This Month in German Startups – January 2020 – by

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)



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


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: 

Housekeeping – Time to brag 

South Korea is Country No 26 which welcomed us to their iTunes podcast (tech) charts! Thank you very much!


Now there is



German startups raised 6,2 bn Euros Venture Capital in 2019, in 704 tracked financing rounds. This is +36% compared to 2018. The main driver has been large financing rounds by foreign investors ⇒ hard to find and track, not many disclosed. Those numbers come from the “Startup Barometer Deutschland” from biz consultants EY. HINT Transaction Services Joe More below


In German online business, there is no sub-sector growing stronger than #grocery (+17,3% in 2019). The online grocery business only makes up 1% of  the market, but it is growing strongly 

20 FinTechs to Watch in 2020
Including many of our interview partners like


VCs Place More Than $1B With B2B FinTechs |
E.g. Scoutbee 60 mn funding from greater Rhine-Main
Personio (75 mn USD) from Munich



#Frankfurt / Rhine-Main

#Frankfurt-based Online-Broker Flatex buys Dutch competitor DeGiro for 250 mn in a combination of shares (190 mn) and the remainder cash


Successful #Exit for #Frankfurt-based food startup Lizza. A corporate investor buys out all other investors. The founders will retain 30%. The deal volume was “seven digits” 


#Greater Rhine-Main / Würzburg
Scoutbee gets $60 million to transform industries with AI-based supplier discovery – usually is a great website, the only point they missed is that Scoutbee is headquartered in Würzburg (1:45 hour drive from Frankfurt – unless you do it friday afternoon 🙂 ) Scoutbee is a B2B platform, which helps you to find
The company aims to drive digital transformation of global procurement. With the help of AI and big data, the scoutbee platform enables the right purchasers and the right suppliers to connect anywhere in the world.
“2019 was an amazing year for startup funding in Frankfurt and Rhine-Main. They raised collectively more than 665 mn Euros, which equals ~ 725 mn US$ or 554 mn GBP. This is a year on year growth of a whopping 75%! Some of it can be explained by the better coverage in the last year, but surely a large part is also due to the very impressive work of startups in the area.”

⇒ Also likely not complete. 


Five IoT Startups to Watch in 2020 | Light Reading
including #Munich-based KONUX


We talked about the startup before: Sono Motors
They radically changed their financing strategy and raised in 30 days 30 mn Euros in crowdfunding, albeit short of their 50 mn goal Update from January 29th: They reached beyond 53,3 mn Euros in 50 days to build der all electric car sion according to their website.


Germany’s Sono Motors Crowdfunds $60 Million To Build Sion EV | Carscoops 




N26 reaches 5 mn customers, doubling their clients within one year  — BUT there is no definition given, what constitutes a customer for their statistics. It is yet unclear if the counted clients even have an account at N26 – Business Insider Germany 


Company Builder Merantix raises 25 mn Euros VC fund to build six to eight #AI startups. Investors include Trusted Insight, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation They call themselves an „AI Venture Studio“

Two ideas already launched breast cancer screening software Vara and Siasearch, working on sensors for the automotive industry.


McMakler, the German real estate platform, brokered deals in 2019 worth more than 1,25 bn Euros (1,38 bn US$) 


German fintech Raisin makes first move into US market they broker deposits from retail investors to banks participating on their platform.

Find our interview with the founder here:


#NewYork-based #hedgefund Coatue invests 30 mn US$ in #Berlin-based #startup Choco. The startup offers an app for restaurant owners to order from wholesalers 

Bessemer Venture Partners, Base10, Target Global, Greyhound Capital, Eric Wahlforss, Ruchi Sanghvi, Aditya Agarwal, Daniel Graf, Lukasz Gadowski und Sebastian Pollok invested already 30 m Euro in the transactional messenger service. 


How virtual ‘cloud’ kitchens gained steam in 2019 also formerly known as ghost kitchens
Virtual kitchens are essentially strategically placed kitchens that specialize in delivery only — no walk-in or sit-down customers allowed. The general idea is that restaurants can expand their footprint into high-demand areas with minimal upfront investment and lower overhead, given that prime real estate is not required. Virtual kitchens can also allow existing restaurants to experiment with bespoke menus and offer new items without impacting their existing brand. To reach customers, these businesses usually lean on transport infrastructure provided by the likes of Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Postmates, GrubHub, DoorDash, and Caviar.


Berlin-based event platform “Ask Helmut” is insolvent, since a funding round fell through, takeover by a Cologne based competitor is already intended 


German #blockchain startup Finoa raises seed round | @PitchBook
Berlin-based Finoa has closed a multimillion-euro seed round, co-led by Venture Stars and Coparion. Signature Ventures also participated. Set up in 2018, Finoa provides institutional investors with custody solutions for digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. The startup currently serves over 60 professional investors.


Lightspeed POS buys Berlin-based startup Gastrofix to soldify its European presence in 2020 for upward of 164 mn US$ | @SiliconCanals


Insurance Software Company Sapiens Acquires German Startup Sum.cumo for $32 Million


Stay ahead of the curve 


Austrian #payment #fintech Bluecode raises 12 mn Euros #VentureCapital from three family offices

#Austria #fintech #startup #startups 


Swiss cyber protection giant Acronis acquires US-based 5nine to continue global growth –

#Switzerland #US #USA #cyber #CyberSecurity #CyberSec 


Blacklane is on the road to building a profitable on-demand transportation platform – TechCrunch

#Berlin #startup #TechNews #startups #Mobility