This Month in German Startups – February 2020

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)

This February our news is quite short. This is due to the fact that we try to shrink them, as well as that we had only approx. 3 weeks since the last news.


Affiliated Links

The hard thing about hard things
Ben Horowitz tells his story from an employee, afraid to loose his job to CEO of a company caught in the dotcom bubble to VC investor
Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future Peter Thiels, the famous investor tells you his mental framework to think about innovation
Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies Reid Hoffmans, the founder of LinkedIn, advice on scale fast


Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Read worthy book to familiarize yourself with economic theory, or learn more about how to apply it.
Need a bank account? Try our partner Penta
Need space to work? Try our partner WeWork
Looking for someone to design a logo, do a transcript or a voice-over? Find all of it and more at our partner Fiverr
You can listen to Venture Capital books or entertainment on your way to work with an audible subscription – you get the first month for free


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: 


This Video is set to go live on Friday February 28th, 15.00 CET (14.00 UTC, 9 am EST)

A note on our Publication on a Friday. We had trouble with scheduling the recording of our startup interviews for Since they are a highly supportive sponsor we moved our startup news to a Friday and published on a regular schedule the startup interview. In the future, you can still expect a video interview published on a Thursday and the week after that the audio track as a stand-alone podcast episode.


Housekeeping – Time to brag, with all its sub-podcasts, has surpassed 100.000 subscribers! We are ecstatic!! We used data from our hosting company and did as Buzzsprout suggested measure 90 days. This may be a bit biased since we started our measurement period at Christmas (best time in the year for our podcast), but we had as of February 24th, 2020 exactly 102.497 subscribers. We are grateful! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH! 


After 2019 is over for more than a month, the first VC numbers for the whole year are published. We take a look at a few here:


European VC’s stellar decade drives unicorn stampede | PitchBook

“The past decade has seen Europe’s venture capital ecosystem go from a nascent market to a full-fledged industry. By the end of 2019, there were 40 European startups with a valuation of more than $1 billion, according to PitchBook data. 14 of those startups became unicorns last year.”


Insurtechs Led German Fintech VC in 2019 | Fintech Schweiz Digital Finance News – FintechNewsCH 

“Insurtech startups in Germany raised a record of EUR 442 million in funding in 2019, up a staggering 216% from EUR 140 million the previous year. The figure made insurtech the most successful segment within Germany’s fintech sector, according to an analysis by consulting company Barkow Consulting.”


Proptechs: German Handelsblatt writes Sturm und Drang Zeit (meaning here e.g. rapid expansion and easy funding) is coming to an end after WeWorks IPO failed 
Sturm und Drang (learn more here


And there is new fundraising for 2020 going on already:

Atomico raises $820m fund to back European founders | Sifted

“European venture capital firm Atomico has cemented its place in the ranks of venture capital royalty: it’s just raised a new megafund of $820m. 

That’s far bigger than the funds announced by other Europe-focused venture capital firms Balderton, Northzone and Accel last year — and it brings Atomico’s total assets under management to $2.7bn. It raised its previous fund of $765m in 2017.”

DaVinci Capital announces €277 million fund for European

“Established in 2008, Da Vinci Capital says it adds value to its portfolio companies by partnering with founders to improve corporate governance, financial performance, merger and acquisitions, capital structure and environmental and social policies.

Da Vinci Capital has been seeded by DEG, a German development finance institution, who acts as an anchor investor in this new fund with an initial investment of €30 million. DEG is part of KfW, the German promotional bank. With a presence of around 80 representative offices worldwide, KfW promotes sustainable finance both in its domestic market in Germany and in international markets, including developing and emerging markets.”



#Frankfurt / Rhine-Main

Frankfurt-based #fintech Traxpay completes management buyout, transforming from AG (plc) to GmbH (ltd) with management buying out old investors The idea of the company is to move money along supply chains along the products. We had the first interview with them (including one of the now bought out investors) in 2014 (published on October 31st 2014):

Sdui, a Koblenz, Germany-based provider of a school app, extended its seed financing to around €2m. Sdui is a start-up providing tools for mobile communication in education, especially schools.


Discover the eight Graduates from Founder Institute Frankfurt by Pedro Ferreira on Hallo Frankfurt 
Related: Our interview with three of them here: 


savedroid AG gets ruling form a district court (Amtsgericht) in their favor. A former trustee has to hand over 3.9 mn from ICO proceeds –
You may remember them from their unfortunate PR stunt – acting like a scam for one day
Or our global premiere of their ICO, back in 2017, with their founder Yassin: 


Frankfurt-based big data startup Bita released the world’s first real-time tradeable crypto index!
Related the interview here: 




Gründerfonds Rheinland aims to close its fund at EUR 60m to support founders from the Rhineland 




German retail giant Aldi (30+ bn Euro revenue) attacks meal kit companies like HelloFresh (1.2 bn Euros) or Marley Spoon (61.4 mn Euros) and now sells them as well for a price of below 5 €, for a dinner for two


#Scooter wars

  • #Berlin-based Tier Mobility, the European e-scooter rentals startup, adds another ~$40M to its Series B
    Tier, the European e-scooter rentals startup that operates in 55 cities across 11 countries, has topped up its funding for the second time in four months.
    The Berlin-based company has extended its Series B round to over $100 million, up from $60 million disclosed in October. The additional capital is a mix of equity and debt financing provided by Moscow’s RTP Global, London’s Novator and an unnamed U.S. debt fund. Part one of the Series B was co-led by Mubadala Capital and Goodwater Capital.” 


  • Bird confirms acquisition of Berlin scooter rival Circ – TechCrunch
    If you didn’t see this coming, then clearly you didn’t have your eyes on the road. Bird,  the LA-founded e-scooter giant, has confirmed that it is acquiring European competitor Circ, the micro mobility company founded by Lukasz Gadowski of Delivery Hero fame.The deal, for which terms remain undisclosed, was first reported by FT late last week. Meanwhile, TechCrunch revealed in late November that Circ was facing difficulties and had issued a round of layoffs following so-called “operational learnings.”


Varengold Bank (headquartered in Hamburg) opens new #FinTech Hub in Berlin. They have a strategic focus on financing online credit platforms since 2015, they claim in the press release. Varengold was founded 1995 and has been holding a full banking license since 2013. They also have offices in London and Sofia. 

TreasureHunt, the Berlin-based mobile games studio, is bankrupt reports Deutsche-Startups. This is surprising since a chain of sports betting outfits (Merkur Spielotheken), as well as business angels have been investing 6 mn Euros in the company.


Oply, the Berlin-based carsharing startup, closes its business. They claimed 60.000 customers, but a financing round fell through and so they had to close shop. In the past they have been active in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. 

Stay ahead of the curve

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