Opening Doors – In Berlin and beyond
Publish Date: September 8th, 2020
Opening doors – in Berlin and beyond
Serial entrepreneur, investor and tech-expert Mali M Baum gives her personal view into Berlin’s ecosystem and how she wants to promote diversity in business in Germany and Europe
NEW YORK, April 2, 2020 — Coming to Berlin was a family decision – as you can probably recognize by my last name, our family has German background and the Baum family is originally from Berlin. My husband was eager to raise our children (2) here.
When I came here in 2014, I had already built four companies, lived in Tel Aviv, worked in New York City, did lots of business in Asia (manufacturing) but knew very little about the city except stories that are related to my family’s history.
But once I came to this city, I felt at home: It feels like our history is here, same as our future. I first felt more balance of family and career, which I couldn’t find in Tel Aviv and is a very German thing. Business-wise I saw a blue ocean, so much this city has to offer for entrepreneurs that are looking to disrupt and to innovate.
Making Berlin my home was for me a totally selfish goal at the beginning: I wanted to know key people and feel I have people to approach when I need advice or support. During that time, I found an amazing ecosystem that strives to grow. Since then Germany is my home and Berlin is my mission.
The most surprising thing about Berlin and Germany are the people.
The economy is very tight and local, corporates being open and sharing pain points and showing openness to technology. Berlin founders live the reality not only the dream (And yes, always dream big but don’t over financially evaluate your dreams). As an investor and entrepreneur, I would say that I learned in Berlin that when startups are evaluating their company, it is usually way more realistic than in New York, the Valley or Tel Aviv. When I needed to fundraise in Israel, we learned very fast to present higher evaluation, so we can close in the middle. Founders in Germany are much more realistic, same as the evaluations, which makes investments more attractive to investors from local and global to come.
Why Berlin has it all
There is so much to do when it comes to open doors, invest faster and bigger tkt. Invest more energy, money and effort in the younger generation economy. Women in decision maker’s positions are super rare here.
It is a long journey and a significant fight. We have to address more and highlight women that are doers and support those who want to lead and impact much more.
This is why I founded the WLOUNGE ecosystem almost 2.5 years ago. We want to open those big doors. WLOUNGE is a connector, change-maker, skill and inspiration, access to capital, VCs, public money and decision-makers, enabling and empowerment, headquartered in Berlin. Mali was mainly in contact with corporate M&A’s for opening doors for technology scouting.
WLOUNGE as a global ecosystem founded to support women (and men) and diversity in the tech ecosystem and to open Berlin as a leading global hub to the global market and global/ foreigner investors and technology. We believe that only with supporting diversity and inclusion in all stages of the business process we can start to see real change and innovation that represent all people and level and bring much more growth and unicorns in the economy. Through our activities and forums, conferences, workshops and even the Berlin Tech Oscar we had last October we bring professionals from corporate executives to rising entrepreneurs together to collaborate and tackle the business world’s greatest challenges.
WLOUNGE collaborated in the past in projects across the world, headquartered in Germany, Berlin is our heart but active in Israel, NYC, SV and China. My main goal with WLOUNGE is to build and to lift the local ecosystem here in Germany with bringing in also smart money, smart players and raise the local advantages that we have locally, altogether will make Berlin a significant global player and much attractive to investors, VCs and talented people. I strongly believe, from what I see every day, that the city is able to be the hub to lead Europe for more successful startups and companies. For this, we need to connect the dots between family offices, corporates, politicians, VC, universities, innovators, public sector and private sector.
As a former “Tel Avivian” I know that startups have to go “outside” the country to raise money and grow. As a Berliner, I would say that all the important ingredients for success are local and already existing here and we need to keep the companies local with adding smart money from outside in a smart planning way.
This is why I founded MAGDA GROUP, which will be the fund of funds that will address all these challenges in Europe to our LPs and portfolios.
Opening doors and connecting all the dots will bring the European ecosystem forward. This is our mission!
Mali M. Baum | CEO & Founder
M: +49 160 918 430 46
Kurfürstendamm 194, 5th Floor