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Though you wouldn’t know it from walking down the pin-drop-quiet residential street, the neighborhood has become home to several startups including Sound Cloud, which has an office a couple floors down from Ohlala.
As I scrolled through the largely German #escortgate hashtag, one Bing translation at a time, I started to piece together an unraveling scandal.
This isn’t a huge roadblock in Germany, where the app first launched, and where sex work is legal.
But in February of this year, Ohlala crossed the Atlantic and launched in New York City, where not only are the laws different, but social interface is as well.
Pia Poppenreiter, the company’s CEO, stands and greets me with a rushed hug.
"You picked a great day to visit," she says, in a voice that suggests more cigarettes than hours of sleep.
Launched in August 2015, Ohlala is a web-based app that facilitates what it calls "instant paid dating." Male users post offers for dates, consisting of a time, a duration, and how much money they’re willing to pay — a typical offer is from 1–4 hours at an average price of $300.