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一、经济学人杂志双语文章摘要

十年前这似乎还难以想象。柏林没有真正的工业基础。由风险投资支持的一些早期成功案例往往不过是美国电商企业的翻版。风险资本稀缺。柏林也没有大批本地科技人才。奇怪的是,这些以及其他一些缺陷却成了它的优势。原因正是柏林没有什么抢眼的产业去争夺至高地位。巴黎有时尚和美食。伦敦有著名音乐人。而在柏林,现在风投家和企业家就是摇滚明星。

二、经济学人杂志双语文章中英对照翻译

A new career in a new town 新城新业

2020.11


How Berlin has become a centre for European venture capital
柏林如何成为了欧洲风投之都 

经济学人双语杂志

FOR BRITS of a certain age and inclination, Berlin is a city that is forever linked with David Bowie. When he lived there in the late 1970s, Bowie’s life was in flux. He was estranged from his wife, splitting from his management and trying to slough off rock-star excess. Berlin was similarly unsettled: a refuge for artists, misfits and draft-dodgers on the front line of the Cold War. Bowie lived anonymously above a car-parts store. He did some of his best work there.
对于上了一定年纪、爱好摇滚乐的英国人来说,柏林这座城市永远与大卫·鲍伊(David Bowie)联系在一起。上世纪70年代末他在柏林居住时,生活漂浮不定。他和妻子分居,与经纪人分道扬镳,试图摆脱摇滚明星的颓靡生活。当时的柏林同样动荡不安:这座位于冷战前线的城市成了艺术家、离群者和逃避兵役的人的避难所。鲍伊隐姓埋名,住在一家汽配店的楼上。在那里,他创作出了自己一些最好的作品。
The block of flats where Bowie lived with Iggy Pop, another celebrated rock star, still stands. Berlin remains an edgy, in-between sort of place—it is Germany’s capital, but is not quite German. And it remains a place where people go to try something new. It now vies with London and Paris as Europe’s leading hub for technology startups.
鲍伊和另一位著名摇滚巨星伊基·波普(Iggy Pop)住过的公寓楼至今依然矗立。柏林仍然是一个大胆前卫、游离在中间地带的地方——它是德国的首都,但又不那么像德国。它仍然是人们前去尝试新鲜事物的地方。如今,它正和伦敦及巴黎争夺欧洲头号科技创业中心的地位。
That seemed unlikely a decade ago. Berlin had no real industrial base. Its early venture-backed successes were often knock-offs of American e-commerce firms. Risk capital was scarce. Berlin had no vast ranks of home-grown techies. In a strange way, these and other deficiencies have been strengths. For Berlin has no competing hierarchy for all-important status. Paris has fashion and food. London has famous musicians. In Berlin, the venture capitalists (VCs) and entrepreneurs are the rock stars.
十年前这似乎还难以想象。柏林没有真正的工业基础。由风险投资支持的一些早期成功案例往往不过是美国电商企业的翻版。风险资本稀缺。柏林也没有大批本地科技人才。奇怪的是,这些以及其他一些缺陷却成了它的优势。原因正是柏林没有什么抢眼的产业去争夺至高地位。巴黎有时尚和美食。伦敦有著名音乐人。而在柏林,现在风投家和企业家就是摇滚明星。
Berlin’s VC scene emerged in the years following the global financial crisis of 2007-09. The city had three things to recommend it. First, it was cheap. Berlin was a poor capital city by the standards of Western Europe. The only competing industry was government. So housing and office space were plentiful. If you were part of the early wave of startups that settled in the city, you might be offered office space rent-free for several months. Second, it was hip. There were lots of cheap, cool places to eat and to meet others. Part of the allure was Berlin’s history as a bolthole for creative types, such as Bowie and Iggy.
柏林的风投业在2007到2009年全球金融危机之后的几年里逐步兴起。这座城市有三点值得推荐。首先是便宜。以西欧的标准来说,柏林是个贫穷的首都城市。唯一的竞争性行业是政府部门。因此住房和办公空间非常充裕。如果你是在早期创业浪潮中落户柏林,可能还可以享受到几个月的办公空间免租金。第二是时髦。那里有许多便宜又酷炫的地方去享受美食和结交朋友。柏林曾是鲍伊和伊基这种创造性人才的避难所,这是它的魅力之一。
A third factor is that Germany is welcoming to migrants. Berlin has always been a cultural melting pot. High youth unemployment in southern Europe in the wake of the euro area’s debt crisis was a spur to migration. A lot of engineers came from Eastern Europe. The Swedish founders of SoundCloud, a music-streaming site to which independent artists upload their output, based their company in Berlin, despite a vibrant scene in Stockholm. Often the working language is English; but it might be Russian or Portuguese. Plenty of people have poured in from other German cities, too. That reflects a cultural shift. A talented engineer who used to go to work for BMW or Mercedes now thinks about starting a company, says Ciaran O’Leary of BlueYard, a Berlin-based venture-capital firm.
第三个因素是德国欢迎移民。柏林从来都是个文化大熔炉。欧元区爆发债务危机后,南欧青年失业率居高不下,刺激了移民潮。许多工程师来自东欧。音乐流媒体网站SoundCloud让独立艺术家上传他们的作品,其创始人来自瑞典,虽然斯德哥尔摩的音乐产业很有活力,但他们仍将公司设在了柏林。这里的工作语言通常是英语,但也可能是俄语或葡萄牙语。还有很多人从德国其他城市涌入。这反映了一种文化转变。以前一个优秀的工程师会去宝马或奔驰工作,但现在他们会考虑自己创业,总部位于柏林的风投公司BlueYard的夏兰·奥莱利(Ciaran O’Leary)说。
The idea that one capital will dominate Europe is seen as old hat. Berlin’s VC firms typically invest in startups in other European cities, which are all a short hop away. A lot of the money they deploy comes from outside Europe—from America or Asia. In Berlin this is mostly seen as a strength, an external validation. Another outdated notion is that Berlin is a location for “shallow tech”, rather than original ideas. That is in part the legacy of Rocket Internet, a Berlin-based “clone factory”, an incubator that aped the business models of America’s online firms. But Berlin had to start somewhere, and there has since been a shift from consumer clones to tech startups that serve businesses.
认为一个首都能主导欧洲的想法已被认为陈腐过时。柏林的风投公司通常都投资欧洲其他城市的创业公司,这些城市也不过是一步之遥。它们部署的资金很多来自欧洲以外的地方,包括美国和亚洲。在柏林,这更多被认为是一种优势,体现了外界对它的认可。另一个过时的观念是柏林只有“浅薄的科技”,没有原创理念。这在一定程度上源于对Rocket Internet的印象,这是一家位于柏林的“克隆工厂”,一个专门模仿美国互联网公司商业模式的孵化器。但毕竟柏林总归要先找个起点,而且自那之后,它已经从克隆消费者业务逐渐转向培养为企业提供服务的科技创业公司。
The pandemic may be a kind of coming of age for Berlin’s tech scene. Two of its listed graduates—HelloFresh, which sells meal kits, and Delivery Hero, a food-delivery firm—have been bolstered by it. Tech looks more than ever a better bet than Germany’s old industries, such as carmaking. Even the government has taken notice. Its stimulus package included tailored support for startups. “It was the first time the government listened to us and heard what we need to do to build a strong ecosystem,” says Christian Miele of the German Startup Association. There are hopes of a change to the tax treatment of share options, a bugbear of VCs. From a frayed and frazzled San Francisco, though, the stodgier bits of the German model (its bureaucracy, health care and social-safety-net) might now seem rather enviable.
柏林的科技行业或许在这场疫情中经历了成人礼。其中两个已经上市的佼佼者——生鲜食材包电商公司HelloFresh和外卖订餐公司Delivery Hero——都在疫情中高歌猛进。和汽车制造等德国传统工业相比,科技业比以往任何时候都像更好的投资选择。它甚至还引起了政府的注意。其经济刺激方案中就包括了为创业公司量身定制的支持措施。德国创业公司协会(German Startup Association)的克里斯蒂安·美诺(Christian Miele)说:“这是政府第一次听取我们的声音,了解我们要构建一个强大的生态系统都需要什么。”对股票期权的税收是风投公司的一大棘手难题,现在也有望获得调整。不过从焦躁而疲惫的旧金山看来,德国模式当中比较古板无趣的部分(包括繁文缛节、医疗保健和社会安全网)现在可能相当令人羡慕。
With time, the hip becomes conventional. Bowie’s Berlin-period recordings were not universally embraced on their release. But by the 1980s every other pop group in Britain claimed them as a big influence. Similarly, Berlin’s VC hipsters no longer look like misfits. Its tech scene is in danger of going mainstream.
随着时间的推移,时髦会变成传统。鲍伊在柏林时期的音乐作品在刚刚发行时并没有怎么大受欢迎。但到了80年代,英国所有流行乐队都说自己深受其影响。同样,柏林的风投潮人们看起来也不再格格不入。它的科技产业恐怕正在成为主流。