Shortly after the U.K. voted to exit the EU, Germany’s Freie Demokraten (FDP), or the Free Democratic Party, jumped at the opportunity to woo U.K. startups to consider relocating to Berlin, post-Brexit, with a clever moving billboard on the streets of London.
“Dear start-ups, Keep calm and move to Berlin” is the message that the billboard displayed as it made its way down London’s ‘Tech City’.
Christin Lindner, leader of the FDP, told Business Insider:
Those who would like to enjoy the advantages of the EU are invited to come to Berlin and make the city even greater together with us. With the combination of liberal policy and smart minds from London, Berlin could be the next European startup hub.
Of course this call to move had some criticism in the U.K., including a scathing statement from Startup Britain’s Matt Smith, who said:
We wish our German startup friends well with their endeavours. Berlin is a great city. But London is the true European home of entrepreneurial Schöpfungskraft.
Part of our capital’s attraction is its gateway status. Indeed, London is a global city located in Europe. That hasn’t changed because it cannot change: it is a historic and geographic fact. London is where European entrepreneurs come to go global. Here are the ideas, the talent, the funding and the subsidiary services, a pull force without parallel in any other city around the world. No amount of wishful thinking — or even lobbying — can remove that. But nice try Berlin: we appreciate the chutzpah!
While Berlin, and even Germany, may not have the same number of high-profile startups as the U.K., it does have some well-known companies that call the country home, including SoundCloud, Dubsmash and Wunderlist, which just recently was acquired by Microsoft.