In Germany, the rebels of economic orthodoxy

By Cécile Boutelet

Posted today at 4:00 p.m.

The Soho House in Berlin is one of those palimpsest places that make the German capital so fascinating. A place where, as on the parchments of the Middle Ages, history leaves successive traces which overlap, without ever completely disappearing. This elegant building, at number 1 of Torstrasse, was a Jewish department store at the end of the 1920s, confiscated by the Nazis in 1933 to accommodate the Hitler Youth, before being converted during the time of the Democratic Republic (GDR) to become the seat of the regime’s one party, the SED (Unified Socialist Party). Today it is a popular hotel and private club in the Berlin tech scene.

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Christian Miele, 34, president of the German Start-up Federation, sits at a table on the seventh floor of Soho House. He too is a sort of palimpsest of German economic history. Behind his long, perfectly trimmed beard and his “techie” looks, he comes from one of the most traditional entrepreneurial families in Germany: the Miele clan, who for five generations have managed the manufacturer of household appliances of the same name. , with 100% family capital. “My great-great-grandfather, Carl Miele, founded the company, it is my uncle who runs it today, says Christian Miele. I’m not his heir, but we talk to each other often. “

“Rediscover the spirit of risk taking”

Christian therefore did not choose the path of high-end washing machines, or even that of family capitalism. He started his career at Rocket Internet, with Oliver Samwer, one of the sponsors of the Berlin start-up ecosystem. Christian is now a partner at Headline, an international venture capital fund.

“A family business with a long history is keen to keep what we have learned, above all we don’t want to break anything, we tend to lose the founding spirit of the origins. I wanted to rediscover this spirit of risk taking ”, continues Christian Miele. In July, he caused a sensation on the Linkedin network by writing, after a visit to the Elysée: “What impresses me about Emmanuel Macron: he has great ambitions and visions for Europe. Angela Merkel, for whom I have a great deal of respect, has never approached the issue with so much passion. “ The commentary weighs heavily: Christian Miele is one of the key figures in the economic debate in Germany, much more famous than his uncle, CEO of Miele.

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