Berlin is a living contradiction. It is a city of history, art, and techno. Yet it creates world-class tech startups, attracts leading venture capital, and maintains an industry mix that is unparalleled. Everything is possible in Berlin.
Berlin is Germany’s startup capital, with twice as many startups being founded in the ecosystem in 2022 than in any other city in the country. That year, the city’s startups raised 390 financing rounds, 39% of all rounds in the country. Nevertheless, Germany was not untouched by the general economic downturn and ongoing global events — the number of startups founded in Germany dropped 18% compared to 2021, according to a report by the German Startups Association and Startup Detector.
Initiatives to strengthen the nation’s position include the German government’s new startup strategy, which was released in July 2022 and features 10 points to strengthen the country’s position as a startup hub. Goals include improving the availability of venture capital, tackling a shortage of skilled workers, and removing bureaucratic hurdles. The policy roadmap will unlock €30 billion in funding by 2030. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inaugurated Learning Factory Industry 4.0 at ABB in Berlin in September 2022. The new apprenticeship program aims to transform training opportunities for technology companies. 205 trainees are set to begin the program in Berlin in the 2023/2024 academic year.
BlueYard Capital raised its third fund, totalling $185 million (€172 million), in June 2022 to invest in seed-stage companies. Digital logistics and freight-forwarding company Forto raised a $250 million Series D in March 2022. The company has raised $593.4 million over six rounds. Annual tech conference hub.berlin brings together local and international innovators each summer.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Berlin’s Fintech scene attracts top international talent thanks to its high level of English language adoption and startup-friendly laws. Berlin startups received 94% of total funding invested in the Fintech/Insurtech sub-sector in Germany in 2022, a total of €1.3 billion. The sub-sector is Germany’s biggest recipient of VC funding. InsurTech platform Wefox raised a $400 million Series D in July 2022, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $4.1 billion.
AI, Big Data & Analytics
In July 2022, it was announced that the Berlin AI Competence Centre BIFOLD will receive €22 million annually from the federal government and the State of Berlin to establish itself as one of five National AI Competence Centers. The funding is also intended to further boost Brain City Berlin. In January 2023, the E.U. project TEF-Health committed €60 million to test and validate innovative AI and robotics solutions for the healthcare sector and accelerate paths to market.
In June 2022, Green Generation Fund announced it had raised €100 million to fuel Cleantech innovation. The next month, VC AENU (ex-Pirate Impact) announced the first close of its €100 million evergreen fund for Climatetech and impact startups. Berlin is home to the GreenTech Festival, which has been running since 2020. Photovoltaics leasing firm Enpal has raised €1.7 billion over 13 rounds, including a €215 million Series D in January 2023.
Reasons to move your startup to Berlin
Diversity, a high quality of life, and a creative atmosphere attract highly trained, multilingual talent to Berlin from all over the world. About 46,000 foreign students matriculated from the ecosystem’s universities in 2021/22. Together they accounted for 23% of all students in Berlin. 28% of employees at Berlin’s startups are international.
Located in the center of Europe and with a dense transport network, Berlin is connectied to much of the continent. Germany ranked among the countries with the highest purchasing power in Europe in 2022. Hundreds of thousands of businesses in Germany, including many world market leaders in their fields, serve as potential partners and customers for the country’s startups.
Ease of Relocation
Berlin makes it simple for overseas talent to relocate to the city, with both Berlin Investment Bank and Berlin Partners offering funding and guidance to startups. Municipal services for registering a business and other processes are available in English. An international talent pool makes it easy for companies to find experts in all kinds of fields.