THE BERLIN FOUNDERS FUND|FUND 2 – HEALTH TECH

Equity-free capital, local support & a global network for early-stage founders

Our Portfolio

Fund 2

Health Tech – Raised in 2021 and to be deployed by 2022. Pitch us your company before 30 April 2022

Fund 1

Industry Agnostic – Raised in 2019 and deployed across 2019-2021. The companies in this fund have raised over 9M€ in follow-on funding to date.

0

Equity Taken

24000

Euros per Team Member (Max. 3 per startup)

23

Funded Spots Available

12

Months of Support

Meet our BFFs 

A network of Europe’s top founders and investors

Our selected BFF founding teams receive 1-on-1 meetings with world-class advisors and experts tailored to their entrepreneurial journeys. As a result, we connect you with the knowledge and experience you need precisely when you need it.

We’ve got everything you need to launch & grow your startup

Expertise

We leverage our global network to provide you with the right guidance at the right time. We compensate all mentors, advisors, and experts to ensure that support is there when you need it.

Workshops

As part of our Silicon Allee Masterclass Series (SAMS), we curate industry experts and successful founders to lead specialized workshops aimed at helping you advance your startup.

Events

Our events have been a famous connection point for Berlin’s tech & startup community for over a decade. From fireside chats with industry titans to more intimate private dinners, we invite you to showcase your startup and connect with our wider network.

Workspace

Our Silicon Allee Campus lies in the heart of Berlin Mitte & hosts some of Berlin’s most notable VC’s, startups and tech companiesnot to mention all of the other early-stage founders in our fund with whom you can network. When you’re not #WFH, we offer you free desk space with great internet in our office for one year.

Accountability 

Our Education Manager, Sophie Webber, helps you to establish your milestones for your startup roadmap. Through monthly check-ins, she enables you to focus and stay on track.

Living space

The Silicon Allee Campus has 14 beautifully-furnished apartments to rent to entrepreneurs who are new to Berlin. They’re available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Welcome to the neighborhood

Silicon Allee has been at the center of Berlin’s startup scene since 2011

On stage at our BFF Pitch Up event
Summer Block Party 2019
Designer details at the Silicon Allee apartments

Frequently Asked Questions

Investment

What exactly does equity-free investment mean?

It means that we give each funded member of your team (Max. 3 people) 2,000€ per month for one year (24,000€ total) but do not take any ownership in your startup upfront. We do ask for a standard call-option agreement that allows us to add follow-on equity investment into your company during or at the end of your residency with us. 

Sounds interesting. How do I apply?

We try to keep the application process short and sweet. So apply here. Be sure to include a pitch deck; We only accept English applications because that is our company’s operating language.

Does the other funding our startup received make us ineligible?

Any team member that has already received EXIST or Berlin Startup Stipendium (BSS) funding is not eligible for the BFF. Here’s a list of other BSS programs. However, other team members who have not received EXIST or BSS funding before are eligible to receive our funding.

Private investment, grant funding or any other investment in your startup is OK, providing that the investor is not the majority shareholder. If you have any questions just ask us.

Does my startup have to be registered (gewerberanmeldung) in Berlin, or is it OK to be based in Brandenburg or elsewhere?

It’s OK to apply to the BFF before your startup is registered. However, when it’s time to register your startup (Gewerberanmeldung), this is different to incorporating a company (forming a GmbH or UG); your startup must register in Berlin. If your startup is already registered in another city or country, you must register Berlin as your office headquarters.

I am applying with a business idea that's already incorporated as a company. Am I still eligible to receive BFF funding?

Yes, if the company hasn’t yet been registered. Or the company has been registered but for less than 90 days at the date of applying to the BFF. (Exceptions are possible if companies are not yet fully and sustainably active, but must be approved separately) 

 

🚨NOTE: Incorporation and Registration (Gewerbeanmeldung) are two different things. Incorporation is the legal establishment of a company, ie. GmbH, uG, Ltd, LLC, but business registration in Berlin is an intent to trade and operate.

I have a co-founder. Can we both apply for funding?

Yes. We can fund up to three co-founders or first-hires through BFF, but we reserve the right to choose only one team member. So please only submit one application per team.

Who is your ideal candidate? What are you looking for?

Because every startup has a unique mix of characteristics, we have preferences rather than rules that guide us when evaluating who to invest in. Therefore, we don’t expect startups to be equally perfect across all criteria. Still, we do expect no severe warning signs or absences in your application, and we hope to be pleasantly surprised that your startup excels in a handful of the below-listed preferences. 

Our Preferences:

 

-An apparent problem or challenge that is significant and needs to be addressed urgently.

-A solution that is well-positioned to address the problem in a meaningful and novel manner.

-A business plan/model that is scalable and convincingly presented.

-A passionate multi-founder team with complementary skills and relevant experience/education as founders or industry experts or personal history with the problem being addressed.

-The solution is actively contributing to ESG goals, is inclusive, sustainable and/or diversity-promoting.

-The market and the opportunity are sizable and the applicant has the potential and desire to build a large, internationally scalable business from Berlin.

-A Go to Market (GTM) strategy that is sufficiently addressed and backed up (show some traction/feedback).

-A team that has a strong command of English, both verbal and written.

-A strong pitch deck covering all relevant information and criteria.

-A good understanding and reasoning for your target audience

 

Our one main rule is that your application must be health tech-related. However, our definition of health tech is broad, and you may be able to stretch it further. So if your startup is MedTech, DeathTech, SexTech or something else that relates to supporting the health of sentient beings, or works in the background of these industries, then be sure to apply.

What is the selection process?

  1. Each month our BFF Manager reviews each application.
  2. The BFF Manager shortlists eligible applications. 
  3. The five members of out review committee then review all eligible applications. Each team member uses their experience and a scoresheet to evaluate which applications should be brought to the monthly team meeting for discussion.
  4. During a monthly team meeting, we discuss which applications to send to our external network for review.
  5. Three independent investors, experts, or founders review the revised list of applications. They recommend which startups should proceed.
  6. The teams that our external reviewers recommended are invited for a 60-minute interview with our five-member BFF team. The interview can be online or in person. 
  7. After all, interviews have been conducted, our BFF team votes on who we should invest in. We provide feedback to all applicants who have made it this far and make offers to successful startups.

I’m very interested. Do you have any tips for applying?

Be present. We host lots of open events related to BFF and additional activities on campus and virtually. The best way to let the team know you’re a great candidate is to get involved in our community. Attending our monthly meetup is a great place to start.

I am not a health tech startup, can I still apply?

Not for BFF. We are currently only looking for early-stage startups working across health technology

If you’re not in health tech but still looking for support, please drop our team an email clearly outlining who in our network you’d like to meet and we will always see what we can do!

What is the time commitment?

As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know you don’t need a babysitter. Each month, we bring in world-class operators for you to hear from and connect with. We do organize additional social and educational activities that may be valuable for you but allow you to decide if you would like to join or not. We expect you to remain in Berlin working full-time on your startup for the funding duration (1 year).

I am not from the EU. Can I apply for funding?

Yes. The main requirement is that you are registered (anmeldung) as living in Berlin and have a visa that allows you to remain in Berlin.

I've raised a financing round for my startup. Can I still apply?

It depends. Private investment, grant funding or any other investment in your startup is OK, providing that the investor is not the majority shareholder. Typically startups that come from a company-builder are not eligible. In contrast, startups from an incubator or accelerator qualify because the founders are still majority shareholders. In contrast, the parent company is the majority shareholder at a company-builder.

I'm currently fully employed and working on my idea as a side project. Can I still apply?

You can apply, but you must quit your job if accepted and focus full-time on building your startup. You can, however, work part-time as a freelancer while part of the BFF; however, this will impact the success of your startup.

What's the catch? Why are you giving away free money and not taking equity?

There’s no catch. The BFF is funded by the Berliner Startup Stipendium (BSS). The objective of the BSS is to strengthen Berlin’s startup growing digital health ecosystem and develop individuals into exceptional entrepreneurs.

 

Is the funding taxable, and do I get health insurance?

The funding you receive is most likely taxable, but that depends on your circumstances with the German Tax Authority (Finanzamt). You will need to organize your public health insurance.

About BFF

Who is behind this?

We are the team behind Silicon Allee. Our founders are experienced entrepreneurs who have been supporting the Berlin and European startup ecosystem for over a decade. The rest of our team has a depth of experience in community and event management and are here to ensure that your setup in Berlin is smooth and hassle free and you make the right connections to hone your business.

How is BFF financed?

The Berlin Founders Fund is financed through the European Social Fund and the State of Berlin. These are our first “LPs”. We launched BFF in this constellation to bring more jobs to Berlin and support the foundation of more startups.

How does the BFF address diversity and inclusion?

We strive to be aware of our biases and commit to funding a minimum of 50% women founders. We also prioritize founders with an immigration background. We aim to have values-led partnerships with everyone connected to the BFF, from founders like you to our staff to our network of experts and investors. Our entire Silicon Allee team, current BFF founders, and some BFF mentors participated in a DEI program in November 2021.

How does the BFF address Climate Change and the SDGs?

We have an internal climate and sustainability officer whose role is to ensure that we are continually reducing our carbon footprint. We encourage all our portfolio companies to make a sustainability pledge as well.

Where is BFF based?

BFF is based in the Silicon Allee Campus, at the heart of the Berlin tech scene, as well as online and (when permitted) we’re often making pit stops around Europe at other startup hubs.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Feel free to contact bff@siliconallee.com should you have any additional questions.

 

Finding a best friend in Berlin can be tough. But meeting your BFF is easy—just pitch us.

*We are currently only looking for early-stage startups working in health tech. So be sure to apply early & update us: for example, if you’ve reached new milestones, pivoted, brought on another co-founder, or other essential news. Send all your updates to bff@siliconallee.com. Otherwise, expect an update on your application in Q1, 2022.

BFF is funded by the European Union (European Social Fund) and the State of Berlin.
The BFF for Health project is funded by the European Union as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Das Vorhaben wird aus Mitteln der Europäischen Union als Teil der Reaktion auf die Covid-19 Pandemie gefördert