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Plays of the week – Seedcamp, The Factory, Urbanara Written by Nina Fowler on 27. April 2012

plays of the week

A thousand deals go down in Berlin each week – check out these three gems and why we think they matter.

The Factory – Berlin’s hot new tech hub-to-be

incubatorTHE LOWDOWN News out this week is that JMES Investments is partnering up with s+p Real Estate to create a massive five-storey “factory” in Rheinsbergerstrasse in Mitte for Berlin’s finest startups (SoundCloud and possibly 6wunderkinder among them).
WHY IT MATTERS Berlin still has a long way to go before it can claim the established infrastructure and geographic density that make Silicon Valley so successful – this could help change that.

Russia’s Yandex invests in Seedcamp

Ilya Segalovich at Seedcamp '11THE LOWDOWN Search service Yandex is the first big company to invest in European micro fund Seedcamp, in Seedcamp’s second, €5 million fund. The exact sum isn’t disclosed but it’s apparently as much as Seedcamp would let them.
WHY IT MATTERS It’s great news for European start-ups and an example of a European success story investing to support the next generation of up-and-comers. Google may be an increasing threat to Yandex, but the Russian online giant still beat analysts’ expectations this week with 2012 Q1 revenue up 51 per cent to $200 million.

Urbanara secures new €3.5m from German, Swiss, US backers

Urbanara's founders: Martin Wenckstern, Claire Davidson & Benjamin EsserTHE LOWDOWN Berlin-based designer living e-retailer Urbanara (founded 2010 by Martin Wenckstern, Claire Davidson & Benjamin Esser – pictured right) just concluded a €3.5 million Series A funding round with existing investors Grazia Equity (Germany) and B-to-V Partners (Switzerland), and new investor Blumberg Capital (US). Urbanara already has branches in the UK and Shanghai, China, and will use the capital for further internationalisation.
WHY IT MATTERS Yet another sign that there’s plenty of growth left in e-commerce. Kinnevik, the Swedish backers of Rocket Internet’s online retail empire, is among those who believe households will only continue to spend a bigger percentage of their time and budgets online.
BONUS POINT Keep an eye out for much-anticipated online supermarket AllYouNeed – currently in beta, based in Berlin, and backed by Deutsche Post DHL, Christian Heitmeyer und Jens Drubel (all linked articles in German).
Featured image – In other news, Germany’s Bayern Munich pipped Real Madrid 3-1 this week and is heading to the Champions League football final against Chelsea. Nice play! PHOTO CREDIT Bayerischer Rundfunk