'German startup founders in general are much more extroverted'

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Shelley Pascual - [email protected]
'German startup founders in general are much more extroverted'
Photo of team members at a startup: Deposit Photos."

New data based on social science tests reveal that Berlin and Munich founders are similar in that they are more open, creative and extroverted than founders elsewhere across the globe. But they have a few differences too.


In the study by Founder Institute which looked at data from over 100 cities worldwide, Berlin founders ranked fifth in the world for their openness, trailing behind entrepreneurs in Denver (fourth), Rome (third), Tel Aviv (second) and Athens (first).

Based on data collected from founders in Munich and Berlin, the findings also show that German entrepreneurs are generally more open than their counterparts in Silicon Valley, the rest of Europe and across the globe.

READ ALSO: Berlin v. San Francisco: Which is better for startups?

“The more international or more liberal the city, the higher the openness and creativity,” co-founder of the Founder Institute, Jonathan Greechan, told The Local in a phone interview.

But it goes even deeper than that, says Greechan, who describes openness as a “big five personality trait” that involves creativity in addition to people who are "open to new experiences, who challenge norms and are more likely to take risks.”

Image: Founder Institute.

According to Greechan, a strong correlation exists between one's openness and entrepreneurial success.

The idea of developing a social science test that people could take to evaluate whether they have the potential to become strong entrepreneurs or not dates back to 2006. Back then, Greechan started conducting research on the topic with his now co-founder, Adeo Ressi, after having a hard time finding the right people to hire for their startup.

Since the Founder Institute - which describes itself as an idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program - kicked off in 2009, the results of 30,000 people from all over the world who have taken the test have been analyzed, including over 600 entrepreneurs in the capital city of Germany and the capital of Bavaria.

Having collected years of data, the team at the institute have used the results to determine traits they believe make a successful entrepreneur, regardless of one's locale, idea or demographic.

German entrepreneurs are also among the world’s most extroverted, according to the findings. The institute has found that extroverted people generally display high energy, assertiveness, and sociability; in these areas, too, Berlin and Munich founders displayed higher extroversion compared to their counterparts in Silicon Valley and the rest of the world.

“German founders and European founders in general are much more extroverted,” said Greechen.

“Definitely German founders are good at selling and compared to the rest of Europe, they are more hardworking,” he added, emphasizing that conscientiousness is another big five trait they have tested that aims to determine someone’s industriousness and ability to get things done.

Image: Founder Institute.

But one area in which German entrepreneurs fared lower in comparison to founders across the globe was agreeableness, one of the major traits the institute believes makes a good entrepreneur.

Berlin and Munich entrepreneurs showed lower than average agreeableness, a trait the institute says manifests itself in individual behavioural characteristics that are perceived as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, etc.

Greechan warns though that while agreeableness has to do with friendliness,“if you’re more agreeable that’s not generally a good thing; you want to be somewhere in the middle.”

And while Berlin founders have many similarities with Munich founders, they differ from them too.

The data show that entrepreneurs in Berlin are more creative than their Munich counterparts, something which Greechan speculates is because “Berlin is sort of an artsy city.”

But while Berlin founders have also shown they are more hard-working and extroverted than Munich founders, entrepreneurs in the capital city of Bavaria on the other hand are more agreeable, emotionally stable and have higher fluid intelligence.

Fluid intelligence describes one’s ability to learn and apply a rule set quickly in order to solve problems; it correlates positively with entrepreneurial success, says Greechan. Traits like emotional instability, conversely, correlate negatively.



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