Germany has its fair share of unicorns, birthing 31 since 2005 — the second most in Europe after the UK. Startup successes include the continent’s best-funded HR startup Personio, AI translation unicorn DeepL and data management for businesses provider Celonis.
But who could be next? Twenty-five companies met Sifted’s soonicorn criteria — companies with a valuation of at least $500m, founded after 2005 and that have raised a round since 2020. When it comes to the sectors producing the most, fintech and SaaS led the way with six apiece.
Here are the startups in contention to become Germany’s next unicorn.
Mobile banking app Vivid doubles up as a digital investment platform, offering the ability to buy and sell crypto, manage finances and earn cashback in one place. It raised €100m in Series C funding in February 2022, from Greenoaks Capital Partners, Ribbit Capital and SoftBank.
Alternative loan provider auxmoney wants to offer credit to people who may be turned away from traditional lenders, like self-employed workers, by using an alternative method of evaluating creditworthiness. It raised €500m in lending capital in August 2022 and added €350m more in February 2023.
Rocket developer, and Technical University of Munich spinout, Isar Aerospace is hoping to launch its first rocket into space later this year, and has raised around $330m in funding. It is the best-capitalised private spacetech in Europe, and most recently secured a $165m Series C round in March 2023 — the biggest spacetech round globally so far this year. Investors included Earlybird Venture Capital, HV Capital and Lakestar.
AnyDesk offers a remote desktop that lets users connect to devices in other locations, making remote work, online collaboration and technical support easier. It last raised in November 2021, when it secured $70m in Series C funding from General Atlantic, Insight Partners, EQT Ventures and Possible Ventures.
EGYM offers health and fitness institutions access to gymtech software and machines — from equipment that can provide personalised workouts for each user to mobile app packages. It raised a €207m Series F round in July this year from investors including Bayern Kapital and Affinity Partners, which brought its total funding so far to $380m.
Billie offers a buy now, pay later (BNPL) alternative for B2B businesses, so they can offer customers flexible checkout options without having to wait for the later payment themselves. Billie takes care of any overpayments or late payments, and also offers features like a post-purchase invoice management and support platform for customers. It last raised in October 2021, when it secured a $100m Series C from investors including Dawn Capital, Creandum, BNPL poster child Klarna, Speedinvest and Tencent.
Fintech Moonfare offers a digital platform for high-net-worth individuals and institutions to invest in private equity, and has raised around $215m since founding. In February 2023, it added a $15m extension to its Series C round, bringing the total round to $175m. Among its backers are Insight Partners and Fidelity.
H2 Mobility is building a network of hydrogen fuel filling stations across Germany to support the transition to hydrogen-powered mobility. It’s raised $131m so far, with its latest funding of $9.7m secured in October 2022.
Energy startup Sunfire is developing electrolysers that make renewable hydrogen (which can be used to decarbonise industries like mobility and refineries) and syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and CO2 (which can be used to make efuel) from renewable electricity, water, steam and captured carbon dioxide.
Plastic waste recycling service APK is developing a Newcycling product that can extract pure polyolefins from packaging waste, which can then be recycled into new packaging to encourage a circular economy for plastics. It last raised €130m in February 2023, from US-based sustainable chemicals company LyondellBasell Industries.
The rest of Germany’s soonicorns
Last raised: €75m Series B in January 2022
Last raised: €100m in April 2022
Last raised: $130m Series A in April 2022
Last raised: $115m in June 2021
Last raised: $130m Series C in December 2020
Last raised: $75m Series G in February 2020
Tools For Humanity
Last raised: $115m Series C in May 2023
Last raised: €25m debt in July 2023
Last raised: €100m Series C in May 2022
Last raised: €92.5m Series C in May 2021
Last raised: €95m Series B in December 2021
Last raised: €82m Series B in March 2021
Urban Sports Club
Last raised: €80m Series D in June 2021
Last raised: $85m Series B in May 2021
Last raised: $84m Series C in January 2022