Germany

Frankfurt

MEMBERS:
StartHub Hessen TechQuartier

"Frankfurt has a dynamic and increasingly mature ecosystem. A first unicorn in 2021 is an expression of this. With numerous talents, innovative ideas and promising start-ups the region has great potential."

Tarek Al-Wazir
Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing and Vice Minister-President, State of Hessen
Top 15 European Ecosystem in Knowledge
Top 20 Global Emerging Ecosystem in Talent & Experience
Top 30 European Ecosystem in Funding

Highlights

Frankfurt is the economic and geographical center of the FrankfurtRheinMain region and one of the most important data traffic hubs in the world. Its 43,000 companies employ 650,000 people. Over 40% of sales revenue attributable to the 100 highest-grossing software companies in Europe is generated in the Frankfurt region. Cosmopolitan and fast-growing, Frankfurt is an ideal home for innovative startups looking for world-class talent and industry partners.


Entrepreneurs in Frankfurt are supported by a range of government and university programs. StartHub Hessen and TechQuartier are key players that connect founders, investors, mentors, and corporate innovators. The Hessian Center for AI brings together 13 universities to drive research, education, practice and leadership in AI, including the AI Startup Rising project, which supports startups from the ideation to scaling stage.


Some of Frankfurt’s biggest startup success stories include drone manufacturer Wingcopter and cloud foundation platform meshcloud. Mattress retailer Emma is among the fastest growing companies in Europe and has expanded internationally. Insurance platform Clark became the region's first unicorn in 2021, and BioNTech SE — which along with Pfizer developed one of the first vaccines against COVID-19 — is based in the nearby city of Mainz.


In December 2021, Wingcopter received an undisclosed amount of funding from a Japan-based venture capital firm dedicated exclusively to investments within the drone technology ecosystem, further to the $22 million Series A it raised in January 2021.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
(2019H2-2021)
$242 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$687 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
(2019H2-2021)
$11 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$28.6 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$549 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$671 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$4.7 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY (2021)
$60 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$46 k
7 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
11.3 bn
89
GLOBAL AVG.
101
Amount ($)
Count (#)

Exits

(2017-2021)
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH TIER (2018/19 VS. 2020/21)
7
Calculated on a scale of
1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2017-2021)
$1.3 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.5 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2017-2021)
10.2 years
GLOBAL AVG.
9.4 years

Sub-Sector Strengths

Fintech

As an international financial hub Frankfurt offers Fintech startups proximity to established banks and a large talent pool. The City of Frankfurt and the State of Hesse are actively promoting the sub-sector. FinTech Digital Hub Frankfurt brings together talent from the financial and startup sectors. The Safe Financial Big Data Cluster, managed by TechQuartier, enables cross-institutional use of financial market data while preserving data sovereignty. Fintech investor CommerzVentures closed its third fund at €300 million ($327 million) in March 2022. The fund has invested in 28 companies to date.

Cybersecurity

Digital Hub Cybersecurity, based in Darmstadt, is linked to the Fraunhofer SIT and Germany's National Center for Applied Research ATHENE, Europe's largest cluster for applied cybersecurity. Incubation and funding programs including StartUpSecure|ATHENE have contributed to growth in the number of Frankfurt Cybersecurity startups. The city also hosts the European Cyber Security Summit.

Cleantech

Frankfurt was among the first German cities to adopt a Master Plan to achieve 100% renewable energy supply by 2050. This continued interest in sustainability has helped Frankfurt become a prominent hub for Cleantech talent and companies. Approximately one third of the region’s startups are focused on sustainability and climate. The Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany, co-managed by the Frankfurt School, brings together key players. Impact Festival is the flagship event for B2B sustainability startups in Hessen. Examples of local Cleantech companies include Africa GreenTec, which delivers solar powered containers to rural areas of Africa.

Reasons to Move Your Startup to Frankfurt

Access to Major Players

A major European financial center, Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW, and Commerzbank, as well as major players in other industries.

Access to Talent

Frankfurt is home to some 230,000 students studying at 53+ research institutes and 25+ universities, including several excellent universities like TU Darmstadt and Goethe University. As a result the region boasts a highly qualified workforce. A dense network of ties connects universities and innovative companies ensuring close links between research and industry.

Strategic Connections

Frankfurt has built bridges with nearby startup clusters and talent pools. The city joined with neighboring Darmstadt, also home to renowned universities and a strong financial sector, to create a tech hub and to connect technical talent with the banking industry. Frankfurt’s central location in Europe also makes it a logistics hub, with data, people, and goods streaming through the city continually.

Selected Startup Organizations

Startup Genome Members

Key Ecosystem Players

Startup Genome
Partners

Frankfurt Economic Development
Goethe University Frankfurt
HIGHEST TU Darmstadt
Hessen Trade & Invest (HTAI)
Hessian Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing
ING-DiBa
Station FRM
WIBank

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