The innovative and technology-driven performers in the region of Frankfurt contribute greatly to the growth opportunities of Hessen as a business location. This environment favors the development of creative, promising ideas and startups.
Frankfurt is the economic and geographical center of the FrankfurtRhineMain region and one of the most important data-traffic hubs in the world. Cosmopolitan and fast-growing, it’s an ideal home for innovative startups looking for talent and industry partners. The epicenter of finance in Europe, Frankfurt is home to about 280 banks, as well as 7,900 financial services companies, investment funds, consulting agencies, law firms, and auditing companies. The financial ecosystem employs over 155,000 people, attracting talent from around the world.
Entrepreneurs in Frankfurt are supported by a range of government, private sector, and university programs. StartHub Hessen and TechQuartier connect founders, investors, mentors, talent, and corporate innovators. TechQuartier partners with international and European companies including Microsoft, VISA, PwC, and the Deutsche Bundesbank to support founders, including more than 600 startups in the TechQuartier community and the FrankfurtRhineMain region. hessian.AI – The Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence brings together 13 universities to drive research, education, and leadership in AI. Frankfurt School of Finance & Management opened an Entrepreneurship Centre in May 2022 and has since incubated more than 40 startups.
Some of Frankfurt’s startup success stories include drone manufacturer Wingcopter and cloud foundation platform meshcloud. Mattress retailer Emma is among the fastest growing companies in Europe, and BioNTech SE — which along with Pfizer developed one of the first vaccines against COVID-19 — is based in the nearby city of Mainz. Gunzilla Games raised $46 million in venture funding in August 2022.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Approximately 33% of Frankfurt’s startups are focused on Fintech and related areas. CommerzVentures closed its third fund at €300 million in 2022, which will be used to invest in companies in Fintech and Insurtech. In February 2023, Frankfurt Digital Finance gathered key participants in the European digital finance ecosystem. The International Sustainability Standards Board is based in Frankfurt and is driving the city’s development into a green finance capital. Finanzguru raised €13 million in April 2023, led by investors including PayPal Ventures.
Together, Digital Hub Cybersecurity, the Fraunhofer SIT, and Germany's National Center for Applied Research ATHENE constitute in nearby located Darmstadt Europe's largest cluster for applied Cybersecurity. Goethe University Frankfurt joined ATHENE in May 2022. Incubation and funding programs including StartUpSecure|ATHENE have contributed to the growth of the sub-sector. PwC Germany opened a Cyber Security Experience Center in Frankfurt in April 2022. The Cloud & Cyber Security Expo took place in Frankfurt in May 2023.
Frankfurt was among the first German cities to adopt a plan to achieve 100% renewable energy supply by 2050, and is a prominent Cleantech hub. The Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany brings together key players. Impact Festival is the flagship event for B2B sustainability startups in the region. Hy2gen AG completed a €200 million round in February 2022, and energy-as-a-service startup ENVIRIA raised €22.5 million in June 2022.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Frankfurt
Access to Talent
FrankfurtRhineMain is home to more than 43 universities and 280,000 students, including 90,000 STEM and 40,000 economics/business students. The ecosystem’s schools and universities graduate 15,000 STEM graduates each year. Numerous research institutions, including the world-renowned Fraunhofer, Leibnitz & Max Planck institutes, and the Paul Ehrlich Institute are also based here.
Access to Major Players
A major European financial center, Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank, EIOPA, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, BaFin, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, WIBank, BMH, KfW, and Commerzbank, as well as major players in other industries. 162 international banks as well as national and European institutions and supervisory agencies have HQs in Frankfurt.
Frankfurt is a logistics hub, with data, people, and goods streaming through the city. It boasts one of Europe’s leading passenger and cargo airports, and outstanding road and rail connections. Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, and Zurich are all within four hours by high-speed train. Frankfurt’s internet hub DE-CIX is the largest data-exchange point in the world, managing peak traffic of over 12 TB/s.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
StartHub Hessen is the central platform for startups and the Hessen startup ecosystem. It helps startups and other players with networking and visibility, and provides an overview of funding options.
The official investment promotion and business development agency for the Greater Frankfurt region. Most services are free of charge, and its goal is your success. FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH will tailor its support to your specific requirements and individual business case.
Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH
Frankfurt Economic Development is the first point of contact for Frankfurt’s businesses, founders and companies planning to set up in the city. It is an independent guide and provides customized information on Frankfurt’s economic structure and key industries. Through industry get-togethers and networks, it can put you in touch with other companies, as well as associations, communities, and consultants.
Key Ecosystem Players
ATHENE Digital Hub Cybersecurity
StartUpSecure | ATHENE
News from the Ecosystem
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