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CEO Berlin – the place, the pics, the gossip Written by Charmaine Li on 28. September 2012


Set in the grand opulence of the SchlossHotel Grunewald, the former mansion built by the Kaiser in 1914 was a sure setting for CEO Berlin – an the exclusive black tie, two-day networking event. Among the big-name attendees; Rocket Internet’s top honcho Oliver Samwer, angel investor Peter Read, Klarna co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski, and venture capitalist Klaus Hommels – who’s invested in Facebook, Skype and Xing.

From sampling fine whisky to puffing away on a sheesha pipe, the invite-only event of about 130 people included; a first-rate magician, an on-site yoga instructor, a casino event and a closing spectacle of fireworks. We dug up some pics from a few event goers below…

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Firing pitches in the Dragon’s Den

The Dragon's Den

The “Dragon’s Den” event spotlighted a hand-picked mix of budding entrepreneurs pitching to top international investors.

A promising line-up of early stage companies were showcased, with each given three minutes on the clock to pitch their business idea and woo the “dragons” perched on pompous leather armchairs. The pressure was on, and scrutiny soared.

Day One saw; co-founders of market customer validator Time Zapp, procrastination solver Startwork, and gesture control company Gestigon – the standout performer with its Minority Report-styled approach to enhancing the way we interact with technology.

Five teams were up on Day Two of Dragon’s Den, with each presenting a well-rounded and thought-out pitch to investors from Hubraum, Eventures, DN Capital, and Ventech. Investors’ choice of personal favourites proved tough. Receiving high commendations included event people-finder app OleaPark, taxi-booking platform GeoCab and bookazine The New – which looks to address the potential of setting up business partnerships in developing countries. Moosify; an app for finding new people through music and places and Stickvogel; a B2B mass customisation embroidery service, also proved their worth.

CEO Paris, London?

Looking to connect leading minds within the internet industry, the CEO event series is already present in New York and San Francisco, with plans underway to branch out from Berlin – across Europe, with Paris and London on the agenda. “We’re looking to increase the series to make it more international,” said CEO event series Managing Director Sebastian Esser. And they’re looking at including more established players in what is predominately – a startup sector event: “Next time, there’ll be more people from the old economy involved including wider investment arms,” he added.

For related posts, check out:

“I’m a Bob the Builder” – Oliver Samwer at CEO Berlin
VIDEO: Peter Read – “I’d love to find another 5-10 companies in Berlin over the next year or so”