Germany

Rhineland

MEMBERS:
North-Rhine Westphalia State Government

Rhineland’s startup community has significantly evolved in the last 4 or 5 years. It feels like a true ecosystem with more people, better knowledge, stronger connections, and a focus on modernizing traditional German industries.

Dr. Lorenz Gräf
Founder at STARTPLATZ
Top 15 European Ecosystem: Knowledge
Top 15 Global Emerging Ecosystem: Talent & Experience
Top 25 European Ecosystem: Funding

Highlights

Home to nearly 18 million inhabitants, 68 universities, around 711,600 SMEs, and a large number of global corporations, the Rhineland is also a growing German startup hub, with one in five German startups now coming out of the Aachen-Cologne-Bonn area. The region, a traditional engineering and manufacturing hub, is leveraging this expertise to become a center for next-gen manufacturing. Young companies will find a network of startup support organizations in the Rhineland to support their growth, including incubators such as Startplatz in Cologne or Co:Forward in Aachen. In 2016, the regional government established six regional "Digital Hubs" to support startups and connect them with large industrial companies. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia supports startups with a range of programs, including networking and coaching support and the Gründerstipendium.NRW, a monthly grant of €1,000 for up to one year to help founders get innovative business ideas off the ground. Another state program, known as Meister­gründungs­prämie (MGP), is targeted at master craftsmen and women looking to transition to self-employment and offers funding for startups and investments in existing businesses. 6 Rhineland universities have also been granted €150 million to further develop their startup centers. NRW.Global Business promotes investment projects in North Rhine-Westphalia and facilitates networking with international business partners.

Ecosystem by the numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
$264 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$431 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
$2.7 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$10.5 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND
$560 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$494 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND
$2.8 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$2.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY
$62 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$42.1 k

Sub-sector Strengths

Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics

The Aachen-Cologne-Bonn area is a research and science center for the aerospace industry. Universities in the Rhineland graduate approximately 93,000 students a year in the fields of computer science, electrical engineering, and information technology, providing employers with a highly skilled workforce. CPS.HUB NRW, an “innovation engine for digital transformation,” supports companies working to realize the potential of Industry 4.0, Smart Energy, or Connected Cars. Electric vehicle startup Next.E.GO Mobile raised a $57 million Series C in August 2021.

AI, Big Data & Analytics

The Technical University of Dortmund is home to one of the largest computer science faculties in Germany. The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) is one of the leading AI institutes in Europe. The region hosts The Intelligence Future Days, a gathering focused on the future of AI. Low-code conversational AI platform Cognigy has raised a total of US$54 million over 6 rounds. Retail automation platform aifora has raised a total of €10/~$11.42M million over 2 rounds.

Reasons to move your startup to Rhineland

Educated Talent

The Rhineland is home to 68 universities where approximately 768,000 students enroll each year, 90,500 in the fields of computer science and electrical engineering. As a result, the region boasts a highly educated talent pool with sought-after technical skills for employers looking to hire.

Globally Leading Companies

The Rhineland is the number 1 investment location in Germany. Around 20,000 foreign companies have already invested in the Rhineland, including 3M, BP, Ericsson, Ford, Huawei, QVC, UPS, Toyota, and Vodafone. 18 of the 50 highest-grossing German companies are also based in the region.

Large Local Market

Approximately 160 million people live within a 500-kilometer radius of the state capital of Düsseldorf, almost a third of all consumers in the EU. The population of the Rhineland alone spends more than 360 billion euros annually.

Startup Community

Startup Genome
Members

Startup Genome
Partners

Digital Innovation Hub Düsseldorf/Rheinland GmbH
1stMOVER
Agile Accelerator
Axa Startup Center
BLSW
Capnamic Ventures
Coparion
Founders Institute
Future Champions Accelerator
Gateway Gründungsservice der Universität zu Köln
Getstarted, Bitkom
Gründerzentrum RWTH Aachen
HEADQUARTER[S] Cologne
High-Tech Gründerfonds
Intelligent Venture Capital Management
MWIDE
NRW Bank Business Angel Initiative WIN
NRWalley
NUK – Neues Unternehmertum Rheinland
Pirate Summit / Jolly Rogers UG
Hub Aachen
S-UBG Group
STARTPLATZ
Startup Unit Düsseldorf
StartupDorf
Tengelmann Ventures
Vodafone Uplift

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