Startup Insight

Unicorn Startups in Germany | German Unicorn Startups in 2024

Apr 11, 2024 | By Startup Rise EU

Germany, located in Central and Western Europe, extends from the Alps to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea across the North European Plain. With a population of 82.9 million, it ranks as the second-most populous country in Europe. In the Regional Ranking of the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, Germany holds the 3rd position in Western Europe and the 7th position globally. Additionally, Germany's ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII) for 2023 is 8th.

Germany, located in Central and Western Europe, extends from the Alps to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea across the North European Plain. With a population of 82.9 million, it ranks as the second-most populous country in Europe. In the Regional Ranking of the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, Germany holds the 3rd position in Western Europe and the 7th position globally. Additionally, Germany's ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII) for 2023 is 8th.

Germany boasts the largest economy in Europe and ranks fourth globally, providing a robust economic landscape and exceptional infrastructure ideal for startups. With a rich history of technological breakthroughs, ranging from automotive giants to software conglomerates, Germany is a breeding ground for innovation. Abundant in creative talent, the country nurtures talented individuals  poised to elevate startups to greater heights . Leveraging its industrial legacy, Germany fosters collaboration, innovation, and solutions to prevailing challenges.

Recognized as a global hub for innovation, the nation's unparalleled ethos positions it at the forefront of shaping the future of global innovation. Situated at the heart of Europe, Germany grants effortless access to a vast market, facilitating expansion into neighboring nations. Over the past decade, Germany has firmly established itself in the European startup landscape, witnessing a notable increase in the perception of startups within the economy and renowned for its appeal to international startups.

The government actively encourage startups through policies, incentives, and funding programs, cultivating a conducive environment for business growth. Comprising incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces, the startup ecosystem provides vital support and networking opportunities.

Additionally, the well-established venture capital landscape offers access to funding and investment, facilitating effective scaling. Germany's robust financial commitment from the government serves as a catalyst for innovation and competitiveness, solidifying its status as a thriving startup hub. The country's dedication to research and development (R&D) drives its startup ecosystem's success, with significant investments in cutting-edge technologies and scientific advancements.

A cornerstone of Germany's startup prowess lies in its highly skilled and diverse talent pool, fostered by a strong educational system emphasizing technical and engineering disciplines, thus meeting the demands of the startup landscape effectively.

Within Germany, there are approximately 4252 registered startups, 39 of which are unicorns, with Software & Data, Transportation, and Ecommerce & Retail emerging as the leading sectors. Berlin (21%) and Munich (7%) are notably the primary startup hubs in the German ecosystem.

Here is a compilation of unicorn startups originating from Germany

Cleonis

Established in 2011 by Alexander Rinke, Bastian Nominacher, and Martin Klenk, Celonis is based in Munich, Germany. The company develops an execution management system aimed at analyzing and optimizing online business processes for industries like production, human resources, and logistics. Their unique process mining software facilitates enhanced productivity and automated management consulting across all business processes. This empowers clients and businesses to enhance process transparency and efficiency.

N26

Founded in 2013 by Maximilian Tayenthal, Valentin Stalf, and Josef Vataman, N26 is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. This internet-first bank provides a range of digital banking services for both consumers and businesses. Services include deposit accounts, money transfers, bill payments, NFC-enabled debit cards for online and offline purchases, cash withdrawals, and transaction monitoring tools. N26 operates through an app-based platform accessible on iOS and Android devices.

Personia

Established in 2015 by Hanno Renner, Jonas Rieke, Arseniy Vershinin, Roman Schumacher, and Ignaz Forstmeier, Personio is based in Munich, Germany. The company specializes in developing a human resource management and recruitment platform tailored for small and medium-sized organizations. Their platform encompasses features such as a comprehensive applicant tracking system, digital employee files, document and contract management, attendance tracking, absence management services, as well as salary, payroll, and performance management services. This enables clients to streamline and simplify laborious HR processes through digitalization.

Mambu

Established in 2011 by Eugene Danilkis, Frederik Pfisterer, and Sofia Nunes, Mambu is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company offers an API-enabled platform that provides open banking solutions for financial institutions. Their platform encompasses various solutions, including API-driven banking, loan lifecycle management, security and compliance, as well as lending and deposit solutions. Additionally, Mambu offers embedded finance solutions with payment services.

Trade Republic

Founded in 2015 by Christian Hecker, Marco Cancellieri, and Thomas Pischke, Trade Republic is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing a financial trading platform that allows users to freely engage in capital market trading. Through their platform, users can enjoy mobile, intuitive, fast, and commission-free trading via a mobile fintech application. This empowers traders and investors to navigate derivatives and the trading universe of stocks and options.

We Fox 

Established in 2014 by Michael John, Fabian Wesemann, Dario Fazlic, Teodoro Martino, Amir Suissa, Julian Teicke, Jonathan Seoane, and Florian Eismann, Wefox is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing an application-based insurance comparison platform aimed at efficiently managing insurance and financial products. Leveraging digital technologies, their platform offers a range of options, including policy management, claims settlement services, and quotations for health insurance, liability insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, and disability insurance. This allows customers to access personalized and suitable insurance coverage.

Qontigo 

Founded in 2019 by Sebastian Ceria, Qontigo is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. The company specializes in providing financial intelligence tools for investment management. Their suite of products includes Axioma for quantitative risk analytics and portfolio construction, as well as STOXX and DAX for tradable indices, news, and research. Additionally, Qontigo offers investment strategies and analytics tools tailored for issuers, capital owners, and asset managers. Their solutions cater to a diverse range of clients, including asset managers, asset owners, and hedge funds.

Ottobock

Founded in 1919 by liver Jakobi and Martin Böhm, Ottobock is located in Duderstadt, Germany. The company specializes in designing and producing prosthetic limbs to enhance the mobility of individuals with disabilities. Their product line features innovative offerings such as a computerized knee that adjusts its passive resistance to accommodate various walking gaits and a fully articulated robotic hand prosthesis. These advancements enable users to overcome their physical challenges and lead active, independent lives with ease.

WorldCoin

Established in 2019 by Max Novendstern, Worldcoin is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company offers a digital currency with a general-purpose focus, allowing users to share currency without any associated costs. This currency facilitates increased access to the internet economy and enables various applications. Additionally, users can utilize it for digital transactions and marketing purposes.

GetYourGuide

Established in 2009 by Johannes Reck, Tao Tao, Tobias Rein, Martin Sieber, and Pascal Mathis, GetYourGuide is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing a travel booking platform tailored to discover and book tours and activities. Their platform provides options such as skip-the-line tickets, last-minute activities, tours, day trips, and various other experiences in destinations around the world.

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Grover

Established in 2015 by Michael Cassau JD, Grover is located in Berlin, Germany. The company operates a subscription-based electronics rental platform aimed at providing pay-as-you-go access to consumer electronics. Through their platform, consumers can access a range of tech products and subscribe to a monthly service, allowing them to rent electronic items at an affordable price rather than purchasing them outright.

TaxFix

Founded in 2016 by Martin Ott, Mathis Ginzbourg, and Lino Teuterberg, Taxfix is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing an online tax assistance application aimed at simplifying tax declarations. Their application utilizes a smart, dynamic questionnaire and machine learning technology to automate communication with users and accommodate fiscal differences across countries for future internationalization. This enables customers to receive the tax refunds they deserve efficiently.

1KOMMA5°

Established in 2021 by Philipp Schröder, Micha Grueber, Philip Liesenfeld, Jannik Schall, and Michael Hinderer, 1KOMMA5°  is based in Hamburg, Germany. The company specializes in providing installation and services related to solar energy, electricity storage, and charging infrastructure with the aim of achieving holistic carbon neutrality in buildings. Their offerings include energy storage, charging, and heat pump systems, enabling private households and small to medium-sized companies to transition away from fossil fuels in the areas of electricity, heat, and mobility.

Omio

Established in 2012 by Naren Shaam and Matthew Wheeler, Omio is located in Berlin, Germany. The company operates a travel platform aimed at assisting users in comparing, planning, and booking various modes of travel. Their platform provides real-time price comparison and options to book trains, buses, flights, and hotels according to preferred dates and locations. This enables travel enthusiasts to embark on their journeys in a simple, flexible, and personalized manner.

OneFootball

Founded in 2008 by Lucas Von Cranach, OneFootball is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing a football media platform aimed at providing live streaming and news updates about professional football globally. Their platform covers international football leagues, streams live competitions worldwide, and shares news, highlight clips, and live streaming services. This allows audiences and fans to engage with merchandise, tickets, and betting opportunities and enjoy football from anywhere using a single application.

Sennder 

Established in 2015 by David Nothacker, Nicolas Stephan, Nicolaus Schefenacker, Julius Köhler, and Christian Nothacker, Sennder is located in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing a digital platform aimed at digitizing the freight-forwarding process. Their platform offers immediate visibility of pricing, live tracking, customized reporting, and automated alerts through API integration with transport providers and buyers' current systems. This enables drivers and carrier managers to access fleet management tools to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

InFram

Founded in 2012, Infarm is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing an indoor vertical farming system based on IoT technology and data science. Their farming system includes a compact growing kit, simplifying the farming process and enabling cities to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. This innovative approach significantly enhances the safety, quality, and environmental impact of food.

ABOUT YOU

Established in 2014 by Hannes Wiese, Tarek Müller, and Sebastian Betz, About You is based in Hamburg, Germany. ABOUT YOU Holding SE operates as a fashion e-commerce and technology group across Europe. The company provides Tech Services, serving as a flexible API solution for online retailers, along with Brand Relations and Retail Media, offering native advertising opportunities for external partners. About You primarily generates revenue from merchandise sales, with its segment including ABOUT YOU DACH and ABOUT YOU RoE.

Agile Robots 

Established in 2018 by Zhaopeng Chen, Peter Meusel, and Georg Stillfried, Agile Robots is based in Munich, Germany. The company specializes in providing deep learning-based machine vision technology to enable autonomous robots to perceive their surroundings. Agile Robots offers a full-body force sensitivity solution that enhances human-robot interaction, utilizing force feedback technology to enable robots to directly sense the physical world. Their technology includes real-time 3D feedback, robot intelligence, and autonomous planning solutions, with applications in logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and various other sectors.

Chrono24

Established in 2003 by Dirk Schwartz, Michael Krkoska, and Tim Stracke, Chrono24 is based in Karlsruhe, Germany. The company operates an online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling luxury watches globally. The marketplace primarily focuses on connecting watch sellers with buyers and offers a wide range of watches, including chronographs, pilot watches, automatics, and mechanical timepieces. This allows customers to browse and purchase men's watches at competitive prices.

Raisin

Established in 2013 by Tamas Giorgadse, Frank Freund, and Michael Stephan, Raisin is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company operates a comparison platform for bank accounts, specializing in comparing savings accounts, term deposits, and fixed-rate bonds based on interest rates. Additionally, Raisin provides users with deposit guarantee schemes.

Founded in 2020 by Christoph Cordes, Julian Dames, Nikolas Bullwinkel, and Oliver Merkel, Flink is based in Berlin, Germany. The company operates an online platform that provides a wide range of grocery products across multiple categories, including fruits & vegetables, dairy products, and daily essentials. Flink offers mobile applications for both Android and iOS platforms, and its services are available in various cities such as Berlin, Essen, Frankfurt, and Bonn.

DeepL

Established in 2009 by Jaroslaw Kutylowski Ph.D, Leonard Fink, and Gereon Frahling ,DeepL is based in Cologne, Germany. The company specializes in developing a translation platform that utilizes artificial intelligence systems for various languages and communication purposes. DeepL's platform employs artificial intelligence to merge an editorial dictionary and a search engine, allowing users to search bilingual texts for words and expressions. This enables users to learn, compose sentences, and even record pronunciations in foreign languages, facilitating communication on a global scale.

Staffbase

Staffbase was established in 2014 by Martin Böhringer ,Frank Wolf, Lutz Gerlach ,Corey Wagner, Isaac Oslund, and Christopher Wagner. Situated in Chemnitz, Germany, Staffbase offers a cloud-based communication platform tailored for employees. It enables bidirectional communication, collects feedback, and boosts engagement among the entire workforce. The platform delivers company updates, data, and tools to employees, along with features for administering surveys to gather valuable insights and feedback from staff members.

Choco

Choco is a leading AI-powered platform revolutionizing the food supply chain by connecting restaurateurs with distributors. Leveraging advanced artificial intelligence, Choco simplifies ordering processes, making them as intuitive and immediate as sending a chat message.

With Choco AI for wholesalers and distributors, voicemails, SMS, emails, WhatsApp, and third-party providers orders are automatically processed into their ERP within seconds. Helping them to maximise efficiency, reduce costs, and minimise food waste.

Razor Group 

Founded in 2020 by Tushar Ahluwalia, Christoph Gamon, Oliver Dlugosch, Shrestha Chowdhury, and Jonas Diezun, Razor Group is situated in Berlin, Germany. The platform specializes in acquiring Amazon FBA brands, operating within the realm of small and medium-sized brands on the Amazon platform. Razor Group conducts thorough evaluations of potential acquisitions, analyzing financial data such as profit and loss statements, as well as operational metrics. Once the analysis is complete and agreements are reached, the company finalizes deals with fund transfers typically processed within an additional week to reach the seller's bank account.

Berlin Brands Group

Established in 2005 by Peter Chaljawski, Dominik Brichta Ph.D, and Peter Both, Berlin Brands Group is based in Berlin, Germany. Specializing in consumer products, the company employs a direct-to-consumer strategy to develop, acquire, and grow brands. It oversees and markets various companies across multiple platforms, including marketplaces, price comparison websites, and search engines. Berlin Brands Group is dedicated to creating, acquiring, and expanding consumer brands.

SellerX

Established in 2020 by Malte Horeyseck and Philipp Triebel, SellerX is based in Berlin, Germany. The company operates as a brand acquisition and management firm, focusing on facilitating business sales. SellerX purchases Amazon brands and enhances their growth by integrating them into a comprehensive business portfolio. Additionally, the company offers essential services related to business operations. This approach enables business owners to effortlessly engage with potential customers and clients.

Solaris

Established in 2016 by Timo Weber, Roland Folz, Andreas Bittner, and Marko Wenthin, Solaris is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing a Banking-as-a-Platform (BaaP) solution, utilizing APIs to seamlessly integrate banking services for emerging digital-first companies. Solaris' platform leverages blockchain technology and offers a customizable solution for digital banking, including features such as card-based payment aggregation, consumer and SME lending, payments automation, virtual payments, and KYC document verification. This empowers businesses to tailor their digital banking portals, facilitating cashless transactions and enhancing customer engagement in the online realm.

Helsing

Founded in 2021 by Gundbert Scherf, Torsten Reil, and Niklas Koehler, Helsing is based in Munich, Germany. The company specializes in offering a platform for public safety management focused on criminal intelligence and analytics. Helsing's products are designed to detect and pinpoint suspicious targets using visible, infrared, and X-ray imaging for long-range reconnaissance and observation. Additionally, the platform provides real-time information processing, transforming unstructured sensor data into actionable intelligence.

Volocopter

Established in 2011 by Alexander Zosel and Stephan Wolf, Volocopter is situated in Bruchsal, Germany. The company specializes in manufacturing electric helicopters tailored for urban mobility. Volocopter designs and produces a range of electric air vehicles, including models such as Veloport, Velodrome, and more. Additionally, it develops VeloIQ, an air mobility software platform for managing air transportation. This platform is equipped with features such as integrated GPS and obstacle detection systems, enabling unmanned flight. Volocopter's vehicles are suitable for short to medium-distance commutes, shopping trips, and urban air taxi services.

Commercetools

Founded in 2006 by Dirk Hoerig and Denis Werner, Commercetools is headquartered in Munich, Germany. The company specializes in delivering comprehensive e-commerce software suite solutions for businesses. Its offerings encompass a wide range of solutions including customer management, inventory management, product management, and order management, among others. Commercetools also provides solutions tailored for mobile commerce, chatbots, marketplace integration, and social commerce. Its client base spans various industries including fashion and lifestyle, grocery, retail, telecommunication, and transportation.

TIER

Established in 2018 by Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug, and Julian Blessin, TIER is based in Berlin, Germany. The company operates as an app-based rental platform specializing in electric kick-scooters. Through their platform, users can easily locate, book, and unlock scooters using the mobile app. TIER's offerings include various features such as multiple payment options and traffic congestion optimization. After completing their ride, users are required to park the scooters at any public parking space. Additionally, the company provides shared mobility solutions for corporate clients. TIER's scooters are equipped with swappable batteries, which can be exchanged at various designated stations throughout the city. Their mobile app is accessible on both Android and iOS devices.

Forto

Established in 2016 by Ferry Heilemann, Michael Wax, Erik Muttersbach, and Fabian Heilemann, Forto is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company operates as a provider of technology-driven freight forwarding services. Its platform facilitates multi-modal cargo transport and freight forwarding, offering features such as fulfillment and warehousing through its network of logistics partners, contract management and negotiation, online shipment booking and tracking, real-time quotations, documentation, customs clearance, and goods consolidation. Among its clients are Miweba, Zero, and Viessmann.

NuCom Group

Established in 2016 and headquartered in Unterföhring, Germany, NuCom Group functions as an investment enterprise operating within the media sector. The company provides various deal options, such as media-for-revenue partnerships, media-for-equity investments, and strategic majority investments, delivering customized support to businesses across different stages of growth. Its main focus lies within the startup and scale-up sectors.

Enpal

Founded in 2017 by Mario Kohle, Victor Wingert, and Jochen Ziervogel, Enpal is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing solar panels with the aim of making renewable energy accessible to communities. Enpal revolutionizes the solar market by digitalizing operations and offering personalized installation of solar systems tailored precisely to customer needs and incorporating all available technologies. This approach allows consumers to easily and swiftly save money by transitioning to green energy.

FlixBus

Established in 2013 by Andre Schwammlein, Daniel Krauss, Jochen Engert, and Torben Greve, FlixBus is situated in Munich, Germany. The company operates as an app-based aggregator facilitating the booking of bus tickets. FlixBus provides intercity bus routes for travelers, allowing users to book their journeys directly on the platform or via the app. Booking entails providing details such as the source, destination, and passenger information. The company offers various amenities including Wi-Fi and real-time tracking services. Their app is accessible on both iOS and Android devices.

Contentful

Established in 2013 by Sascha Konietzke and Paolo Negri, Contentful is based in Berlin, Germany. The company specializes in developing a content platform tailored for creating digital experiences on a large scale. Contentful's platform centralizes and organizes content within a single hub, facilitating its reuse across different digital properties. With a highly adaptable framework for integrating with various tools, businesses can efficiently manage all their content using a unified platform.

Scalable Capital

Founded in 2014 by Erik Podzuweit, Florian Prucker, Patrick Pöschl, Simon Miller, Stefan Mittnik, Manuela Rabener, and Adam French, Scalable Capital is based in Munich, Germany. The company operates a wealth management platform aimed at streamlining investment decisions. Leveraging proprietary risk management technology, the platform automatically allocates portfolios based on a quantitative assessment of risk tolerance. Additionally, it provides on-demand financial advice, empowering users to invest in capital markets with improved investment performance and risk-adjusted returns.

As per reported by (Crunchbase, Pitchbook, Tracxn, Startupblink, CBinsights, EU-Startups, Bloomberg, LinkedIn, Forbes, www.portugalexporta.pt, seedblink.com, Failory, Eqvista, www.gtai.de)

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