Europe’s 2nd largest city oozes entrepreneurial vibes:
Berlin is Europe’s second largest city and the European Union’s second largest startup hub. Today the largest startup hub inside the single market is London but that’s about to change.
As British politicians argue amongst themselves and with the European Union over just what they want a post Brexit UK to look like, one message is clear: British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will take the UK out of the single market.
What we know is that Prime Minister May wants the UK to leave the European Union on Friday the 29th of March 2019 at 23:00. She’s also asked for a two year transition period to phase-out of the EU but Brussels has told her she can only have until December 31st 2020.
Sure London will still be an important business center, but it isn’t going to include single market access. For some businesses this doesn’t matter. Others might have a hard time being based outside the single market. For example fintechs that need passporting rights or B2B solutions that market themselves as part of another company’s product could face new barriers that effect their potential level of success.
The impact of Brexit can already be measured. In November the European Banking Authority announced it would leave London for Paris. At the same time the European Medicines Agency announced it would move to Amsterdam. Meanwhile, company registrations in Berlin increased by 30% in the year after the Brexit vote according to Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. The organization helps grow business in Berlin and it expects that figure to continue to rise as the deadline approaches.
So what’s happening in Berlin? The city’s got talent and you’re about to hear even more about its thriving startup scene. It spans a broad range of sectors.
Here are five superstars to watch in 2018:
1. ResearchGate: A social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions and find collaborators. The site has been explained as a mashup of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but for the scientific community. ResearchGate’s mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all. The site has 14+million active users.
ResearchGate was founded in 2008 by virologist and computer scientist Dr Ijad Madisch, who is also the company’s CEO along with physician Dr. Sören Hofmayer and computer scientist Horst Fickenscher. The company began in Boston but moved to Berlin shortly afterwards.
Investors in ResearchGate include Peter Thiel who was one of Facebook’s first investors as well as Benchmark - a backer of Twitter. Additionally, Bill Gates and actor/investor Ashton Kutcher have participated in financing rounds.
2. Ada Health: An artificial intelligence driven app that works like an ‘Alexa for healthcare’. The app combines medical insights with artificial intelligence to help people understand and manage their health and support clinical decision-making. Ada explains itself as a personal health companion app designed by a dedicated team of doctors and computer scientists.
The company has three co-founders: Dan Nathrath the CEO is a German lawyer by training, Dr Claire Novorol a paediatrician with a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge is the Chief Medical Officer meanwhile the third co-founder Dr Martin Hirsch is the Chief Scientific Officer.
Ada Health fully launched in 2016 after six years of research and development. Ada’s mission is to transform access to healthcare on a global scale — for everyone, everywhere, by empowering people with personalized medical insights and helping them to identify the appropriate next steps in their care.
Since launching the app says it has helped millions of people around the world. In October 2017 Ada closed a $47 million (USD) Series A funding round. Founders say the money will be used to improve the product, hire staff and support their ambitious goals which include opening a new office in the United States.
3. N26: A Berlin-based fintech company offering mobile management of bank accounts via smartphones. The company says it aims to revolutionize the traditional banking industry and how people spend, save and send money.
N26 believes it has reinvented the current account (also known as a checking account). The account opening process can be completed via a video chat and according to N26 statistics, the process takes just eight minutes. The bank currently has 500,000 customers across the 17 eurozone countries where accounts are available. However, N26 recently announced plans to launch in the UK from early 2018 and in the U.S. from mid-2018. American operations will be based in New York.
Early seed investors included Axel Springer Plug and Play. Series A funding included Valar Ventures (co-founded by Peter Thiel who is also PayPal’s co-founder) and the richest man in Asia Li Ka-Shing. In June 2016 the company additionally closed a round of Series B funding.
4. Replex.io: Germany is world-famous for its business to business (B2B) technology so of course this list wouldn’t be complete without highlighting a strong B2B startup. Replex aims to help businesses stop wasting resources. Using a combination of proprietary agents and algorithms, the company’s software automatically brings together critical real-time information businesses need on their entire cloud and physical infrastructure all into one intuitive interface. It is accessible anywhere and at anytime.
According to Uptime Institute, 30% of all servers in the United States are running without any purpose. The company says that’s equivalent to the power of four nuclear power plants. Cloud Physic’s Global State of the Data Centre Report for Q4 2016 priced this waste yearly at nearly $55 billion USD.
Founded in 2016 by five friends/colleagues in Duisburg, Replex raised €1.5 million from a mix of German and American investors in May 2017. The money is being used to fuel expansion including the opening of a Silicon Valley office. Replex also operates out of Berlin having secured a spot in the German Technology Entrepreneurship Center’s startup Lab accelerator.
5. Moberries: There are over 60 digital recruiting startups in Germany at the moment but this one is quickly rising above the others. MoBerries takes a data driven approach to the recruiting by matching candidates to companies using an automated ranking system. The platform describes itself as on-demand recruitment for employers with an easy application process for job seekers.
Founded in Berlin in 2015 the company’s mission is to revolutionize the old fashioned recruitment process by offering networking software with a unique real-time matching algorithm that’s tailored to both professionals and partners. CEO and Co-founder Terrance Hielscher says the site receives 10,000 applications a week. The company’s other co-founder, Mo Moubarak, leads business development. Moberries closed a seed funding round in May 2017 for €1.8 million which they say will continue to support their AI technology development.
You can read more about Germany’s 88% increase in Venture Capital funding from my Medium article: “Germany’s Got Funds: Investors are Going for Deals in Deutschland”.
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