The video will be live on January 9th, 15.00 CET (9 AM ET, 14.00 UK Time).

This Month in German Startups – Review 2019 and 2020 Outlook

If you are new to our podcast(s), we are wrapping up the startup news of the German-speaking area in a monthly recording from Frankfurt and New York. Have a look at our website or and you will find all the links to our recording and the articles we are quoting from there. Some of the source articles are in English, some are in German.


Find the hosts here:

Jörn “Joe” Menninger / Twitter  / LinkedIn / Video Interview (2018)

Chris Fahrenbach / Twitter / Homepage / Video Interview (2018)


Publication Schedule

This episode will … substitute the June News. This year’s news wrap-ups will have a summer break from the May News until end of September. We are sorry, but there is no other way to fit the podcast around Chris and Joe’s busy lives. 


About this Outlook

Nonetheless, we are now giving you the review of a decade and the preview of a decade! We mostly stick to top-level stuff, especially since the deeper you dig, the more material we would have to cover. 


Recommended Readings (Affiliated Links)

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey


The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

by Stephen R. Covey
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth




This recording was made possible by Hessen Trade and Invest. Learn more about our enabler here:


Together with our enabler we are running a podcast called “Tech Startups Germany”, which will focus on startups at a Serie A stage or even more mature. You will also find all the videos we produce for this podcast on our YouTube channel This podcast is available directly on our device as audio and video podcast, yes, makes the first downloadable video podcast. Find all options to subscribe here: 

Housekeeping – Time to brag 

We had more than 165.000 unique listeners to our audio podcast(s), keep in mind, most of them are only live since Q3. We had almost 350.000 views on Youtube and more than 2 mn impressions on social media.

You can find our top videos here on Instagram: 


Thank you very much for sticking with us, we greatly appreciate you guys!

Our sub-podcasts



2020 will be the year of Beethoven, which is a safe bet!

There will be a lot going on, since Beethoven turns 250 this year. 

Ode to Joy:

He made it in pop culture some time ago e.g. Two and a Half Men:


2010s Review – We found two posts taking on this gargantuan task

We start out with a great review of the whole decade:
This is part one of two great posts, where NYC-based VC Fred Wilson (co-founder Union Square Ventures). You know some of the portfolio companies of Union Square, Think Zynga, Tumblr, Twitter, FourSquare, StackOverflow, SoundCloud, Skillshare, Lending Club, Stripe …

What Happened In The 2010s – AVC

1/ The emergence of the big four web/mobile monopolies; Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. A decade ago, Google dominated search, Apple had a mega hit on their hand with the iPhone, Amazon was way ahead of everyone in e-commerce, and Facebook was emerging as the dominant social media platform. Today, these four companies own monopolies or duopolies in their core markets and are using the power of those market positions to extend their reach into tangential markets and beyond. 

2/ The massive experiment in using capital as a moat to build startups into sustainable businesses has now played out and we can call it a failure for the most part. Uber popularized this strategy and got very far with it, but sitting here at the end of the 2010s, Uber has not yet proven that it can build a profitable business, is struggling as a public company, and will need something more than capital to sustain its business. 

3/ Machine learning finally came of age in the 2010s and is now table stakes for every tech company, large and small. 

4/ Subscriptions became the second scaled business model for web and mobile businesses, following advertising which emerged at scale in the previous decade. 

5/ Silicon Valley’s position as mecca for tech and startups started to show signs of weakening in the 2010s, largely because of its massive successes this decade.

6/ Cryptography emerged in the 2010s as a powerful technology that can solve some of the web and mobile’s most vexing issues. 

7/ Technology inserted itself right in the middle of society this decade. Our President wakes up and fires off dozens of tweets, possibly while still in bed. 

8/ The rich got richer this decade. 

9/ This a post publish addition. A huge miss in my original post is the emergence of China as a tech superpower and a global superpower. 


The special interest Blog Gründerszene also has a review of the decade, but it falls quite short of its goal, even though a South Park character as the picture should indicate it is not to be taken too seriously. For a well-meaning reader it is a line-up of Gründerszene’s own articles, mostly covering the Berlin startup scene.

2019 Review 

Gründerszene lists some of the insolvencies of 2019, mostly with the highest media profile due to appearances in TV shows like “Die Höhle der Löwen” or “Das Ding des Jahres”. Again, there is a strong bias towards Berlin


After the sad news of insolvencies, there should be good news: 

The best e-commerce Christmas commercials of 2019 by a great way for a bit of a distraction or …. Uhm marketing inspiration, as we call it here …

Even ET appears: 

And a cute little dragon ..

Enough detour … for now 🙂 


European Biotech’s Top News in 2019 by, with a great, but brief overview, sorted by month with the most important funding rounds, approvals by oversight bodies and IPOs 


2020 Forecasts

Part two of his amazing posts is a forecast of NYC-based VC Fred Wilson.

What Will Happen In The 2020s – AVC

1/ The looming climate crisis will be to this century what the two world wars were to the previous one. 

2/ Automation will continue to take costs out of operating many of the services and systems that we rely on to live and be productive.

3/ China will emerge as the world’s dominant global superpower leveraging its technical prowess and ability to adapt quickly to changing priorities (see #1). Conversely the US becomes increasingly internally focused and isolationist in its world view.

4/ Countries will create and promote digital/crypto versions of their fiat currencies, led by China who moves first and benefits the most from this move. 

5/ A decentralized internet will emerge, led initially by decentralized infrastructure services like storage, bandwidth, compute, etc. 

6/ Plant based diets will dominate the world by the end of the decade. 

7/ The exploration and commercialization of space will be dominated by private companies as governments increasingly step back from these investments.

8/ Mass surveillance by governments and corporations will become normal and expected this decade and people will increasingly turn to new products and services to protect themselves from surveillance.

9/ We will finally move on from the Baby Boomers dominating the conversation in the US and around the world and Millennials and Gen-Z will be running many institutions by the end of the decade.

10/ Continued advancements in genetics will produce massive wins this decade as cancer and other terminal illnesses become well understood and treatable.



The smart ideas that will define technology in 2020 by Greg Williams on

Profit is the new growth

In November 2019, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the ride hailing company would turn a profit in 2021 on so-called ‘adjusted earnings’ (meaning those before interest tax, depreciation and amoritisation). The news must have come as some consolation to Uber shareholders, who will also have been buoyed by increased revenues towards the end 2019. But the startup remains essentially a furnace to burn cash – including a staggering $5 billion in Q2 – and its stock continued to decline in value throughout the second half of last year. As its SoftBank stablemate WeWork discovered, venture capitalists might be willing to subsidise a loss-making business, but public markets bring a very different type of attitude and scrutiny.

10 technology trends that will impact our lives in 2020 – Venture Beat (by a contributor from Pegasus Tech Ventures)

AI, IoT, EdgeComputing, QuantumComputing, aerospace, 5G, healthcare, AgTech, autonomous driving, blockchain 


Neo Banks

As in our annual fintech review, 2020 appears to be the stylized as the “make or break year of the Neo Banks”

  • Forbes Take: Moats In Banking Are Dead: Build Bridges And Tunnels For A Competitive Advantage

In a business strategy context, the use of the term “moat” is usually credited to Warren Buffett, who wrote in his 1996 letter to investors:

“I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.”

Buffett was simply giving a new name to something that strategy guru Michael Porter had written about in 1980, when he defined the “five forces” of strategy.


Startup Companies

2020 predictions from 28 big-hitters in Europe’s startup scene | 

The year US venture money pours into Europe — Hussein Kanji, partner at Hoxton Ventures

The year Europe poaches talent from the valley — Ophelia Brown, partner at Blossom Capital

The year of economic crisis (where startups are winners) — Phillipe Collombel, general partner at Partech

The year bullshit startup “mission statements” die — Daisy Onubogu, head of venture scouts at Backed VC

The year of the data startup — Jan Hammer, partner at Index Ventures

The year of the purpose-driven startup — Tom Wehmeier, partner and head of insights at Atomico

The year of the electric tipping point — Agate Freimane, investment manager at Norrsken Foundation

The year of light — Alice Newcombe-Ellis, managing partner at Ahren Innovation Capital

The year travel tech beats fintech — Jean de la Rochebrochard, partner at Kima Ventures

The year fintechs go global — Hiroki Takeuchi, cofounder and chief executive of fintech GoCardless

The year digital health grows up — Claire Novorol, cofounder of healthtech startup Ada Health

The year that fintech gets real — Taavet Hinrikus, cofounder and chairman of fintech TransferWise


German startups to follow in 2020 | 

many of which already interviewed e.g. 

This is an analysis of Dealroomco, which was also an interview guest


Gründerszene also has a gallery of startups to watch including Personio, WeFox, Sennder and others. Again, there is a strong bias towards Berlin


Investments / Investors and VC Data tracked 40 deals, worth 640 mn Euros (730 mn US$). This is a great achievement compared to 2018 (375 mn Euros). We will publish the data officially after this podcast went live, but you can find the link to the article here soon


Europe’s Top Investors Reveal What’s Next For European Tech In 2020 (Forbes)

Key Takeaways From 2019


  • The slowdown of funding didn’t happen…yet
  • The Americans are coming
  • European companies are going global faster
  • Regulations must evolve to enable continued growth


Industries To Focus On In 2020


  • Healthtech 
  • Machine Learning 
  • Cloud Gaming


Industries To Approach With Caution In 2020


  • VR
  • Voice (consumer market)
  • Men’s Wellness
  • Developer Tools


Hubs to focus on in 2020


  • Amsterdam
  • Eastern Europe



Speedinvest (Vienna-based VC investor) 2020 forecast


  • US (and Asian) investors continue entering Europe
  • There is A LOT of money to be made and spent
  • A fight for late-stage winners



These 10 promising VCs in #Europe aim to transform tech ecosystem in 2020 | Silicon Canals 

including Rocket Internet/GFC 

PointNine Capital

Cherry Ventures 

Project A


Since there is a new decade ahead of us, we will end with two high notes:

Some funny articles are to be found on Deutsche-Startups. They have the most “delicious” exit in 2019 Foodspring


These Stunts Took Brand Engagement to New Heights in 2019 by AdWeek

Most paragraphs have a video …. including ads by Tinder an others …

And my favorite: 

Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was brought back to life 30 years after his death, thanks to a partnership between the St. Petersburg Dalí Museum and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, along with some help from artificial intelligence.