Ever since Albert Einstein unveiled the fulgent theory of relativity more than a century ago, Berlin has been a tremendous cultural, technological, and intellectual hub of the world. Despite a favorable reputation, history tells us that the city, which once gathered many of the European (and Martian) luminous minds of tech who molded watershed engineering to the tune of nonconformist jazz licks and linden tree promenades, lost momentum a hundred years ago due to unfortunate geopolitical machinations. But time is relative, and our very own Roaring Twenties have the German capital once again becoming one of the eminent Shangri-Las for technology. Specifically, Berlin has become an unparalleled haven for starting new companies.
The figures shed light on this favourable context. From 2021 until now, Berlin Startup Map, an official platform that collects data on startup companies from the Spree-Athen city, has registered over 620 new businesses founded in the German capital. Through a combination of factors, such as extensive liquidity, a mature digital economy, and an abundance of venture capital, this city once on the fringes of Western and Eastern Europe is becoming the breaking ground for some of the most forward-looking ideas and startups. Berlin’s reputation for innovation is so cemented that companies such as N26, which has helped set trends around digital finances, are virtually considered antiquated by now.
The upbeat sound of Berlin startups
In 2023, almost a hundred years after the slowdown of the celebrated Weimar Culture and three years after the pandemic struck, Berlin has bounced back and is now home to over 4,800 startups, with over 300 new startups founded every year in the past five years at least. Additionally, the map shows that the city is home to over 250 venture capital firms and over 400 angel investors.
Furthermore, data highlights the diversity of Berlin's startup ecosystem, with over 50% of startups founded by international entrepreneurs (as a reference, people who are not from Berlin represent around a quarter of the city’s population). Moreover, the map also shows that the number of female founders has more than doubled since 2017.
A significant contributor to the city's economy
Startups in Berlin are also a considerable sector of employment. Over 230 thousand people in this city are verified employees for startups. Official sources registered a 29% growth in employment by startups from 2021 to 2022, and initial probes infer that there’s been a monthly 1.5% growth in the same sector for 2023.
We can deduce from this that startups are great for the economy in three spheres: the people who run the startup, the general economy of Berlin, and those who find employment in these new companies. Up to 11% of the workforce in Berlin is employed in startups, so we’re talking about a big player in the capital.
Startups that thrive are also attractive for investors, which means that the economy wins in fluidity whenever these innovative companies pop up. In this area, we can also see significant growth in the Berlin community: investment rounds went from €1.6 billion accrued in 2016 to a walloping €10.9 billion in 2021. Berlin was always a thriving city, but we can see from the data we recollected that it not only will be, but already is a shining light into the future.
A catalyst for cultural and technological revitalisation
Economic prosperity goes hand in hand with growth in cultural — and techno — scenes. The new opportunities provided by the well-being of the economy, impulsed by the workforce and startups, give way to interesting cultural elements that thrive in the new ecosystem created. Berlin's startup scene has helped to revitalise some of the city's more run-down neighbourhoods. For example, the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg was once a derelict area with high levels of poverty and unemployment, but it has been revamped by the presence of startups and co-working spaces. Today, Kreuzberg is a thriving hub of creativity, innovation, and rave techno dancing.
Our very own Roaring Twenties might hint at the idea that History does not repeat itself; likewise, Berlin’s startup community does not replicate old patterns and maintain the existing state of affairs. Rather than that, they offer innovative solutions to social and cultural claims in urgent need of answers. For example, the startup ShareTheMeal, founded in 2014, has developed a mobile app that allows users to donate to help feed children in need around the world. Another startup, Wooga, has created a series of mobile games that promote social causes, such as diversity and inclusion. They have done well: Financial reports disclose that Wooga booked almost €240 million in revenue in 2020. That chunk of change could help you cop around 30 million currywurst meals sold near Mauerpark in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district.
Top startups in Berlin
It’s always good to know the internal market and to be informed on what is going on regarding businesses, all this to be prepared for the — hopefully — improved society we are forging together. The old and dated means of production are showing their fissures, and rather than insisting on that same old path, the businesses of the future are cracking open those crevices and ploughing on to the next stage, and it is already showing its results in Berlin. Let's see how these top Berliner startups are doing.
The goal of this company is to offer solutions. This startup created a platform in 2021 allowing fashion brands and marketplaces to reach second-hand markets, where they can introduce their own products. Through their AI-driven software, reverse.supply works in the background, handling quality assurance, pricing, and logistics. So, if handling used products is giving you a headache, just let this state-of-the-art portal steer the process of promoting all your products, displaying them side by side so that customers may effortlessly choose between what is offered and use the same steady check-out process.
Founded: 2021 Size: 51-200 Valuation: €20-30 m
2. Dance Masterclass
Dance Masterclass, which reportedly received a pre-seed round over a year ago, is driven by the idea of offering personal growth and boosting health and happiness through the art of dance. In uncertain and turbulent times, the need for sublimation, the capacity to exteriorize feelings and our own internal turmoil, is ever-growing. This platform offers the possibility to learn how to express ourselves, whatever our level, to achieve a more fulfilling and passionate form of life. Through an elite team of former professional dancers, their goal is to inspire all people to know themselves and to make dance education available for all. Schopenhauer believed that art is a relief and salvation in life through its beauty; Dance Masterclass is here to fulfil that need.
Founded: 2021 Size: 2-10 Valuation: €2 m
Qdrant is a vector similarity engine and vector database. It launches as an API service that performs a search for nearby high-dimensional vectors. The embodiment or neural network encoders can be made into whole apps for matching, searching, recommending, and much more with Qdrant. It enables the creation of client libraries in practically any programming language using the OpenAPI v3 protocol. Among its many uses, you can search for related photos, locate duplicates, or even find a picture using a written description using the Qdrant vector database, for example, or, like text or graphics, user behaviour can be represented as a semantic vector. This vector may indicate consumer preferences, patterns of activity, or product interest.
Founded: 2021 Size: 11-50 Valuation: €8 m
We have seen enormous educational changes after the pandemic, and SplendEd is here to change how education is provided! Through their platform, they enable student growth by creating an environment where effective and efficient learning techniques can be combined to generate individualised learning paths. This startup was launched in November 2022, and they are looking to revolutionise the learning process. Rather than getting stuck in the rut that meant the dated way of learning, they look to the future and try to innovate, to take control of the new environment and challenges it presents, instead of trying to force old habits and means of education into this new world, where they clearly don't fit. SplenEd is responding to the call for renewal, and they are doing it fabulously.
Founded: 2022 Size: 2-10
This startup has the highest valuation of all startups in Berlin. Although it was founded in 2021 in Berlin by CEO Ralf Wenzel, who previously exited Foodpanda (aquired by Delivery Hero), its headquarters are already set in New York City. In less than a year, they reached a valuation of €1.3 billion — meaning it reached the coveted tag of “unicorn.” This figure is staggering considering that when, in 2019, German wunderkind-startup-prodigy N26 raised its series D and became the top startup by value in the country, it was worth 3.5 billion. This suggests that JOKR, being valued roughly a third of what it took N26 to become a global fintech sensation, is on track to join its ranks soon, especially when getting wind of the news that the company is doubling down on Latin America.
Through an approach focused on sustainability, they make their decisions guided by the principle of making a positive conjoint impact on the world. Their guiding idea is to be the future of supermarkets, offering instant delivery, quality selection, retail prices, and a core principle of sustainability. They developed an easy-to-use app in which all you have to do is select the produce you want, pay, and in a matter of minutes you get what you bought, at local prices and of the best quality. Their motto is “Groceries. In the moment”. Why didn’t they say, “at the moment,” which strikes readers as a more appropriate choice for a preposition? Their choice of “in” opens up a whole philosophical Kantian conversation about space, time, and getting groceries at/in the right time. Then again, Berlin and the region formerly known as Prussia are merely 750 km away…
Founded: 2021 Size: 501-1000 Valuation: €1.3b
6. Unstoppable Finance
The access layer to decentralised finance (DeFi), your hub for all things related to tokenised assets, web3, and digital identification, is being built by Ultimate by Unstoppable Finance. This crypto wallet is opening a path to the future of finances, and allows users to navigate the world of crypto items in a secure, accessible, and independent way. They offer a “DeFi copilot” which curates and chooses the best of DeFi in order to make it easier for the user, with the best and state-of-the-art protocols and systems so that you don’t have to worry about the minute details and can enjoy the experience to its fullest. The goal of this growing startup is to democratise and simplify access to DeFi. We can surely get behind that mission.
Founded: 2021 Size: 11-50 Valuation: €50-75m
This startup is committed to open-speech technology and acts as a gathering place for practitioners, researchers, and developers in the field. Their name is based on a tiny frog from Latin America (coquí: ko-kee), which, although small, has a loud and clear voice. That is the idea behind the technology that they are developing: to be nearly invisible but to be well heard. Coqui works in the background, almost undetectable. Their projects now include a job scheduler, deep learning-based STT and TTS engines, and more. It’s an exciting company to follow, and it has a lot of potential. Their free-speech AI technology brings research into reality. They offer, among other things, AI voice cloning, Generative AI voices, and Generative AI emotions and voice control.
Founded: 2021 Size: 11-50
Are you working virtually and tired of city life? Do you need a break from your daily routine? Raus company can help you get in touch with nature while preserving and protecting the stunning spaces that our environment offers. Their ecologically produced cabins offer the perfect escape and, simultaneously, avoid all the headaches that travelling and vacations may imply. One of their main goals is to offer a sustainable but comfortable stay. In order to accomplish that, they have top-of-the-line technology, such as keyless access, and commodities, like professional cleaning. These cabins also come fully equipped and are easily accessible from the city. Get ready for the stay of your life at Raus cabins!
Founded: 2021 Size: 11-50 Valuation: €17m
This startup intends to be a bridge between the banked and unbanked. Through their integrating app, you can manage all your bank accounts from one place. Forget queues, forget cash: use Aruba. Their global finance platform puts customers first: the ideal they follow is to make a secure, easy-to-use, and personal product to bridge banked and underbanked communities, making it easier for all users to transact instantly and with simplicity. Financial access and availability work better to promote an economy than any other means, so if you want to prosper economically, download this app.
Founded: 2022 Size: 2-10
10. Digital Rheuma Lab
If you are looking for an up-and-coming startup, Digital Rheuma Lab is ideal for you. This company experienced massive growth in these last few months. The most fundamental element with which this startup counts is, of course, the human side. It created a community of the affected that grew with the mutual support and help that the participants gave each other. It started as a rheumatology patient initiative but grew to a community of patients, economy experts, psychologists, and doctors, all working towards building a channel where people can exchange views and share experiences of being affected by rheumatism.
Rheuma Lab’s goal is to offer a complete diagnostic of the reality of how rheumatism impacts people, as well as provide educational information and tips, all to offer smart and improved attention to the affected. They have worked towards bringing clarity and light to this issue, and they are growing exponentially. Either if you want a good investment opportunity or if you suffer from rheumatism (or both), this could be your ideal place to start.
Founded: 2022 Size: 2-10
The Berlin medal board
Best Startups by valuation and growth
Digital Rheuma Lab
Given its valuation, and considering its founding date, the startup which grew the most is JOKR. Still, reverse.supply is experiencing massive revenue growth since it proposes a new business model that can prove to be practical and valuable in its innovation. Digital Rheuma Lab experienced growth both in revenue and in the community it is building. We can’t only focus on the economic side when talking about growth (though this startup is growing in revenue), but we must also focus on the cultural impact that they have, which is why Digital Rheuma Lab is included here, as well as reverse.supply, which promotes fashion and sustainability by offering an alternative to fast-fashion.
The up-and-coming startups from Berlin
Raus is looking to the future. Its idea for a sustainable relaxation spot, with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies, taking the modern workplace situation into account, gives them a checkmark on all the items we want for the companies to come. For this reason, we believe that it is the most up-and-coming startup in Berlin. Dance Masterclass, combining technology and the arts, is set to mark a great cultural impact. That fact, combined with the growth they are showing, and the need for arts that is inherent to troubled times, makes them worthy of being on the up-and-coming pedestal. SplendEd, by attempting to revolutionise education, has also gotten up on this list since, rather than making themselves to the past, they are trying to set the way of the future of education, and are rightfully placed third on this list.
Berlin is one of the most enticing cities in which to start new companies, given its attractiveness, capital liquidity, and because it is one of the great mind-hubs in Europe. This is clearly reflected in the many startups that are emerging there and becoming successful in a short period.
Besides offering products or services, startups are increasing Berlin's attractiveness and giving us an electrical discharge into the future. The new global order, data suggests, has served as a spring for up-and-coming businesses, and it has motivated new and exciting solutions to complicated challenges. The future is now, and Berlin has understood the assignment.
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
Static and dynamic content editing
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
How to customize formatting for each rich text
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.