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This Month in German, Swiss, and Austrian (GSA) Startups - June 2024 |

Welcome to our June 2024 wrap-up with vital news from the startup and tech entrepreneurship scenes in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in 30 minutes or less 🙂. 

Our startup news is recorded with Chris, in New York city. Joe is joining from Frankfurt.

Today's news cut is June 25th. As always, all news not included will be in our next news wrap-up. 

Our Highlights:

In this month’s roundup of the GSA/DACH business and tech sectors, we've seen an array of significant movements that are shaping the landscape.

Check24 has arguably launched the most ambitious marketing campaign of the year in Germany, distributing 5 million free football jerseys from Puma, tapping into the enthusiasm of the Euro Cup and contrasting sharply with Adidas' official team gear. This initiative, estimated to cost around €100 million, has sparked a vibrant online discourse and driven app downloads, despite privacy concerns.

In aviation, Lilium is seeking €300M in government aid to push forward with its "Lilium Jet."

The insurtech scene is also buzzing with news of WeFox, where internal strife could lead to a dramatic revaluation, far below its previous $4.5 billion high. Meanwhile, Clark is preparing for a significant funding round under new leadership, aiming to expand its reach and profitability. And on a larger scale, Amazon has announced an additional €10 billion investment in Germany, targeting cloud data storage and logistics, emphasizing the growing importance of digital infrastructure in the region. As the regional startup ecosystem continues to evolve rapidly, fueled by substantial investments and strategic shifts. 

In a significant leap for German tech innovation, DeepL has now clinched the title of Germany’s most valuable AI startup with a staggering $2 billion valuation, eclipsing Aleph Alpha following a robust $300 million investment. Meanwhile, Black Semiconductor is injecting a hefty €254.4 million into Europe's semiconductor industry, with plans to establish a state-of-the-art pilot facility in Aachen by 2026. Not to be outdone, Cognigy from Düsseldorf has garnered $100 million to enhance AI-driven customer service automation, supported by brands such as Lufthansa, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz.

In the mobility sector, Flix is considering a shift in strategy with potential private equity investment from EQT that could see the latter acquiring a 30% stake, possibly altering Flix's path to a public offering. 

Let's talk startups.


Our news take a summer break and we will be back with the summer news wrap-up on September 2nd 2024 (Labor Day in the US).

We are still not sure about the number of publications we will have this summer, since the requests are piling up. We would assume every other week, with the potential to have weekly publications. This promises to be a really hot summer. 

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Our Enablers

This recording is supported by HTAI and the Enterprise Europe Network Hessen

This recording was made possible by HTAI and the Enterprise Europe Network Hessen. These organizations have made tremendous contributions to helping startup businesses succeed and thrive, providing a range of services from helping to find grants to ongoing partnerships. By taking advantage of these resources, startup companies can network and develop innovative strategies for success on the international stage. The dedicated support of HTAI and the Enterprise Europe Network Hessen is paramount in providing startup businesses with the tools for lasting success. Look for our dedicated sub-podcast in partnership with them: Tech Startups Germany on our 

Top News

Did Check 24 just accomplish the biggest marketing campaign in Germany this year? 

Check24 has made waves with its latest marketing campaign, distributing 5 million free Germany jerseys from Puma ahead of the European Championship. This bold move, estimated to cost around €100 million, aims to tap into the football market and attract a younger audience. The jerseys, which have flooded fan zones and social media, contrast sharply with the official DFB team jerseys made by Adidas. Check24 founder Henrich Blase sees this as a long-term investment in the brand, despite criticism from consumer advocates who warn about data privacy. The campaign has not only boosted app downloads but also sparked discussions and memes online. While some applaud the innovative approach, others question the true cost of the "free" jerseys. More info: 

eVTOL Air Taxis Still in the News

Remember, we just talked in the last news about Volocopter, missing their self imposed deadline of flying during the Paris Olympics and their failure to secure more than 50 M€ state guarantees? 

Lilium, the Bavarian eVTOL developer, is seeking €300M in government aid to bridge financing gaps for its "Lilium Jet." Meanwhile, competitor Volocopter is also vying for funding. First manned flight expected this year! Details:  This news after last months 150 M€ funding (we covered this last month)

WeFox Suffers From Internal Power Struggle - With A Potential 4 bn US$ Valuation Drop

There seems to be a power struggle at WeFox, as always the company as a whole is suffering. This is what we know, according to several articles in newspapers and blogs:

Mubadala, an important investor at WeFox pushes for a sale to UK's Ardonagh, valuing the Berlin-based insurtech at €550M—far below last valuation (reported by TechCrunch to be 4.5 bn US$ in May 2023). Other investors prefer injecting fresh capital. Decision time looms: 

Blog Finance Forward writes about a power struggle between the founders and new CEO Mark Hartigan. They write the founders want to avoid him getting elected for the board of directors: 

The blog Das Investment wraps it up neatly: Mubadala investment would profit from a sale. The valuation has dropped considerably. Founders and some investors want a new start, because - according to Bloomberg - the founders would end up empty handed in a sale to Ardonagh. Mubadala would profit most from a divestiture. The future depends on the elections of the next supervisory board. We keep you updated

In Contrast The Situation at Clark

Christopher Oster is transitioning from his operational role at to join the supervisory board. His leadership has been pivotal, and we’re excited to see the impact he'll make in his new role. Congrats, Christopher! 🎉Read more: LinkedIn UpdateYou can learn more about him along his journey in our two interviews with him over time.

Insurance startup Clark is gearing up for a massive €100M funding round under new CEO Benedikt Kalteier. With plans for expansion and increased profits, Clark is set to make waves in the industry! More details:   

You can learn more about Christopher here in our interview: 

After Announcing 7.8 bn € Investment Last Month - Amazon Announces 10 bn € additional investments

Amazon to invest €10B more in Germany, focusing on cloud data storage in the Rhein-Main area and expanding its logistics network. This brings Amazon's total investment in Germany to €17.8B, announced this year alone. More details: 

Note: Both investments are focusing on building more or less their infrastructure in Germany. 

DeepL Is Now Germany’s Most Valuable AI Startup

🚀 DeepL hits a $2B valuation, becoming Germany’s most valuable AI startup, surpassing Aleph Alpha with a $300M investment! 🇩🇪🤖 #TechNews #AI #DeepL

More than 250 M€ for Black Semiconductor 

Germany's Black Semiconductor secures a massive €254.4M in Series A funding to boost Europe's semiconductor industry. They're set to open a cutting-edge pilot facility in Aachen by 2026!

Cognigy from Düsseldorf raises $100M

Cognigy raises $100M to supercharge AI customer service automation! Led by Eurazeo Growth, this Series C funding will fuel R&D and global expansion. Brands like Lufthansa, Toyota, & Mercedes-Benz already rely on Cognigy #AI #CustomerService 

Flix Considers Private Equity Investment

🚌💼 Big moves in mobility! Investor EQT is in early talks to potentially acquire a 30% stake in Flix, the powerhouse behind Flixbus & Flixtrain, possibly replacing or delaying a planned IPO. 

Housekeeping & Time to Brag 

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  • Metaverse and AR/VR investments are cooling off! Despite Apple's Vision Pro launch, VCs are losing interest. 2024 is on track for the lowest funding in years for these technologies. Full story: 



  • The ifo Business Climate Index for Germany dropped to 88.6 in June from 89.3 (May), reflecting growing pessimism. Current situation assessments stayed unchanged. The German economy struggles to overcome stagnation. More details:  


Here we want to highlight some hidden gems and cities of general startup interest. 

Frankfurt - Rhein/Main

  • Keep the Clark news in mind


Note: Keep in mind that we moved the fundraisings from Austria and Switzerland to the respective section towards the end of the news.  


  • Scoop: EdTech unicorn GoStudent is behind the "comparison site", funneling leads to their tutoring services. The site is being redesigned for better transparency. Full story:

  • Austria is set to launch 3 new Business Angel consortia, boosting early-stage startup investments with €10M from the Start-up Invest – Boosting Scaling Potentials program. Exciting times ahead for Austrian startups! More info: 


  • FINMA has initiated bankruptcy proceedings against FlowBank SA due to insufficient capital and over-indebtedness. The Swiss bank's license was revoked, and deposits up to CHF 100,000 will be repaid to clients. More details: 

General News / Tech News / Companies News Section 

New Funds, in case you are looking for money (also only a selection):

  • Forbion (with offices including in Munich) announces the first close of its BioEconomy Fund I at €75M, aiming for €150M. The fund will invest in innovative biotech companies across food, agriculture, materials, and environmental tech:

  • Porsche and CICC launch a venture capital fund to invest in Chinese automotive startups! This collaboration aims to drive innovation and strengthen early-stage investments in China’s dynamic market. Read more:  

Green Tech News

  • "We didn't make it." Waldemar Zeiler announces the temporary end of Zweihorn Energy despite six-figure crowdfunding. Challenges included legal issues, market complexity, customer adoption barriers: 

Fintech News

  • "Only 1 in 5 Fintech founders would start again in Germany" due to excessive bureaucracy & insufficient venture capital. Fintechs wait 2 years for Bafin approval. The coalition's efforts receive a grade of "sufficient": 

  • Auto1's Fintech subsidiary Mobyfin has officially failed. A bitter shareholder dispute and mismanagement led to its downfall, despite initial high hopes. The project has turned into a multi million-euro loss:

  • Two News concerning Trade Republic

  • Trade Republic ends its partnership with Solaris, opting for established banks like Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, HSBC, and Citi. The neobroker now entrusts customer funds to these major banks. More details: 

  • Trade Republic experienced problems with paying dividends for shares their customers hold in their portfolio with TR

General News 

Schumpeters Schöpferische Zerstörung ⇒ Creative Destruction Still Ongoing: 

End on a High Note: Successful Fundraisings and Exits: 

Keep in mind this is a small selection. The news here and their total value show how resilient the startup scene is. We included only selected fundraisings above 5 million Euros or USD. This month, there were so many announcements that we could not include ALL funds raised. We will only bring you highlights here. 

  • Yes, it is a lot of money, but since biotech is not our main focus, the news ended up here:  ITM from Garching raises €188M! This Munich-based radiopharmaceutical biotech aims to advance its precision therapeutics for hard-to-treat tumors and expand manufacturing capabilities. More info:

  • Isar Aerospace secures an additional €65M in funding, raising its Series C to €220M! The Munich-based startup, backed by NATO Innovation Fund, aims to launch its Spectrum rocket this year:

  • Also good news, Isar Aerospace secures in addition a €18.5M growth loan to gear up for rocket production! This investment from California's Atel Ventures will fuel their mission to launch small to medium-sized satellites to enhance connectivity

  • M^0 raises $35M in Series A funding! The Zug-based decentralized infrastructure layer for cryptodollar issuance plans to expand operations and development. Led by Bain Capital Crypto. More info:

  • re:cap raises $14.6M in Series A funding led by Entrée Capital! The financing and data insights platform will expand operations and business reach in Germany and the Netherlands. More info:

  • DeepJudge, an AI-driven legal search startup, raises $10.7M in seed funding led by Coatue! Funds will support expansion and team growth to meet customer demands. Exciting times ahead for legal tech! More info:

  • ARX Robotics secures €9M in funding to revolutionize autonomous ground systems! Backed by NATO Innovation Fund and top investors, this startup aims to boost military and civilian applications with scalable, modular robots:

  • Restate raises $7M in seed funding led by Redpoint Ventures! Founded by Apache Flink's co-creator, Restate simplifies building distributed applications with its innovative workflows-as-code. More info:

  • atmio, a Hamburg-based startup, raises €5.1M in seed funding to combat methane emissions! Led by Notion Capital, this round will fuel product development and team expansion. Big moves for climate tech! 

  • Ethris, a Munich-based biotech, secured $5M from the Gates Foundation to advance RNA therapeutics & vaccines. With this boost, they're fast-tracking ETH47, an inhaled mRNA candidate for respiratory diseases.

  • Small investment, but still noteworthy: Quick Save for Compeon! The Düsseldorf-based B2B financial marketplace avoided insolvency thanks to a swift investment from two shareholders, injecting up to €1M! 💶 Just weeks after its parent company, Dock Financial, went bankrupt. Read more: 

  • Fundraises from Switzerland:

  • Neural Concept raises $27M in Series B ! The Lausanne-based 3D Deep Learning platform for product engineering aims to accelerate global growth and meet customer demand in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the US. More info:

  • Swiss blockchain firm Lykke loses $22M in a major cyberattack. Despite the breach, the company assures customers that their funds are safe and will be reimbursed. More details: 

  • Fundraises from Austria:

  • We did not find any here.

We will be back on September 2nd with the next news episode and the next regular episode will go live next week.  

Stay Ahead of the Curve

  • The news have been long enough already 😃    


We are always looking for ways to make the show better. Please take this opportunity and share your feedback with us! We would love to hear from YOU!!!

The Hosts

The news are co-hosted by Jörn “Joe” Menninger, startup scout, founder, and host of And Christian “Chris' ' Fahrenbach, co-founder, freelance reporter, lecturer, author and blogger . Reach out to them:

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