We’re not like other funds or incubators; we don’t see the regulatory hurdles first and the founders’ vision second. We don’t micro-manage. We stay out of your way unless you need us side-by-side in the fray.
Currently, we are only accepting health tech applications until
30 April 2022. We have a rolling review process, so apply early for the best chances of getting funded.
Euros per Team Member (Max. 3 per startup)
Funded Spots Available
Months of Support
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.
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.
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.
Our Silicon Allee Campus lies in the heart of Berlin Mitte & hosts some of Berlin’s most notable VC’s, startups and tech companies—not 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.
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.
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.
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.
-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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any additional questions.
*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
email@example.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