Start-up novelty gifts

Wondering what Berlin's start-ups are actually producing? Or just nostalgic for the Skymall catalogue? Either way, the Start-Up Guide Store is for you.

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Everyone knows Berlin is full of start-ups, but what are they actually producing? You’ll find some of the answers in a hidden-away Hinterhaus in Kreuzberg, accessible only by the buzzer for previous tenants “Sideways Marketing”. There, the Berliners behind the Startup Guide have partnered with Kickstarter to, as they put it, “bring back the physical”. The Startup Guide Store sells both the guides themselves, in-depth books on “tech cities” like Berlin, London and Tel Aviv in which founders recount their experiences and offer advice, and products from the companies featured in them. As it turns out, beyond the talk of pivots and scalability, the start-up scene is a lot like the Skymall catalogue, but somehow even more expensive. Here’s the place to buy a €249 magnetic levitating plant pot from Stockholm company Flyte, voice-altering sound gadgets from New York’s Brand New Noise (€58-75), a “smart” bike light that projects a laser image of a bike into drivers’ blind spots (from Blaze, London, €140) or €4.50 bags of artisanal caramel corn from Berlin’s Knalle. It’s fun to play around with all the gizmos, but eventually you’ll find yourself asking, “Who is this really for?” or “Since when is popcorn a start-up?” At which point you’ll reach for the one truly useful product, a Berlin-made tea-flavoured liqueur called The Earl Spirit (€24.95) that will help you forget those pesky questions.