Frankfurt’s Startup Ecosystem Prospers with Fintech and Cybersecurity
Frankfurt has a long history of innovation. It’s home to DELAG, the world’s first passenger airline and a world leader in forward-thinking transportation. It’s also a hotspot for banks, investors, and international corporations, and its central location within Europe makes it a perfect logistics hub.
With a startup ecosystem value of about $1.5 billion, Frankfurt is seeing success in sub-sectors like Fintech and Cybersecurity. In fact, our 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report places Frankfurt in the top 25 for global ecosystems in Fintech.
Frankfurt is home for the European Central Bank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and 85 other multinational banking headquarters, each looking to introduce new products and ideas. Because of increasing demand for innovation in these areas, many German banks and companies have created their own Fintech and other startup programs in Frankfurt.
For instance, the second largest bank in Germany, Commerzbank, created the Main Incubator that invests in emerging technologies such as blockchain. Deutsche Börse has founded the Deutsche Börse Venture Network, which connects founders with investors. Additionally, the Accelerator Frankfurt accelerates B2B software startups in Fintech, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Regtech, Proptech, and Insurtech.
Frankfurt’s startup ecosystem is not huge overall, but its Fintech focus is impressive. Because of that, around half of local VC funding goes directly to the Fintech sub sector. This focus has helped lead to the largest German Fintech exit ever, a nearly $800 million acquisition in 2015 of 360T, a trading network for foreign currencies.
So it may come as no surprise that Frankfurt is the home to several angel investors who are looking to invest in startups. Notable angel investors in the Frankfurt area include Soumyasanto Sen, an investor in HR and workforce technology, and Stefan Tirtey, who works as a managing director for CommerzVentures, a corporate venture capital fund of Commerzbank.
In regards to Cybersecurity, there are more than 450 researchers in Darmstadt, a city near Frankfurt, that are focused on it. One notable cybersecurity company is Acellere, a startup focusing on task prioritization and error minimization, which raised $2.5 million in a Series A round.
In our 2019 assessment of the Frankfurt startup ecosystem, we also highlighted:
- Frankfurt is a top 20 global ecosystem for Knowledge, with talent coming in from top universities like Technische Universität Darmstadt and Goethe University.
- There are over 3,300 angel investors in Frankfurt, ensuring startup resources are plentiful.
- On average, early-stage funding for Frankfurt startups totals $314,000, exceeding the global average of $284,000.
The Frankfurt startup ecosystem consists of a supportive community with 32 incubators, 24 coworking spaces, and 10 accelerators. One of the most notable coworking and innovation spaces is our member TechQuartier, a large startup hub where 200 members can share ideas. With 14 programs and over 300 events, TechQuartier focuses on bringing together minds and talents from different industries and schools. They offer several floors of workspace, private offices, meeting rooms, and event space where entrepreneurs can scale their businesses.
Additionally, there are several media outlets that highlight the success and stories of Frankfurt’s startups. Startupradio.io has touted German startup success and STATION FrankfurtRheinMain highlights innovation and startups in the Rhine-Main metropolitan region.
“Frankfurt Rhine-Main’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is leveraging its strengths in Fintech, AI, and tech talent,” Gemma Ferst, Ecosystem Manager at TechQuartier/HTAI, said. “Nearly every university is involved and there’s a recent uptick in public investment and cross-ecosystem collaboration.”
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