"Heidelberg and Mannheim are great locations for fast growing startups like Getsafe. The universities provide us with excellently trained employees and quality of life is a big plus. In addition, both cities offer a good infrastructure for entrepreneurs."
The Mannheim-Heidelberg startup ecosystem has grown up around the region’s venerable universities and the many international corporations based in the area, including BASF, SAP, Roche, John Deere, Daimler-Benz, and Bombardier. Today, the southwest German area is a hub for Life Sciences research and innovation. Additionally, top-notch Artificial Intelligence startups are on the rise.
Through Medtech centers CUBEX ONE and CUBEX41, Heidelberg Technology Park, and the BioRN BioTech Cluster, startups can access labs and offices in close proximity to leading research institutes. The Inspire Living Lab has been created as a testing platform with 26 beds within Mannheim University Hospital. Startups and SMEs can test and improve their products in the clinical routine and take advantage of user feedback from doctors, nurses, and patients.
The Mannheim-Heidelberg startup ecosystem offers accelerator programs for Life Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, and Industry Tech. Startups can apply for pre-seed funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg, and Heidelberg Startup Partners and MAFINEX Founders Club arrange business angel speed dating and VC networking events to arrange additional funding.
Mannheim-Heidelberg has produced multiple notable investment deals and exits recently. AI startup Aleph Alpha raised a €23 million ($25 million) Series A in July 2021, and Swedish giant Klarna acquired local Fintech Stocard in a €113 million ($123 million) deal the same month. Decision intelligence platform Paretos closed a €3.5 million ($3.8 million) seed round in September 2021, and digital insurance company Getsafe raised a $93 million Series B round in October 2021.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
With two university hospitals and extensive research activities in the fields of drug development, diagnostics and medical technology, Life Sciences startups play a prominent role in the Mannheim-Heidelberg region. In Mannheim, the MMT Campus is home to research projects including M2OLIE, Hybrid-OR, and Inspire Living Lab. In Heidelberg, the Life Sciences cluster BioRN spearheaded the launch of BioLabs Heidelberg. Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Exciva raised a €9 million ($9.8 million) Series A round in October 2021.
AI, Big Data & Analytics
Mannheim-Heidelberg is a hotspot for machine learning in Germany. The Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing is a joint institution of the University of Heidelberg and companies including Bosch and Bayer. It is one of the leading research institutions in the field of computer vision. Together with local universities and other research institutions, it forms the starting point for innovative startups in the fields of computer vision, natural language processing, and optimization. A large part of the current financing rounds can be traced back to these areas.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Mannheim-Heidelberg
The greater Mannheim-Heidelberg region is one of the strongest economic regions in Europe. Its 160,000 companies include 10 of the largest German companies. Startups find a vibrant scene and optimal infrastructure in the industry-specific technology and startup centers. This includes the direct connection to the European road and rail system as well as the proximity to Frankfurt Airport.
Heidelberg is home to Germany's oldest university and 57 Nobel laureates are connected to the city. Mannheim University is one of Germany’s most prolific business schools. Other research institutes include the German Cancer Research Center, the European Molecular Biology Lab, and various Max Planck Institutes and Fraunhofer Societies. The strong research orientation leads to an international crowd and an influx of highly qualified workers.
Quality of Life
Situated on the Rhine and Neckar rivers, at the foot of mountains, the region is praised for its quality of life. In addition to nature, the 500,000 inhabitants of the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg and the 2.4 million inhabitants of the metropolitan region enjoy a wide range of cultural offerings and a vibrant nightlife. Together with the moderate cost of living compared to other metropolises, this is a great starting point for international hires.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
Heidelberg Technology Park
Heidelberg Technology Park has been the nucleus of the regional biotech ecosystem since 1984. Neighboring Heidelberg University and Clinics, German Cancer Research Center, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research, it offers 100,000 square meters of laboratories, clean rooms, and offices to startups in the fields of biotechnology, medical technology, Artificial Intelligence, and electronics. Heidelberg Technology Park maintains a network of experts and investors and numerous support services for entrepreneurs.
NEXT MANNHEIM is the brand under which the City of Mannheim combines and promotes a wide range of activities in the areas of start-up ecosystem, cultural urban development and internationalization. Thanks to the interdisciplinary exchange between the tech, creative, cultural and urban innovation sectors combined with the economically strong region, one of the most attractive locations in Germany for startups and a diverse innovation ecosystem has been created.
Key Ecosystem Players
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