The most innovative Berlin startups to watch this year
28 February 2020
It may be a mystery to you what the capital of Germany can offer for your innovative idea. Its modern society, inspiring atmosphere, and vibrant streets may well be of great help for your startup. The foremost Berlin startups are in the tech industry, where the best experts and the most talented developers work.
However, the city is a good base for all types of startups and for their international launch. Berlin’s greatest advantages are the reasonable rent prices and a wide range of co-working spaces that attracts many entrepreneurs and individual workers.
There’s a long list of existing successful, reliable Berlin startups and we also want to include any promising new startups.
Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at TMS.
Awesome Berlin startups
EyeEm, the first of these Berlin startups, has been trying to revolutionize the way professional photographers take, edit, and sell their photos. They gathered 20 million photographers and their works in a single portfolio. Each of them can now sell their photos as licensed stock images to different kinds of businesses. Moreover, the software developed by EyeEm helps them choose the best images from the hundreds they take.
The company has been growing prolifically, now with over 100 million images in their portfolio and an impressive £70 million in investments during the first years.
Their newest achievement is founding a sideline to license AI tech for smartphones, contracted to LG, which uses EyeEm’s platform.
FreightHub – from a Berlin startup to the entire world
FreightHub is trying to radically change and improve the way international freight is managed.
Since 2016, they’ve proposed techniques to digitize the process and keep customers informed about their shipping. Their area of expertise covers FCL, LCL, and air transportation. This Berlin startup has garnered more than £20 million in venture capital. Their success is almost certainly guaranteed by the professional logistic, development, and management teams they are working with.
The second mention in this list of Berlin startups is Lemoncat. It has brought catering to another level, by digitizing and adapting it for the online market. It’s founder, Doreen Huber, a former COO with great experience in delivery services, has made it easier for everyone to enjoy catering.
The customer needs only pick one of the standard catering packages or make a personalized order. For the latter, it’s necessary to download the tool Brief.me which will assist in choosing between the offers.
It is available in more than 80 cities in Germany and about 450 caterers are in charge of the orders for the whole country and there is a unanimous appreciation for the company’s growth.
N26 – another type of banking from these Berlin startups
N26 has made a startling impact on the online banking industry. It was among the most successful Berlin startups from its inception, which prepared it well to conquer the UK and US markets. It now provides banking services to almost 20 countries in Europe and almost one million people and was founded by Maximilian Tayenthal and Valentin Stalf only in 2015.
They rely on contemporary people’s desire to not waste time and energy standing in a queue at the bank. Therefore, a lot of investors, including Peter Thiel and Hong Kong believed in the potential of this startup and almost £160 million was invested.
When technology is developing so fast, it has an impact on everything. This means more comfortable lives, increased services, and greater efficiency. However, there are negative consequences, such as higher prices and a faster obsolescence rate.
Grover, a new Berlin startup, has a solution to these less desirable consequences. Their services include monthly subscriptions for different kinds of tech products. The advantage is that as soon as you no longer want or need the product, you simply cancel the subscription or change it for the newer version. Their products and price-offers are attracting increasing numbers of customers, which is a sure sign of success..
Raisin began with the idea to help people enlarge their deposits. It functioned as a bank where people could store their savings and receive the best interest rates.
The little startup grew rapidly to become one of the best tech companies in Berlin. Raisin now offers complete financial products and services. They’ve devised a strategy and expanded according to their objectives. As a result, they received a precious partnership with Vanguard in 2018 and then bought MHP-Bank in the next year. All this in only 5 years!
An important acquisition was the pension company Fairr which slightly redirected the development of the company. Raisin now focuses on building attractive pension products for German retirees. The results from this complex process are yet to be seen, but given their past successes, the future also looks bright.
Teraki – a Berlin startup for faster Internet tools
Founded by Daniel Richart and Markus Kopf in 2014, Teraki has been successful in the last few years. After expanding their team with the best experts from 15 different countries, they started working on their main goal.
They aim to make IoT devices faster and more efficient. Their algorithms imply analyzing the performance of the devices and minimizing these data to a fraction of their normal size which would make each network work up to 10 times faster.
Horizn Studios – travel safely
Since 2015, Horizn Studios’ aim is to make the life of contemporary travelers easier by designing better suitcases. Their luggage suits the needs of a traveler in the digital era. Apart from the hard shell, ease of movement, and minimal weight, their products have other impressive features such as the incorporated charger.
The product range is diverse; from waterproof backpacks to laptop bags, and cases for specialized equipment.
Zalando is one of the best online fashion stores in Europe, due to the stunning variety of clothes offered. More than 1,500 brands sell over 150,000 items for women, men, and children through this company. As a result, it has up to 17 million customers from more than 15 countries. The acquisition of nugg.ad GmbH, Metrigo, AMAZE, Tradebyte Software GmbH and KICKZ AGA had a major impact on the growth of the company, and it has invested in 7 startups to date.
This Berlin startup is so promising that even the Ministry of Transport endorses it. Their aim is to make driving safer and risk-free, so German Autolabs built an AI digital assistant for your car with a number of different capabilities. For example, some basic features are, ensuring accurate navigation, taking your calls, and playing music. Most impressive is its ability to act as co-driver, controlled by your voice or gestures.
Using Penta means you no longer have to spend days or months opening a business bank account. You can do this with Penta in a few minutes. The goal is to spend more time conducting your business, not in queues, filling out forms and banking. Penta will successfully accomplish these tasks for you.
Auto1 was founded in 2012 by Christian Bertermann and Hakan Koç and they have worked constantly on improving the value, reliability, and trustworthiness of this company.
They sell used cars with the help of more than 3,000 employees from 30 different countries. Their impressive capital comes from selling more than 40,000 cars so far. Auto1 is valued at almost €3 billion and investors such as Princeville Global, Target Global, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and BNP Paribas contributed a total of €360 million to accelerate the growth of this company.
The major goal of the founder of Pitch is to harmonize operations within a company or corporation. Their first successful app was Wunderlist and now Pitch since 2018.
Pitch aims to change the way workers make and present visuals, reports, and strategies during meetings. They created presentation software, with impressive templates, layouts, and design models to assist with visuals and communication for individuals, corporations and big businesses. Pitch is compatible with and adapted to all types of devices, for ease of presentation. They have raised $22 million which will enable the company to launch another set of presentation material.
Blinkist saves you the necessity of reading a book from cover to cover, a time-consuming activity, by giving a brief summary of the book. The summary is available either in text or in audio, with a maximum of 15 minutes reading or listening time.
Blinkist’s biggest goal now is to expand its portfolio with even more nonfiction books in different languages and on a wider range of topics. There are already 3000 titles in the catalog and every month brings 40 new books and they plan to invest around $30 million more for better customer experience.
Kreditech is an online creditor and both its sources and clients are trustworthy and verified through online data, which means the processes for seeking credit are streamlined. Among their investors are companies such as Rakuten, International Finance Corporation, but also Global Founders Capital.
The clients can receive their loans as electronic wallets, credit cards, microloans, or installment loans.
PEAT– AI for agriculture
Technology can be a great help for entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector of the economy. Farmers often struggle to detect what disease is affecting their plants. This can mean a significant loss of harvest or investments. PEAT employs image-recognition software to detect the causes of damage by analyzing photos sent by farmers. From the resulting analysis, it provides various methods of treatment and, eventually, prevention.
They currently have 1M users each month and 25 million downloads.
Toroleo uses search engines to find the best motor-related parts and services in the retail automotive retail industry. Toroleo compares prices and offers from all over the Internet and provides you with the best deals for tires, car rentals, car washes, or even insurance.
They’ve recently finished various funding campaigns to ensure the future growth of the company.
Movement around the city has radically changed during the last decade. Cars are no longer the fastest or most efficient form of transport. Lawrence Leuschner, one of the founders of TIER Mobility, noticed this and got the idea of introducing e-scooters into European cities. The company was established together with Matthias Laug and Julian Blessin. After overcoming various regulatory obstacles, the company launched in Germany in 2019.
Thus far, they’ve expanded into 36 cities in 10 European countries, outpassing competitors such as Bird or Lime. As a result, they’ve been able to attract more than €32 million in investment.
Since 2015, the German startup, COMATCH, has worked on improving the communication between consultants and managers who need external help. The process is simple: The clients fill in their project’s brief description: the company then proposes two or three consultants who match the type of project and finally, the client interview then chooses their desired candidate. It works for both multinational corporations and startups at the beginning of their business journey.
Comtravo’s main beneficiaries are traveling business people who don’t have enough time to manually make the necessary bookings for every trip, thus making way for the niche market of an automated service. Comtravo uses AI and machine searching to make the whole process easier and by 2016 had automated 80% of the service.
Only an email with basic information about dates and itinerary is required, then the technology will do the rest of the work. You can also use Comtravo’s booking tool for added accuracy.
GetYourGuide is one of the most comprehensive tourism guides you can find on the Internet. The site offers all kinds of travel experiences, from safaris to romantic dinners in the Eiffel Tower. They condense almost 35,000 offers from locations around the world to provide information for all travelers.
Their staff of 400 employers, experienced manager, Kees Koolen and investments of around €170 million, make all these possible.
Tourlane is an online functioning travel agency. They offer interesting adventures and holiday packages to suit all tastes. Thus, every experience is unique and personalized, which is what has helped this Berlin startup gain popularity since its foundation in 2016.
Coach Hub’s founders built a program that helps employers at any level get in contact with a professional coach through video conferences or calls. The coach provides useful advice on how to improve productivity and engagement. Specific topics can also be discussed, such as time management or career planning, and the focus is on finding personalized solutions.
Coachhub’s promising global network has more than 500 coaches and services available in 32 languages.
Lilium Aviation aims to revolutionize the way we travel by air. It is endorsed by Atomico, Tencent, and the European Space Agency. Their prototype uses vertical take-off and landing jets to get from point A to point B, without leaving the atmosphere. This would rid the cities of traffic jams, making it easier for everybody to move around.
AI‘s advancement means it is increasingly useful for the business sector. Many companies are using the chatbox to be in contact with their customers and this startup, Rasa, tries to “create the best text- and voice-based AI assistants”. With investments of around $14 million, they will likely be very successful.
Contentful helps manage the content posted on all your social media pages. Compatible with both desktop web and mobile app, it automatizes the posting and sharing of content on multiple platforms, in just a few seconds. The client base of this Berlin CMS serves different kinds of companies, from startups to top digital agencies.
Blacklane is one of the most promising German startups with more than $80 million raised from investments. Since 2011, Franks Steuer and Jens Wohltorf’s company has been offering the best chauffers you desire. They are endorsed by Daimler and Recruit Strategic Partners and they are growing fast. One proof is the acquisition of the start-up Solve at an undisclosed price.
Solaris Bank has more than 60 client companies and the €95 million they’ve raised since 2016 has proven their success.
Their banking platform enables big companies to ease their financial difficulties.
Another one of these Berlin startups is Movinga. It is a great company that will take care of all the steps involved in moving from one house or office to another, including carrying, transporting, and even unpacking your boxes. All you have to do is book their services for the required date and list all your belongings. You can also request extra services, such as unpacking, assembling furniture, or any other related task.
Traditional auctions of classic works of art can now happen live online due to Auctionata. Several times per week, they provide HD live broadcasts of the auctions from their specially designed TV studio.
They pay attention to the details and show you the selling item depicted in the foreground. You can see, analyze and place bids in real-time. If you don’t succeed at auction, you can always find something similar in the company’s shop displayed in the same window.
Your personal data, such as the way you drive and your driving history could be very appealing to an insurance company, who would pay good money for this information. Online data and real data can be monetized. Ocean Protocol is designed to do just this. Using blockchains, it sends data in a secure, encrypted way to its clients and you get paid for sharing your personal information.
The working world is moving towards individuality and away from the corporate spirit. Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular and they too need financial assistance. Kontist provides banking services adapted to the needs of a freelancer. It supports a variety of features, from account setting to money transferring. Since 2016, they have had investments of up to €6 million.
ChartMogul will sort out your figures and create the most intuitive diagrams as well as analyze their progression. More than 1000 companies are currently using the software, 6 years after its launch.
The company has garnered almost $4 million in investment so far, generously funded mostly by Alven Capital.
Locally eco grown fruits and vegetables are increasingly in demand. In the next few years, it is likely that produce that has traveled thousands of km will no longer be an option for the conscious buyer. The best solution for big chain supermarkets would be to have their own gardens.
INFARM builts vertical farms, which can be placed directly in the stores. The customers will be able to pick their own farm-fresh vegetables. The Berlin startup has already negotiated such partnerships with Auchan, Casino, and Intermarche. The project will be implemented in Germany, Switzerland, and France through these retail giants.
By 2021 FRIDAY should be the most popular German startup among auto insurance companies. Their prolific activity pays attention to details. As an online insurer, all the contracts are administered online with no paper documents required. Moreover, the subscription can be ended anytime and the changes will take place the next month. The billing is kilometer accurate and 45,000 customers confirm this.
It is worth mentioning that the company raised more than €110 million for future investments and future growth is assured.
This is another interesting Berlin startup. Door2door changes the way people think about public transport. This app makes the routes and the itineraries easier to reach and understand. Since 2012, they have aimed for full mobility of the world and minimum usage of private transport. This startup has helped entire cities’ infrastructure and continues to do so admirably.
Clue combines medicine, tech, and general female necessities in an excellent app. It’s not only about tracking menstrual cycles, but also saving and analyzing patterns, like pain and cravings and PMS prediction. Its CEO, Ida Tin, turned the app into a woman’s reliable aide. Success is assured with NGP Capital and Mosaic Ventures investing $30 million in Clue.
Receiving feedback and answering messages is an important aspect of successful businesses. The founders of Zenloop, Lukasz Lazewski, Björn Kolbmüller, and Paul Schwarzenholz, know this well. Their product is a platform capable of analyzing feedback and generating responses. It works due to a SaaS platform and a Net Promoter System which analyzes data in real-time.
Ending thoughts on these innovative Berlin startups
The German business environment is friendly towards promising new companies. The infrastructure is well organized from above which makes everything easier, from getting the right foundation to receiving important funds. Germany has an excellent reputation for doing business well and now that includes startups.
Germany has many advantages For example, it’s cheaper than London or Paris but offers comparable resources. From numerous co-working spaces to an adventurous nightlife, these attract young entrepreneurs from southern and eastern Europe. Simply bring your great business idea to a German city and the investors will help you with the rest.
Your online presence is also vital, so as the first step in promoting your business, build the image of the company on social media websites.
Aim for a simple, well-arranged and visually pleasing website that represents the spirit of your activity. Make basic information accessible, such as opening hours, contact number, or location.
TMS can be relied upon for any kind of help you need in developing your website, app, or online identity. This company builds, tests, and improves apps and websites for startups and big companies.
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