A Common Language

My new home of Frankfurt is trying to make a name for itself in the Fintech startup community. Recently, the city and State of Hessen put out a request for proposals to create a Fintech center, and in conjunction hosted an event for the submitters to present their proposals to the public. Moreover, every week there are numerous startup and technology meetups, CEO interviews, panel discussions, and thought leadership articles.

But there is a problem. There is no common language. 99% of startup and tech events are in German, while Fintech is international. Startups in general are international. And like it or not, that common language is English. In addition, having recorded content in German limits its distribution to other parts of the world, dramatically limiting Frankfurt's ability to promote itself as a startup hub and thus attracting entrepreneurs along the way. Unless a company's only market is Germany, then entrepreneurs will need to present their business in English, sell customers in English, raise money in English, and hire in English. Talent from all over flock to startups with these commonalities.

Everyone in Frankfurt and the surrounding areas has been accommodating with me, and I appreciate it. But there are many people that don't speak German and thus don't get involved with startups here. When in Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and other startup hubs, 99% speak English as the common language, but in Frankfurt it is the opposite. 

Thus, if Frankfurt is going to be taken seriously as a Fintech center and a startup hub, then a good starting point is a common language.