This Month in German Startups – March 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 recordings and the articles we are quoting from there. Some of the source articles are in English, some are in German.



Reach out to us, here is our audience survey, to give us feedback, suggest topics, interview partners or just to say “Hallo!”


Find the hosts here:

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

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

Note that Chris decided to stay in New York to be able to report from there, which is the epicenter of the US corona outbrake! Thank you for that!


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:

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No bragging this time.

Now there is


Coronavirus / Covid19

We will bring you weekly short updates, called Corona Flash. This is meant to keep you updated on the most recent developments, relevant for startups.


German Government in Talks With Startups on Survival Package – Bloomberg


Covid19 response by the German Government
50 bn € aid for freelancers and SMEs
400 bn € guarantees and 100 bn € for equity stakes
100 bn € for liquidity aid via KfW


 Important Knowledge Sources for Startups on Covid19 and policy responses

The first victims of #Covid19 in Germany are Maredo (a chain of steakhouses), as well as Vapiano, who both have to file for insolvency. We are afraid there will be more …


Keep in mind, there are many people out there looking for help AND THERE WILL BE SCAMMERS, so validate your sources, start from associations and government pages. Be wary of potential scams. 


This video is set to go live on Thursday, March 26th 16.00 CET (11 am EDT (New York, Boston), 15.00 GMT (London))


Looking beyond the #coronavirus scare: It may have set in motion a boom for delivery robots, for food and parcels


What Coronavirus Could Mean for the Global Economy

Yet, a closer look reveals that a recession should not be seen as a foregone conclusion. 


There is no doubt that financial markets now ascribe significant disruptive potential to Covid-19, and those risks are real. But the variations in asset valuations underline the significant uncertainty surrounding this epidemic, and history cautions us against drawing a straight line between financial market sell-offs and the real economy. …”
Bottom line: You should have everything from a long recession to a V-shaped recovery in your planning scenarios!


What happens when VCs go out fundraising | Sifted

“It’s a pretty humbling experience, several VCs told me. The ratio of limited partners (LPs) to VC general partners (GPs) is around 1:4, which means there are far more VCs hunting for cash than people prepared to offer it to them. (The ratio of women to men is about as bad.)


This year, the odds of success were made worse by coronavirus; many VCs had several meetings cancelled by LPs who’d decided not to fly over. Hand sanitiser was scattered liberally around the conference, and some VCs adopted fist bumps instead of handshakes to keep on the safe side. …”


Funding in the Time of Coronavirus by Mark Suster, now VC at Upfront Ventures (LA)

“A $40m pre-money deal today ma fund at $20m pre-money in 6 months even if the financial performance hasn’t changed. …

While nobody knows for sure what will happen, I think coronavirus is more likely to be seen as a “Black Swan” event (like 9/11) where the world will be very different as a result.”


The #Coronavirus Outbreak Has Erased Nearly $460B Of Big Tech’s Market Cap | CB Insights Research



#Frankfurt / Rhine-Main


  • This German biotech startup that’s working on a coronavirus cure has captured the world’s attention
    • Related: CureVac’s Ingmar Hoerr tells us why he returned to take on a pandemic; NGM loses a president
  • Fosun and BioNTech launch $135m vaccine hunt for coronavirus
  •  You can find here an overview of how #startups from #Hesse help to combat #Covid19 – Technologieland Hessen


#Drones in RheinMain

  • Bruchsal-based Volocopter extends its Series C to €87 million to pioneer air taxi services | EU-Startups
  • Drone startup Wingcopter secures a further seven-digit investment from Corecam


Being a fintech CEO is good, at least if you are in Frankfurt

Some of the C-Level employees of the startups are earning 500.000 Euros or more a year, according to their annual reports. Note that this salary is not outrageous compared to the position the people could hold elsewhere, especially in Frankfurt.

Take for example here the list of what startups in the US pay their CEOs. Some upward of 4 million USD a year (in one case even beyond 100 mn USD) The whole discussion was started because one CEO in Berlin earned more than 130.000 Euros a year. This seems to be a very German discussion.


Iwoca, with German headquarters in Frankfurt, raises 100 mn Euros to hand out as credit in Germany to its clients | FinanceFWD  it could be a test for a much larger investment


#Savedroid Saga

#Frankfurt-based Savedroid wins court ruling and share price rises, is this the first sign of a turn around asks FinanceFWD


Meet #Frankfurt-based capheniatec, they are all about carbon-neutral synthetic fuels



Cioplenu, the #SaaS for ‘deskless’ workers on the production floor, raises €4.2M seed


More to the south: Munich

Do you know the startup Fraundorfer Aeronautics, from Munich? They are developing a helicopter with fuel cells

Munich-based #airtaxi startup Lilium raises 224 mn Euro VentureCapital



Funding Circle’s losses grow to £84.2m amid European layoffs “A significant factor was a £34.3m “non-cash exceptional write-down” of goodwill and intangible assets in Germany and the Netherlands” Keep in mind, they bought Berlin based Rocket Internet startup Zencap.


Do you know these seven startups from #Germany? They all raised beyond 10 mn Euros #VentureCapital

Lanes & Planes (10 mn US$)

Limehome (21 mn Euros)

Mister Spex (15 mn Euros recently, 65 mn € before)

Sanity Group (20 mn Euros)

Soundcloud (75 mn US$, more than 542 mn US$ according to Crunchbase)

Tier Mobility (Series B extended to beyond 100 mn US$)

Volocopter (Series C recently extended to 87 mn Euros)



Hellofresh ascents from small caps (SDAX) to medium caps index (MDAX)
They used to be a Rocket Internet startup, but Rocket sold their 29% stake in 2019 (we talked about it


HelloFresh now has 3 mn customers and stopped burning cash in 2019. They want to grow to 2,2 bn € (+22%) revenue, focusing on profit via Exciting Commerce


Does it smell good here? 🙂

Online perfumery Flaconi is growing 48% and misses the 200 mn Euro mark. Exciting has a great overview of the tough competition between pure online players and brick and mortar retailers (Douglas)

#Scooter wars

#New Funding Sources:

  • Target Global launches €120 million Early-Stage Fund II to back tech founders across Europe | EU-Startups
  • #Zurich-based #VentureCapital investor Lakestar raises $735 mln for Europe bets “will invest one-third of the commitments to its Early Stage fund and two thirds to its Growth Stage fund ”
  • RTP Global (known for investments like Delivery Hero) announcing new €581M early-stage fund to back tech startups | Silicon Canals


#Unicorn watch

  • N26 raises fees, in some cases whopping 66 percent
    • Customer blunders and tensions at the top – behind N26’s failed UK expansion | Sifted
  • #Munich based #ecommerce startup Westwing reshuffles its management, CFO is out and the CEO (and founder) takes 6 month maternal leave the company ipo’d in October 2018 for 23 Euros a share, currently it is trading barely above 3 Euros.


#CVC Watch – Fintechs

Want to know where Deutsche Bank invests in #fintechs? Look here:

  • TrustBills
  • dwins
  • vermietet
  • ImmoBeratung
  • Deposit Solution



  • VC arm of German TV station ProSiebenSat1 and General Atlantic buy (as expected) with their joint venture NuCom Group – The Meet Group, an online dating and social entertainment company
  • Former CFO of online sex shop Amorelie build #Berlin-based sex toy company Wow Tech and sold it to PE fund CDH from Singapur #TechNews #startup #startups #startupnews #entrepreneur #business #TechnologyNews


Stay ahead of the curve

The impact of COVID-19 on investment management | Deloitte Insights

Impact of COVID-19 on insurers | Deloitte Insights

Banking and capital markets: Implications of COVID-19 | Deloitte Insights