This Month in German Startups – Summer 2020 (July, August, September)

This Month in German Startups – Summer 2020 Wrap-Up

Welcome to this month in German Startups by – in a transatlantic news recording with Chris in New York City.

Today we are wrapping up summer 2020 for you. This is going to take a bit longer than normal, so grab a coffee and relax on the couch. 

You can now join us on the entrepreneur network DueDash: with 5 Euros a month you support our work! Thank you!


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Housekeeping – Time to brag 

We made it now in 39 Countries in the podcast charts, adding Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Israel, and Indonesia! Thank you!

Podcast Charts Appearances of – Now in 39 countries















As a premier source for startup information from Germany, Startupradio was already a part of the US launch of podcasts on Amazon Music and is now in Germany as well.


Video News – This video will go live on Thursday, September 24th 19.00 CET (Frankfurt, Zürich, Berlin, Milan)


Audio News – The audio podcast will go live at the same time

We just need some time after the release until we can embed the Spotify player here.


Top News

Coronavirus / Curevac 

Curevac was one of the biggest startup stories during the summer. They are a Tübingen, Germany-based biotech company, working on a coronavirus vaccine. 
They IPOed for more than 200 mn US$ (

They got visited by Elon Musk (

And we already blogged about their government investment in June (

And they received a large investment pre-IPO by two international heavy weights: 

  • Pre-IPO: Qatar Investment Authority takes stake in vaccine-maker CureVac 
  • Glaxosmithkline (GSK) pays 142 mn Euro for 10% stake in one of #Germany’s most promising candidates for a #coronavirus #vaccine Curevac from Tuebingen 

Coronavirus / Potential super spreader event in the Berlin startup scene?

deutsche-startups reports in their podcast, that a super-spreader event took place in the Berlin Venture Capital and startup scene on Friday, September 11th 



We keep you updated, just a small selection of news here

  • Wirecard’s liquidator sends employees into garden leave without pay via email after 20.00 o’clock. Rumors talk about 50% of the more than 1.000 employees
    Related: Wirecard scandal fallout sees 50% of German staff laid off
  • Wirecard liabilities exceeding the assets by 2.8 bn Euro, only a few of the companies within the group had revenues at all says an expert assessment obtained by German media  
  • Berlin-based Finleap snapped up some employees there:
    Finleap starts a new unit Finleap Forward, with former Wirecard employees to help banks, insurers and SMEs with their digital transformation
    More details emerged: Finleap hired a team of six employees of the Wirecard Innovation Labs to help banks, insurance companies, and SMEs with their digital transformation
  • Berlin-based big data startup SO1 was bought shortly before the accounting scandal, now the founders bought assets back 
  • More than 100 potential bidders lined up to acquire parts of #Wirecard, Germany’s erstwhile fintech darling” 
  • German finance supervisor #bafin reports suspicion of insider trading before denial of attestation to Munich prosecutor 
  • In September a German court froze the private assets of Markus Braun (former CEO). In total authorities froze “more than 100 mn Euros” worth of assets from four people and three shareholders 


Auto1 – Berlin-based Unicorn – plans it’s IPO (Jörn)

But there is also happier news from Germany: 

  • New details on the planned IPO of #Berlin-based Auto1 emerged. They hired Citi and Goldman for the IPO, looking at a valuation of 5 bn € 
  • Related: They are looking to IPO in Frankfurt
    Auto1 likely preparing for IPO in Frankfurt – AIM Group 



Germany’s formerly most valuable fintech has to file for insolvency

Monedo Holding (formerly Kreditech, and at this time Germany’s most valuable fintech) has been in trouble for some time now, but they had to open insolvency proceedings at the beginning of September 



  1. A network of Digital Hubs
  2. It’s all about collaboration
  3. Access to industry leaders
  4. Leading in deep tech solutions
  5. Government support 



Note: The order of news and cities is only due to the time when we discovered the news, rather than anything else.


  • Startup Genome: Global Startup Ecosystem Report:
    Top 7 startup cities keep their ranking in 2020 — but new players are on the rise
    Frankfurt makes Top 20 Knowledge and Top 30 Funding
    Berlin making No 16 – Overall
    Bern Geneva from Switzerland and Munich are also doing well
  • Deutsche Bank buys stake in Frankfurt-based Supply Chain #financing #fintech Traxpay  No further deal details (e.g. price) have been disclosed
  • German business magazine Capital tested 34 robo-advisors. Out of those three #Frankfurt-based made it in the top group – all offspring of traditional asset manager or private banks Visualvest, Zeedin and Bevestor  
  • Business Insider Ranking: Top 100 fastest growing companies in Germany. From the Frankfurt Area
    No 12 Stoertebekker Shaving Accessories (
    No 33 ChemSQURE
    No 46 WiWin
    No 49 Meshcloud (Learn more about Meshcloud here
  • “Frankfurt’s FinTech Agora Innovation, with its iVE.ONE platform has brought a stock corporation to the Blockchain for the first time in the European Economic Area.”
    Related Interview on upcoming law for tokenization of securities 
  • Brockhaus Capital Management lPOs in Frankfurt in Prime Standard. They raise 115 mn Euros to invest in mid-sized tech companies 

Darmstadt (also Rhine-Main Area)

  • Boston Dynamics, Merck, and the Darmstadt based robotics software startup Energy Robotics cooperate successfully on an autonomous inspection robot
  • You can learn more about the startup here in our interview


  • Start-up Roadjet from Stuttgart: Offers luxury long-distance bus connections for the price of a ticket 2nd class of DB (Germany’s rail operator) 


  • Goldman Sachs invests the majority of new 70,5 mn Euros #VentureCapital in Bonn-based IT startup Leanix. The company provides cloud-based solutions for Bosch, VW, consultancies, and others
    Related (same news, another source):
    Goldman Sachs, Insight Partners, DTCP, Capnamic Ventures and Iris Capital invest 80 mn US$ in LeanIX, bringing the total to 120 mn. The company offers software to optimize IT structures.



  • Munich-based 2trde – a competitor of Berlin’s Auto1 – raises 2.5 mn Euros with Israel-based VC Maniv Mobility as lead investor


Bruchsal (a city with a population of less than 45.000 people) 

  • German drone startup Volocopter is now accepting reservations for electric air taxi flights 


  • Hamburg-based PaketButler a rental box – working as a mailbox for parcels – is shut down. The service will be stopped end of September 


  • Since Trier appears here for the first time, let us give you a very brief overview: It is an old city, founded by the Romans and famous for their still standing black city gate, called Porta Nigra. It is a city of approx. 115.000 people, close to the border of Luxembourg
  • Two local banks from Trier invest 3,5 mn Euros in LivEye, a local startup providing video surveillance 



Startup Mannheim re-branded to Next Mannheim and we have been invited. You will hear more about them in the future. 



  • We interviewed #Berlin-based #challenger Bank Bitwala in April, now they are offering 2% interest on savings accounts when other banks are asking for money to hold savings
    Our interview 
  • Deutsche Bank gets double hit in digital strategy:
    1) They shut down their investment the virtual wallet startup Yunar
    2) Zeitgold, the accounting software pivots
    Related article to Zeitgold: Zeitgold main product was shut down despite having raised 27 mn Euro Venture Capital. For outsiders a surprise, but there is an article speaking of „absolute chaos“ before the decision 
  • Listed tech company Teamviewer buys Bremen-based data glasses startup Ubimax for 136 mn Euros (of which 86 mn in cash)
  • Bonds Bonds Bonds
    Delivery Hero wants to raise up to 1.5 bn € with a convertible note
    Zalando sells bonds worth 1 bn € 
  • Hedosophia from London has been one of the most important investors in the #German #fintech scene. Now Finance FWD revealed Michael Bloomberg being one of the investors behind the company 
  • Berlin-based traveltech Omio raises 84 mn Euros. Investors include Temasek, Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs and Kleiner Perkins 
  • Henkel buys 75% of beauty product brand HelloBody – Henkel produces many household names from washing powder (Persil), to glue (Pattex, Pritt) to detergents (Pril, Biff) and even wallpaper paste (Metylan) 
  • FinanceFWD takes a look into Kinnevik’s reports and looks at the impact of the fintech valuation using DCF
    Deposit Solutions valued at 450 mn € ( Deutsche Bank invested in September for 1 bn Euros)
    Betterment valued at 666 mn Euros (a drop of 100 mn Euros)
  • Siemens to cooperate with Berlin-based fintech Raisin on pensions find the interview with the founder of raisin here: 
  • Berlin-based Sequoia investment, the travel tech startup Tourlane is in trouble, but it’s founder is optimistic. 80% of its clients are booking long-distance trips. They are back to 20-30% of pre-corona business 
  • Freeletics raises 25 mn Venture Capital to extend the offering to Japan, North, and South America. Press speculates on additional sports like yoga or running for the app that offers individualized coaching for athletes.  
  • Delivery Hero picks up Glovo’s LatAm ops for $272M in latest food delivery consolidation – TechCrunch 
  • Berlin-based startup Sennder has bought a chunk of Uber
    “Berlin-based startup sennder has acquired Uber’s European freight business in an all-stock transaction that will see the freight forwarder extend its dominance in the European market.
    As part of the transaction, sennder will become a minority shareholder in Uber and the companies have agreed to a customer referral programme, where sennder will refer US freight customers to Uber and vice versa. “
  • Rocket Internet half-year report:
    9 startups shut down, 5 new
    startup equity valuation took a 85 mn hit
    Rocket Internet Capital Partners (VC Fund) spent only 15% of it’s money so far (closed end of 2019)
    They gave out loans worth 70 mn, avg. 9.3% interest rate 
  • CHECK24 – Germany’s largest online comparison platform – is planning to attack startups in their market – tax filing, and compensation for delayed flights 
  • Jacob Fatih was a refugee, then he founded fitness chain FitX in Essen, Germany. Now he wants to help start 1.000 startups there with an incubator named Crealize. 
  • Employees at German fintech Taxfix cash out 3.8 mn € after share buyback | Sifted 
  • Apeiron Investment Group raises 125 mn Euro #VentureCapital fund to invest in #German #tech companies. The investors include Peter Thiel 
  • There was a bug in the IT of N26. Reportedly up to 300 employees could look into personal account information of clients and other employees since they lacked encryption in October 2019 for one week 

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