This Month in German Startups - February 2021


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This Month in German Startups - February 2021

Welcome to This Month in German Startups by - in a transatlantic news recording with Chris in New York City and me Joe, from Frankfurt am Main.

Today we are wrapping up February 2021 for you. There is great news in the German startup scene, the much anticipated Auto1 IPO generated two new tech billionaires, Europe’s first Tech SPAC lists in Frankfurt, more Wirecard details, we talk about Trade Republic and Gamestop, as well as the billion exit of Berlin-based AdJust.

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Why not learn from entrepreneurs and executives who are open to share their favorite books. We skimmed through some recommendations and that is what we found.

  • Recommended by: Bill Gates
    “Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker”
  • Recommended by: Jeff Bezos
    “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras”
  • Recommended by: Elon Musk
    “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel”
  • Recommended by: Tony Hsieh
    “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan”
  • Recommended by: Warren Buffet
    “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street by John Brooks”
  • Recommended by: Tim Cook
    “Competing Against Time by George Stalk and Thomas Hout”

Housekeeping - Time to brag

Stay safe everyone!

In the meantime you can tune in to our internet radio station, the worlds first 24/7 dedicated to startups and tech companies! - We will soon be available on many platforms, for now:

Top News

We have two new tech billionaires

  • The IPO of Auto1 went spectacularly well and skyrocketed on the first day of trading on February 4th, surging 45%. We took a look at the data and realized that this was the first tech IPO in a long time that generated new tech billionaires in Germany.
  • Bloomberg: SoftBank-Backed Auto1 Soars in Debut After $2.2 Billion IPO
  • Reuters: UPDATE 2-AUTO1 shares go into top gear in Frankfurt debut
  • Read more in our blogpost here: At recording this Auto1 IPO turns founders into billionaires
  • Related: The story from the side of one of their first investors: How VC fund DN Capital invested in car marketplace Auto1 8 years ago and landed an $8 billion IPO winner


Trade Republic, Reddit and GameStop


  • Porsche's Cayenne Boss Dr. Manfred Harrer (48) is hired by Apple. He was rumored to be one of the best engineers in the company.
  • Is the iCar around the corner?

Game over for Mapify?

  • Founders of Berlin-based traveltech Mapify “the Instagram of travel" give up "evaluating options." Their current investors include Lakestar and Atlantic Labs (We will come back to Lakestar, keep them in mind).

AdJust Exit for 1.2 bn US$ (990 m Euro)

  • AppLovin buys Berlin-based mobile marketing company AdJust and pays 1,2 bn US$ according to Deutsche Startups, who published the price
  • Related: Apploving said to acquire Berlin-based Adjust in a 1 bn $ deal


We keep you updated, just a small selection of news here.

Keep in mind there is still an investigative committee ongoing.

  • Deutsche Bank fires supervisory board member Schütz over email correspondence with Wirecard CEO Braun
  • German finance oversight BaFin places one employee on leave due to internal investigations in trading in Wirecard shares before the scandal became public
  • Germany's highest court ruled that EY auditors have no right to refuse to give evidence, now the parliamentary committee will invite the auditors and EYs CEO for Germany

The Digital Euro

ECB keeps working on digital Euro. Italien central banker said the ECB is looking at the digital Euro for their instant payment system "Target Instant Payment Settlement TIPS" as a first step

The Audio Interview

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  • Why we need to start looking at Europe as one tech ecosystem
  • It's IPO time! Here are 30+ European tech companies most likely to go public this year great list by Tech_eu
  • including German startups Auto1, SUSE, Mister Spex, About You and N26
  • What U.S. Startups Get Wrong About Expanding into Europe
  • Iconiq Capital, the US investment firm backed by Silicon Valley elites like Mark Zuckerberg, is expanding to Europe


Note: The order of news and cities is only due to the time when we discovered the news.


  • Aleph Alpha, Heidelberg-based AI startup raises 5.3 m Euros (6.4 m US$) from investors LEA Partners and #Berlin-based 468 Capital



  • The founders of beverage delivery startup Flaschenpost just sold their company to German food giant Oetker, now they invest in an HRtech startup from Münster - Echometer, which better enables agile work


  • Germany #BioTech #startup Curevac, which listed on NASDAQ in summer 2020 - working on a corona vaccination - is planning to raise additional capital, which could amount to 600 m US$


  • Düsseldorf-based SME financing platform Compeon closes 15 m € Series C #VentureCapital funding with government-backed NRW Bank joining previous investors including Quatar Development Bank


  • Egym receives 28 m € #VentureCapital for the production of connected gym equipment. In spring 2020 they had to let go 100 of 450 employees


  • Australian Unicorn Canva buys Vienna-based Kaleido AI. Kaleido offers a service where one can automatically cut the picture of a human out of the background
  • Austrian crypto startup "Startup Hero" issuer of the Herocoin gets acquired by international gambling group Novomatic, also from Austria



  • Liechtenstein-based VC MIG gets 340 m € payout from their investment in Mainz-based BioNTech


Fintech and Cryptocurrencies

  • Mastercard to open up network to select cryptocurrencies, but not the ones you may think
  • Finleap was once a fintech company builder in #Berlin with 80 employees at peak. Now there are around 20 left to manage existing investments and there may be 20 more work on innovations for corporates in the future
  • Here’s why the former Global Head of Google Payment, former COO of Venmo have backed the €20M Seed round of this fintech

Funding News (a very tiny collection, of what we see)

Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date here.

  • Berlin-based #traveltech Getyourguide fills war chest with additional 80m € loan, after a convertible of more than 100 mn € last year, looking for targets
  • Autonomous driving startup Recogni, with locations in San Jose and Munich, gets two new investors Bosch and Continental are investing together, this is new for German OEMs

New VC Funds

  • #Dublin and #London-based #VC firm Frontline has raised its third seed fund of €70m to invest in #B2B #startups across #Europe looking to take on the US.
  • Eurazeo gets €340 million in additional commitments to its growth strategy -
  • TCV Captial raised 4 bn US$ #VentureCapital fund, aiming for German #startups The VC's past investments include Netflix and Airbnb
  • SPACs will be here pretty soon!
    • Lakestar plans to raise 200-300 m Euros for a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) to be listed on a German stock exchange - Listing already happened by now ⇒ Frankfurt News
    • Rocket Internet plans to list a SPAC in New York, with a volume of more than 100 mn Euros
      • Technology SPAC Rocket Internet Growth Opportunities files for a $250 million IPO at #NYSE - backed by #Berlin-based #RocketInternet

More exits

  • Kinnevik, once an important and trusted Rocket Internet investor now wants to sell all Zalando shares worth 5,5 bn € (6.6 bn US$)
  • Shell buys Berlin-based electric car charging firm ubitricity
  • Not a direct exit, but preparing for some:
  • German home appliance company Miele buys majority stake in #Berlin-based Kptncook, in which they have already been an investor. Kptncook offers recipes in their app

All Other News

  • MDAX listed tech company Teamviewer want to grow their revenue in the next two years to 1 bn Euros
  • Home24: Growth slows from +54% in Q3 to +50% in Q4 read more here:
  • The 1st Unicorn by #German #investor Carsten Maschmeyer in the USA / Startup "Modern Health" with 1.17 ...
  • Germany based HDI insurance (a subsidiary of Hannover Re) wants to invest more in startups - especially #cybersecurity
  • Zalando interested in buying beauty platform Flaconi to add to their second foray in beauty
  • Quandoo, the #Berlin-based platform for table reservations axes 20% of their workforce

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