events in Berlin.


The first day of the Soft-Landing mission to Berlin started with a warm welcome from the team and followed by a workshop by Robin Weninger about the Entrepreneurial Skill Set you will require in Germany. The delegation got insights about the german business mentality and how Germans like to deal with business issues. Putting in focus the delegation’s interest in expanding their business to Germany, they learned how to get things going in Germany and Robin explained, that it would be hard to build something without having somebody in their team speaking german or is capable to understand german. German is full of different accents, and “Language is definitely an ugly thing, even for Germans.” But in conclusion, Robin thinks “Europe is a great ecosystem itself” and you have a fantastic quality of life in Germany. From the perspective of building a business Robin knows that:


 |“If you fail, it’s fluffy.”


In the “I Solve your challenge” Workshop GERMANTECH’s Managing Director Maria Gross challenges the Soft-Landing delegation to find a problem that businesses face nowadays and subsequently find solutions according to the challenges’ goals.

For that Workshop the delegation gets divided into two groups to discuss business problems that they had or still have to face, following that they decide for an ambassador, who will represent their problem in the other groups for an open discussion. The participants learn how to see problems and how to focus on one important topic and try to solve them in a short time. The international delegation, all with different backgrounds and country of origin and all with different problems and ways of finding a solution came together in this workshop and connected with one another.



The second day of the Soft-Landing Delegation in Berlin started with Kaythlin Das, Business Development Manager for HubSpot for Startups, who hosted the session “Aligning Sales & Marketing to Supercharge Growth” sharing her knowledge.

Thank you for sharing your time and experience with us!

For the second part of the day, the Soft-Landing delegation went to visit Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH.

Julia Krüger led a session about the Berlin ecosystem and how innovation can foster the development of the economy.




A big welcome to the Soft-Landing delegation visiting the Leipzig ecosystem!



The first stop for the Soft-Landing delegation in Leipzig is the office of Invest Region Leipzig.

The delegation got introduced to the Leipzig ecosystem with facts about the region and had an amazing session on how to build businesses in the area by Helen Stoehr, the Manager Business Development of Invest Region Leipzig.

Big thanks to Helen Stoehr for organizing everything!

Markus Börner von TGFS Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen and the CFA Bjoern Bauermeister, CFA of Smart Infrastructure Ventures had a Panel Discussion about their offers to startups, what they did in the past and how it worked out. Also, the delegation learned about the benefits Leipzig’s ecosystem offers in comparison to Berlin, as new startups have a better chance to connect to other businesses and have an easier start overall.



Right after the Panel Discussion, the Soft-Landing delegation met Andre Hofmann, the CEO of biosaxony who spoke about biosaxony’s business model, their mission, portfolio and their outlook on the future.

The delegation also learned about the upcoming Medtech Accelerator and the Bio City Campus Leipzig.

The delegation got introduced to the Gesundheitsforen Leipzig by Vicki Richter-Worch, the Head of Marketing and Sarah Quellmalz, the Project manager for Strategy and Innovation, learning how the Gesundheitsforen Leipzig and also the BioSaxony can be helpful for them, and how these organizations help startups to reach their goals. Following the panel, there was a very lively Q&A session with all participants sharing their thoughts.


The next stop for the Soft-Landing delegation in Leipzig was at the SpinLab — The HHL Accelerator. Introducing the Spinlab Matthew McDermott, the Innovation & Business Development Manager explained how The HHL Accelerator supports entrepreneurial teams in growing and creating innovative businesses. A lot of information for the delegation!

Also, interesting for them to see, how the SpinLab works and what a startup would profit from them. Following that, the delegation listened to a short presentation by Tobias Theil, who is the Co-Founder of Stiki. Communicate smarter., which is part of the Accelerator. “Stiki gives growing teams a central location to share information that deserves to last longer than a few minutes in Slack.” After Stiki, Johann Bauerfeind, the Co-Founder of Solaga, presented Solaga their mission, while highlighting, how the accelerator helps his company.

For the final session at the SpinLab in Leipzig, Aparajita Deb from VNG AG, which is a partner of the lab, shared his insights on the Accelerator and how startups in the lab profit from VNG’s partnership.


Our amazing day in Leipzig with the Soft-Landing delegation ends in a networking event with ecosystem leaders at the office of Impact Hub Network Leipzig where Martin Jaehnert lovely introduced the Impacthub mission to the delegation and after that had a great chat with each other. Mor Eini our Head of Innovation Programs spoke about the importance of collaborations between both ecosystems and how startups can value from this connection. We would like to thank Victoria Schuster from PRISMA European Capacity PlatformAnne Moskalenko and Andreas Heinecke from InfAI — Institut für Angewandte Informatik for sharing their knowledge, experiences and their mission. Also thanks to Felix Erler Deutsche Bahn and CleverShuttle for giving the Soft-Landing delegation some insights about how they operate and how they managed to build the business.


A special thanks again to Helen Stoehr for making this day in Leipzig happen!


It’s Thursday and we are full of energy for a new and exciting day in Berlin! Our morning was packed with great coffee and discussions on growth financing topics in the tech industry led by Dr. Benjamin Ullrich and Dr. Tim Schloesser.

Thank you Victoria Gieseking for making it happen!

The next stop was at the WeWork at the Spree, where the Soft-Landing Delegation had a great talk with Joanna Sides, the Founder & Managing Director at Changing Perspectives.

In this Workshop, the delegation learned a lot about communication in a team, and how to build trust in it as well as how to deliver information in a correct way.








The last stop was the VOLKSWAGEN DIGITAL:LAB.

The Soft-Landing delegation got a tour through the DIGITAL:LAB by Suhail Bhat and Yonatan Chelouche.

Following the tour, Suhail and Yonatan gave an introduction to the Lab, how it works and insights into past and future projects.





Since its the last delegation of Soft-Landing in Berlin, we invited our partners, startups, alumni, mentors, and friends to celebrate with us European Entrepreneurship in a networking dinner. We had a great time meeting new people, creating professional opportunities and fostering innovation. It was the perfect time to thanks all of our networks for sharing their time, knowledge and experience with us in order to help startups and ecosystem builders to Soft-Land in Germany.



Check out our video of the last Soft-Landing Delegation in May, where the whole procedure is explained and you get some visual insights in the Mission!

Soft-Landing Mission to Berlin May 2019



If you want to learn more about Soft-Landing, than check out the official website: https://soft-landing.eu/


original article here

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Soft-Landers meet in Madrid – Highlights & resources from the #ScalingMasterclass

It was a pleasure to gather our startups and ecosystem leaders from all over Europe in a single moment in time and space: the #ScalingMasterclass in Madrid, on 1 October 2019. Let us guide you through it (includes video)!

The event was powered by Soft-Landing, together with our sister project Startup Lighthouse – two successful Startup Europe initiatives. It brought insights not only into European startup ecosystems (Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris, Vilnius and Zoetermeer), but also global markets (Boston, New York, Silicon Valley, India and Israel). (more…)

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Landing your startup in the Netherlands

[Article by Crosspring]

7 Fintech startups and 3 ecosystem builders from 10 different countries were invited by the startup incubator Crosspring in the Netherlands for their final Soft-Landing mission. 5 days and 96 stroopwafels later, they explored the Dutch startup environment, met new businesses to partner with and most important: learned if they want to land their startup in The Netherlands.  (more…)

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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.



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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.


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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)




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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.





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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.



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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

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“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



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