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

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Welcome to our May 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, back in New York city. Joe is joining from Frankfurt.

Today's news cut is May 16th due to Whit Monday and travel plans. As always, all news not included will be in our next news wrap-up. 


We will have another news episode coming up on June 27th. Then we will be back with a summer wrap-up published on Labor Day (September 2nd).  

In between we will have a bit lighter summer program, but we are not sure yet how it will look. We do have a lot of requests, so we may do more publications than every other week - like we have done in the past for July and August. 

Our Highlights:

Guys, it really feels like the startup scene is roaring back in GSA, with more large investments, but we also see signs of life in the very early stages.  Now would be a good time to grab a drink and a snack, these news are full of positive news and longer than normal:

For this news wrap-up alone, we found new VC funds raised worth more than 7,5 bn US$

Germany is at a crossroads with its pioneering air taxi startups, Lilium and Volocopter. As domestic debate over state support intensifies, France extends a welcoming hand with offers of subsidies and guarantees. Lilium is in advanced talks with the French government to potentially expand its operations there, revealing these plans at the "Choose France" summit hosted by President Macron. Meanwhile, Volocopter faces uncertainty, with stalled certification potentially limiting its role in the upcoming Paris Olympics and considerations of relocating abroad due to financial struggles. The situation underscores Germany's risk of losing its edge in this innovative sector to more supportive foreign governments.

Amazon's bold €7.8 billion investment in Brandenburg to develop a purely European cloud storage infrastructure underscores its unwavering commitment to data sovereignty, even amidst leadership changes at AWS. Meanwhile, WeFox, once a beacon of insurtech innovation, faces valuation setbacks amid growth challenges. On a brighter note, the fight against Alzheimer's gets a substantial boost as Takeda partners with Swiss firm AC Immune in a deal potentially exceeding $2 billion. Despite significant Q1 losses and a dip in stock value, Biontech remains resolute, advancing its oncology pipeline and preparing for a renewed push in COVID vaccine demand later in the year.

Let's talk startups:

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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

Will German Air Taxis Fly? Get State Funding or Move to Another Country?

Germany debates support for Lilium and Volocopter while France extends a hand with subsidies and guarantees. Lilium in advanced talks with the French govt for expansion plans & potential financial aid. Read more:

“In Germany, a debate ensues between federal and state authorities regarding support for the air taxi startups Lilium and Volocopter. However, France's government has stepped in, offering subsidies and guarantees to attract these companies. Lilium, a German aviation startup, is now in advanced discussions with the French government regarding plans to expand its production capacity in France and potential state subsidies and credit guarantees. The exact amount of support has not been disclosed. This development was announced by Lilium during the "Choose France" economic summit, aimed at attracting foreign investors, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. The summit, attended by 180 business leaders and top executives worldwide, took place at the Versailles Palace, with Macron delivering a speech at a gala dinner. Notably, while Lilium's CEO Klaus Roewe attended the event, competitor Volocopter from Bruchsal was absent from the participant list. Volocopter had aimed to commercially transport passengers in Europe for the first time during the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris but is likely restricted to demonstration flights due to pending certification issues.” 

  • Related: Luftfahrt: Lilium darf auf Staatshilfe aus Frankreich hoffen 

  • Will @volocopter take flight at #Paris2024 Olympics? Plans for regular air service increasingly uncertain. Despite ambitions, Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke acknowledges challenges: #aviation #innovation

  • Related: Flugtaxipionier Volocopter droht mit Abwanderung ins Ausland 

  • Germany risks losing a pioneering technology as Volocopter, the flying taxi innovator, considers relocating abroad due to failed negotiations for financial support. While China & the US thrive, Deutschland risks losing its edge. Read more: #Volocopter #FutureTech

  • Volocopter warns of insolvency without state aid. Politicians in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg clash over a 50-million-euro guarantee. The company urgently needs fresh funds to continue its innovative work.: #Volocopter #StateAid #Innovation Volocopter warns of a potential insolvency if the government does not intervene 

  • Exciting news from Lilium N.V.! The company secures $150 million in funding from Yorkville Advisors Global LP. Learn more about the Standby Equity Purchase Agreement here: 

Amazon to Invest more than 7.5 bn Euros in Brandenburg

Amazon's Cloud division invests €7.8 billion in Brandenburg to establish purely European storage capacities. Despite the departure of its current chief, AWS remains committed to building a sovereign European cloud:  

WeFox Valuation Takes a Hit

Investor devalues stake in @wefoxHQ. Once hailed to revolutionize insurance, wefox now faces valuation woes amid growth challenges. Read more:  #Insurtech #Startup #Investment

Swiss firm AC Gets 100 M (and up to 2BN) US$ to Fight Alzheimer's Disease

Big news in Alzheimer's research! Japanese giant Takeda teams up with Swiss firm AC Immune in a billion-dollar deal to tackle the disease. With an upfront payment of $100M, and the potential for the deal to soar beyond $2B: 

🔬 Biontech Advances Cancer Drug Development Amid €318 Million Loss

Facing significant research costs and a decline in revenues from the COVID-19 era, Biontech founders Ugur Sahin and Özlem Tureci began the year with a loss. Despite this, Biontech remains committed to its annual objectives, albeit with its stock under pressure.

The shattered COVID-19 business and increased research costs led the Mainz-based biotech company Biontech to incur a loss in the first quarter. From January to March, the company reported a net loss of €315 million compared to a profit of over €502 million a year ago. 

As a result, Biontech's stock fell by around 5 percent to €82. In autumn 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stock had been priced at around €300.

However, the management anticipates that Biontech will generate approximately 90 percent of its annual revenue in the final months of 2024 due to seasonal demand for COVID vaccines. The company maintains its annual revenue projection of €2.5 to €3.1 billion for the year.

Research costs surge by over 50 percent

Last year, Biontech already felt the impact of declining demand for COVID vaccines and the end of the pandemic, resulting in significant declines in revenue and profit. Biontech is now focusing on the development of its cancer drugs and aims to bring its first drug to market by 2026, as reiterated by its executives. Research and development costs soared by almost 52 percent to €507.5 million in the first quarter.

"We have initiated the year with good progress in our oncology pipeline. We have treated the first patient in our second pivotal Phase 3 trial and aim to have ten or more potentially pivotal trials in the pipeline by the end of 2024," said CFO Jens Holstein.

€16 billion financial cushion

Biontech plans to spend between €2.4 billion and €2.6 billion on research and development this year. With a financial cushion of €16.9 billion, the company is well positioned for this purpose, according to Holstein. The company is also working on an updated, variant-adapted COVID vaccine, expected to be launched for the 2024 vaccination season.

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  • Likely a good sign for all VC investors globally: Japan's SoftBank Group reports a quarterly profit turnaround, signaling resilience in the face of challenges. Despite investment loss, the tech investor remains pivotal in the German startup scene. Read more: 


  • Government funding emerged as a major player in European VC in 2023, doubling its share over the previous year. Amid geopolitical tensions, Europe strengthens its tech sovereignty with sizable investments in AI, quantum, biotech, and climate tech:  

  • 📊 Insights from PitchBook's Q1 2024 European Venture report reveal a mixed Q1 with robust deal activity and some fundraising resilience. Early-stage dominance persists, but exits show weakness:


  • In April, despite the prevailing investment downturn, we witnessed 12 double-digit or triple-digit million-dollar investments in Germany, totaling around €440 million. Among them are ventures like Flink, Parloa, Markt Pilot, Smart Reporting, finmid, and Proxima Fusion. Despite ongoing crises, numerous startups, scaleups, and grownups managed to secure substantial funding. From well-known entities to under-the-radar gems, here are the recent top funding rounds, amounting to a significant €440 million

  • German startups expect more from the EU: unified funding, better access to venture capital, and a true single market. European digital associations unite to call for a reboot of EU startup policy. Read more:

  • Good news from Germany! The ifo Business Climate Index rose to 89.4 points in April, marking its third consecutive increase. Sentiment is up as companies express satisfaction with current business & brighter expectations. Read more: 

  • German VC sentiment shows signs of recovery in Q1 2024, bouncing back from Q4 2023 slump. Business expectations and IPO climate warming, but entry valuations satisfaction nosedives. More insights at 

  • Europe's quantum startups are thriving amidst global challenges in the quantum computing race. Despite economic uncertainties, they attracted €363 million in investments in 2023, a 47% increase. Learn more: 

  • News from Bundesminister Robert Habeck! The Startup Advisory Board gets a makeover with a smaller, more flexible format called 'Start-up Circle'. Find out more about this innovative approach here: 

  • More than half of overtime hours in Germany in 2023 were unpaid, signaling a concerning trend in work-life balance. According to @IAB_Berlin data cited by @rheinischepost, employees logged 1.3 billion extra hours, over 775 million going without pay: 

  • A new study from the Bertelsmann Foundation & Startup Association reveals: that 6 in 10 startup founders come from academic households, shaping their entrepreneurial journey. Parental background influences networks & mindset:  #Startup #Entrepreneurship

  • related: 


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

Frankfurt - Rhein/Main

  • Teylor acquires creditshelf in a quest to dominate European lending #fintechnews #fintechgermany #frankfurt #lending Interview with Creditshelf: Article Problem investor, now sold

  • Iwoca - with their German HQ in Frankfurt -  secures £270M in debt funding to bolster SME lending. Supported by Citibank & Insight Investment, the lender responds to rising demand from small businesses. Read more about this investment in iwoca's growth: 


  • Discover over 20 startups from Heidelberg that are making waves! From AI powerhouse Aleph Alpha to rising stars like paretos, freshtaste, and Instaffo, the city is buzzing with innovation. Check out the full list here:


  • 🌟 Aachen's cylib, a sustainable battery recycling firm, just secured €55M in Series A funding! Led by World Fund & Porsche Ventures, with support from Bosch Ventures & more. ♻️ Learn more: 


  • German Vertical Farming startup, vGreens, secures a coveted spot among the Top 500 FoodTech companies worldwide for 2023. Their innovative use of AI technology in food production earns them this recognition. 🌱🚀 Learn more: 

Neuenstadt Am Kocher

  • Breaking ground in space tech! German startup Hyimpulse launches a rocket powered by candle wax hybrid propulsion, marking a milestone for private space ventures. 🚀 Read more about this innovative feat here: 


  • Fisker Austria files for insolvency, marking the largest insolvency case in Styria with €1.34 billion. The restructuring process is underway following the opening of proceedings at Graz Regional Court:

  • CEO Søren Obling completes a 100% founder buyout of Vienna-based InsurTech Finabro. After recent setbacks, including insolvency rumors, Finabro resurfaces with a fresh start in Germany: 


  • 🚀 Exciting News Alert! 🚀 Switzerland's startup scene continues to thrive with innovation and growth. Despite its size, Switzerland ranks 6th globally in total funds raised by tech companies, showcasing its remarkable potential. 🇨🇭💼 In 2023 alone, Swiss tech ventures secured a whopping €2.8 billion, highlighting the nation's prowess in the entrepreneurial landscape. What's truly remarkable is that Switzerland, with a GDP ranking of 21, manages to punch above its weight in the startup arena. Government and private sector collaborations have been instrumental in nurturing this vibrant ecosystem. From tax incentives to funding opportunities and accelerator programs, Switzerland offers a supportive environment for startups to flourish. Curious to know which Swiss startups are making waves in 2024? Check out the list of top 10 Swiss startups to watch in our latest article! 🌟 #SwissStartups #Innovation #Entrepreneurship Link to the source article: 

Note: Austrian and Swiss Fundraises are at the end.

General News / Tech News / Companies News Section 

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

  • General Catalyst reportedly raises nearly $6 billion for tech startups, signaling robust investor confidence. Funds to be invested across various sectors including #FinTech and #healthcare. Via @FinancialTimes:

  • Accel announced a new €602.7 million fund to support early-stage founders in Europe & Israel. With a 24-year presence in Europe, they continue to back transformative tech companies. Read more:

  • Exciting news from Innova Capital! Their latest fund, Innova/7, has closed at €407m, exceeding its target and hard cap. Focused on business & financial services, industrials, and consumer & lifestyle sectors, it's backed by institutional and commercial support. Read more:

  • Norrsken VC just closed its second fund at €320 million, doubling down on impact entrepreneurs who are tackling the world's greatest problems. Backed by Europe's top investors like Folksam, AP1, and EIF. Read more:  

  • Not really a new fund, but it is the best place for this news:Global Founders Capital, linked with Rocket Internet, opts for a strategic shift. Instead of a new fund, they'll invest solely from Rocket Internet’s coffers. With €300 million to deploy, they're poised for focused early-stage ventures: 

Fintech News

  • Austrian unicorn Bitpanda expands into MENA with a new office in Dubai, focusing on B2B solutions. Their move reflects growing demand in the region's financial sector: 

  • 🚀 Exciting news from Bitpanda No 2 News ! As of April 25, 2024, Bitpanda has become the broker with the largest crypto offering in Europe, boasting 411 cryptocurrencies and over 4.5 million users across nearly 30 countries:  

  • French fintech giant Younited halts new loan operations in Germany, shifting focus to more profitable markets. Despite a four-year presence, citing lower profitability potential and intense competition. Existing customers unaffected:

General News 

  • 🌟 Munich's Holidu just made a major move, acquiring Madrid's Clubrural to enhance rural vacation rentals in Spain & Portugal. 🏡💼 With 28,000 homes in their portfolio, this partnership is set to redefine travel experiences. Details:

  • Big changes at Zalando as co-founder David Schneider steps down as Co-CEO to focus on strategic partnerships and brand relationships. David Schröder steps up as new Co-CEO. Evolution in leadership reflects adaptability to new trends:

  • 🌱 Formerly known as Pottsalat and MaKE, Essen's delivery service rebrands as Green Club, marking a new era of fresh, healthy, and sustainable offerings. With 12M€ projected revenue in 2024 and expansion plans across Germany, they're set for success:

  • Great news! Berlin's food-saving startup, Sirplus, is back in action! Founder Raphael Fellmer secures brand rights, domain, online shop, & social media accounts, with support from investors. Let's fight food waste together!

  • Despite initial setbacks, East German robotics prodigy, Wandelbots, is poised for a bold comeback. Co-founder Christian Piechnick unveils a radical business model pivot and a strategic AI partnership with OpenAI. A high-stakes move

  • Discover the top fertility startups catching investors' eyes! VCs from Sofinnova, Antler, and Ananda Impact Ventures reveal their picks via @Siftedeu. With 1 in 6 affected by infertility globally, these solutions are crucial: 

  • Exciting news: Summa Equity acquires majority stake in Munich-based Fast LTA, a leader in secure data storage solutions for businesses. With €25M revenue in 2023, Fast LTA is poised for growth and international expansion:

  • Germany revokes Mastodon's non-profit status despite unchanged service. Founder remains undeterred, affirming commitment to EU operations. Read more:

  • After 17 years: Jimdo founders regain 100% ownership of their startup. CEO and co-founders steer the company through tough times, now profitable and focused on product excellence: learn more about Fridjof in his interview from September 2023: 

  • English investor Star Capital takes over Nextbike, a bike-sharing provider, from Tier. The move signals a strategic shift, emphasizing Tier's focus on direct-to-consumer services:

Schumpeters Schöpferische Zerstörung ⇒ Creative Destruction Still Ongoing: 

  • Sad news for the VR world: Munich-based startup Holoride files for insolvency. Founder Nils Wollny shares the struggles faced despite promising investments. A setback for innovation in VR/XR experiences. Read more:

  • Startup Eloop, known for Tesla car-sharing & vehicle tokenization, faces a setback as it halts car-sharing operations due to high costs & financing burdens. The closure is part of a restructuring process:

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. 

  • Berlin-based startup Parloa secures €62 million in funding led by Altimeter Capital. With an impressive roster of investors including football legend Bastian Schweinsteiger, Parloa aims to revolutionize call centers with its AI-powered voice intelligence: 

  • Munich-based biotech startup, Insempra, secures €19 million for its innovative biodegradable materials. Led by EQT Ventures, the Series A round also sees investments from Bayern Kapital, Henkel's investment arm, and Valley investor Alante Capital. More

  • trawa, a leading provider of AI-driven energy solutions, just secured €10M in Seed funding led by Balderton Capital. With plans to expand their AI tech and solutions, they're driving renewable energy forward:

  • Fundraises from Switzerland:

  • Memo Therapeutics raises CHF 20 million in Series C extension, totaling CHF 45 million. The funding will accelerate clinical advancement of AntiBKV, a promising treatment for BK virus infection in kidney transplant patients:

  • GSK joins BioVersys in a Series C extension round, furthering their collaboration to advance alpibectir for tuberculosis treatment. With a CHF 12.3 million investment, the total proceeds now reach CHF 44.9 million: 

  • 🚀 Anapaya enters growth phase with CHF 10 million investment to bolster business critical services using SCION Internet architecture. With funding from Cape Capital, Nagy Moustafa, SIX, and Mysten Labs, Anapaya aims for global expansion:

  • Testmate Health 🚀 announces $6M Seed funding round led by RH Capital, with support from The Helm, Zürcher Kantonal Bank, Amboy Street Ventures, Lichtsteiner Foundation, and They are revolutionizing at-home testing for STIs:

  • Fundraises from Austria:

  • 🚀 Vienna's enspiredAI just secured a whopping €25.5M in Series B funding led by ZoukCapital! Exciting times ahead as they gear up to expand globally. Read more about their journey here:

We will be back on June 27th with the next news episode and the next regular episode will go live next week.  

Stay Ahead of the Curve

🚀🔥 Exciting news from the world of venture capital! Despite recent challenges in the market, top-tier firms continue to secure significant LP capital, demonstrating their resilience and appeal to investors. 

General Catalyst, renowned for its leadership in backing iconic companies like Snap, Warby Parker, and Deliveroo, is on track to conclude a remarkable $6 billion VC fund, as reported by the Financial Times. Not to be outdone, Andreessen Horowitz recently announced a substantial $7.2 billion across multiple fund strategies.

With General Catalyst's potential $6 billion fund added to Andreessen Horowitz's recent raise, these two industry titans are poised to capture an impressive 44% of the total LP capital committed to US VC funds this year, according to PitchBook data.This milestone underscores the enduring confidence LPs place in established VC firms, as demonstrated by their continued preference for firms with proven track records and access to premier deal flow. Despite some LPs retreating from emerging managers in recent years, the allure of established firms remains strong, reflecting a perceived lower risk and potentially greater returns.While established funds may offer stability, emerging managers can present unique opportunities for savvy investors. PitchBook's analysis reveals that the top decile of emerging VC funds historically outperforms established funds with excess IRRs of 15.9%.As LPs navigate their investment strategies, it's essential to consider both the stability of established firms and the potential for outsized returns from emerging managers.For more insights into the evolving landscape of venture capital fundraising, check out the full article here:     

🚀 Excited to share insights on the Arc Product-Market Fit Framework! 🚀 Finding product-market fit is the holy grail for startups. Our years of experience have led us to develop a comprehensive framework to guide founders through this pivotal stage. Check out our latest article to explore the three archetypes of product-market fit and understand which path your company is on. Whether it's the Hair on Fire, Hard Fact, or Future Vision, each archetype comes with its own set of challenges and strategies for success. 🔗 Link to Article: The Arc Product-Market Fit Framework:                                                                                                                                                             


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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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