Both Sides of the Coin: Silicon Valley Entrepreneur and Investment Banker in One

Erik Magdanz, a former entrepreneur and banker who is now a U.S. diplomat based in Berlin, spoke to 100 entrepreneurs, investors and business consultants on December 2nd at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.  Kimberly Martineau Emerson, a former Clinton Administration official, lawyer and civic leader from California, and wife of Ambassador John E. Emerson, kicked off the event. During the event, entitled “Both Sides of the Coin: Silicon Valley Entrepreneur and Investment Banker in One,” Erik shared his insights on all aspects of entrepreneurship. He emphasized the importance of networking, even for successful entrepreneurs, and the lessons learned from failure. Beyond Berlin, others participated virtually, including three incubators from Finland and Latvia. The German-American Institute in Leipzig also hosted a watch party for local entrepreneurs. Several other viewers from around the world also watched this program live online. The audience in Berlin enjoyed the opportunity to network with each other at the follow-on reception. They left the “Both Sides of the Coin” discussion feeling excited and passionate, and urged even greater Embassy involvement in fostering an entrepreneurship culture in Germany.

This event follows up on the “Idea and Innovation Forum” hosted by Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson at U.S. Embassy Berlin earlier in 2014 and the free, Embassy-supported “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship” massive open online course (MOOC) run by Dr. James V. Green of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, University of Maryland, from May 19 to June 29, 2014. Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson met with a various start-ups, including participants in a Google Launchpad Program, during a visit to The Factory in Berlin on October 2nd. The couple has made connecting the energies of young entrepreneurs and innovators in the U.S. and Germany one of their priorities during their time in Berlin. You can find more information about the US Embassy’s activities in the field of entrepreneurship at