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This Month in German, Swiss, and Austrian (GSA) Startups — March 2024

New Blog

This blog post first appeared first on old medium publication (, and was moved to this blog with the relaunch of our website in summer 2024.


Welcome to our March 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 and Joe in Frankfurt. Recording date is March 25th 2024 and all news not included will be in our next news to be released on April 25th 2024.

Happy Easter!

Today we publish on Holy Thursday (Gründonnerstag) in Germany. Note that the Friday before and Monday after Easter are public holidays. Many people will take off around the holidays. So don’t expect your calls to be returned promptly during this time.

A Seismic Shift in the Regional Startup Scene

You are witnessing a seismic shift in the GSA startup scene with us here and today. The headlines of our startup news used to be dominated by fintech funding. Now we have more than 7 billion € investments in green startups (battery, renewable energy) vs. “only” around 150 million in fintech funding in different forms. This is surely a foretaste of what’s to come.

Our Highlights:

The European energy landscape is witnessing significant developments with key investments across sectors.

Northvolt’s Gigafactory in Northern Germany, backed by €900 million in subsidies and a €4.5 billion investment, aims to produce 1 million car batteries annually, driving electric vehicle adoption and job creation.

Enpal secured €1.1 billion in refinancing commitments, while Sunfire raised over €500 million, bolstering Europe’s green hydrogen economy.

ENVIRIA secured $200 million in capital from BlackRock, signaling confidence in the solar sector.

Solaris Bank secured €96 million in funding but faced a €6.5 million fine from BaFin, reflecting fintech regulatory challenges.

Magic gained traction with open AI’s and Tesla’s former Andrej Karpathy as investor, and Bitpanda established a €50 million VC fund for blockchain startups. However, the startup community grapples with stress, with nearly half considering quitting, underscoring the toll of rapid innovation.

Let’s talk startups:

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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

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Top News

Northvolt Groundbreaking Ceremony for their Gigafactory

Starts with the construction of their Gigafactory in the North of Germany. Even Chancellor Scholz attended the groundbreaking ceremony. 900 M € subsidies will be invested, 700 M from the state of Schleswig-Holstein and 200 M guaranteed. The Swedish company wants to produce up to 1 million car batteries a year, for electric vehicles, employing up to 3.000 people. The company itself will invest 4,5 BN Euros (4.88 BN US$).

Enpal Secures 1.1 BN €

Enpal secures € 1.1 billion in refinancing commitments for German residential solar and heat pump securitizations

Sunfire Raises 500 M € in Funding

Sunfire, a Dresden, Germany-based electrolyzer manufacturer, secured more than EUR 500m in funding.

From another source: Sunfire raises over €500M to boost European’s green hydrogen economy

200 M Euros for Frankfurt-based ENVIRIA

Germany’s Leading Commercial and Industrial Solar Company — Secures Capital Commitment of Over USD 200 Million From BlackRock

From another source: German renewables firm Enviria secures $200 mln Blackrock capital commitment

Good News and Bad News for Solaris Bank

Solaris Raises €96M in Funding The funding was led by Softbank International and other existing investors. The funding is for the expansion of the ADAC credit card program. ADAC is Germany’s and Europe’s largest automobile association, with more than 21 M members, best known for their yellow cars providing roadside assistance.

Bafin fines German fintech Solaris SE €6.5M for late filing systematic anti money laundry reports Direkt to BaFin:

Austrian AI Startup Magic Gets Famous Investor on Board

Andrej Karpathy was a founding member of OpenAI, and head of AI for Tesla. He left there to focus on other projects. One of them seems to invest on the Vienna-based AI startup Magic

Bitpanda Set Up their Own VC Fund

Bitpanda announce that they have set up their own first VC fund together with other investors totalling 50 M Euros, to invest in 250k — 2M in startups in the digital assets, blockchain and crypto space:

Bitpanda also liquidates a subsidiary: BP 22 Pfandleihe GmbH, their pawn shop:

Founders are Feeling the Stress

49% of founders say they’re considering quitting their startup this year Startup founders tell Sifted they’re “overworked”, “exhausted” and “broken”

Housekeeping & Time to Brag — Celebrating one Million Inventory in a Quarter! has reached a massive milestone. We have surpassed more than 1 Million inventory in Q4 2023. Thank you to all of you who made this possible! Our hosting service changed their setup and enabled us to look up all the statistics and it turned out we had 1.071.970 downloads in October, November, and December last year. It really feels AMAZING!

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  • UnternehmerTUM tops ranking of Europe’s leading startup hubs Learn more in our interview:

  • Top 100 Next Unicorns: 14 “Soonicorns” on the list are from Germany 22 from the UK, and France has 21 on the list, Austria only one. In total 16 countries had entries on the list. Switzerland was not mentioned.

From Germany, those startups are:


  • Good news on the economic indicators: ifo Business Climate Index rises (March 2024): Sentiment in German companies has improved noticeably

  • Are you curious about what kind of startups the investors are funding in Berlin? According to a Deal Room analysis, startups are receiving investments, from largest to smallest: Energy, Fintech, Food, Health, Real Estate, Marketing, Travel and more …

  • Invest subsidy: German Ministry of Economic Affairs cuts support for Business Angels

  • Deputy Chancellor Robert Habeck dissolves Startup Advisory Board, sparking criticism from the opposition


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

Frankfurt — Rhein/Main


  • Biotech Affimed (NASDAQ listed) is on the hunt for a new CEO to navigate through crucial times. With significant clinical trial data on the horizon, the recent departure of the CEO and a 1:10 stock split, the journey ahead is filled with anticipation. Stay tuned for updates:



  • Assemblio, a Stuttgart, Germany-based provider of a software platform to plan assembly and generate automatic assistance systems for production, raised €2.1M in Seed funding.

Ostfildern (Just 10 KM South-East of Stuttgart)

  • ProteinDistillery, an Ostfildern, Germany-based plant-based food company, raised €15M in Seed funding.




  • Greenlyte Carbon Technologies, an Essen, Germany-based direct air capture startup, raised €10.5M in Pre-Series A funding.


  • Fretello, the startup, undergoes restructuring with Berthold Baurek-Karlic stepping in as the new Interim CEO

  • Keep in mind the news from Magic and Bitpanda from before.

  • Zizoo: Vienna-based yacht scaleup rescued through acquisition after bankruptcy

  • Solas Capital commits up to 30 million euros in energy projects for the scale-up neeom


  • Edtech Avallain acquires AI toolset TeacherMatic

  • Biotech food startup Cultivated Biosciences bags €4.6M to improve dairy-free products: Here’s how — BeBeez International

  • Aktiia, a Neuchâtel, Switzerland-based HealthTech company providing optical blood pressure monitoring devices, raised USD 30M in funding

  • Validation Cloud, a Zug, Switzerland-based Web3 technology company, raised $5.8M in Inaugural funding

  • Argá Medtech, a Lausanne, Switzerland-based company providing a cardiac ablation system for treating cardiac arrhythmias, raised €54M in Series B funding

  • Dutch revenue-based financing startup Levenue acquires Zurich fintech MidFunder

General News / Tech News / Companies News Section

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

  • Verdane, an Oslo, Norway-based growth investment firm, closed Verdane Edda III, at €1.1 Billion. Verdane will continue to invest thematically in European companies that help digitize and decarbonize the economy

  • Berlin-based World Fund will provide €300M to climate tech founders over the next few years, making its fund the largest climate-dedicated pool the continent has seen yet.

  • Alpine Space Ventures secured a whopping €10 million from NATO’s Innovation Fund, adding to their impressive €60 million from EIF last year. Learn more:

  • Berlin’s Web3 First Time Fund secures over €10 million in Second-Closing: A strong signal for the new content-driven VC generation

Fintech News

  • Payment card: Trade Republic issues cease and desist declaration and adjusts advertising, after being sued by a consumer advocate group (Verbraucherzentrale)

  • WeFox CEO Julian Teicke steps down from his position

  • Credit platform Smava — known for their annoying TV commercials — is looking for a buyer:

General News

Schumpeters Schöpferische Zerstörung ⇒ Creative Destruction Still Ongoing:

  • Not really an insolvency, but still bad news and related to the insolvency from Sono Motors: Prosecutors investigate Sono Motors’ solar car pioneers over suspicion of deceiving state grants

  • Finabro had to file for insolvency. No investor could be found and so the company will be liquidated

  • ExpressSteuer: All employees now forced to leave — Founder resurfaces for the first time since filing for insolvency

  • Thrasio started out as an Amazon shop aggregator, but now has to file for insolvency

  • Twinner, an automotive startup from Halle raised 92 M € in total, but has to shut down:

  • Berlin based online advertising company Plista surprised all by shutting down. employees have been called in an all hands meeting and told the company will shut down immediately:

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.

  • Tubulis, a Munich, Germany-based oncology company, closed an upsized €128m ($138.8m) Series B2 financing

  • Dryad Networks, a Berlin, Germany-based ultra-early wildfire detection technology company, announced the initial closing of €5.6M in convertible financing, with a total round size of up to €10M

  • Daato secures 5 million euros in seed financing round

  • Razor Group, a Berlin, Germany-based technology-driven e-commerce company, raised an undisclosed amount in Series D funding.

We will be back on April 25th with the next news episode and the next regular episode will go live next week.

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate it! Happy Eid, only a few days left.

Stay Ahead of the Curve


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:

Chris on LinkedIn

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