Startup Europe. Grown up reporting
Berlin is home to one of Europe’s most exciting tech ecosystem. Startups such as GetYourGuide, N26 and Raisin are just some of those at the forefront of the continent’s new economy.
But the coronavirus has radically altered the business model of many young tech companies. No list of top startups today would be complete without asking: which are most likely to thrive in the post-Corona world?
This here is a living list of the city’s top startups with a twist, which will be regularly updated in the coming months. Keep reading to stay informed about Europe’s changing new economy.
P.S The data is from our partners at Dealroom.co. If there is anyone missing from this list, or anything is wrong, please let us know by email at [email protected]
Startups benefiting from trends like the rise of digital doctors, working from home and online learning
Led by Erez Galonska, the idea is that consumers can actually pick fresh produce such as tomatoes or lettuce themselves, which has proved popular.
The company in June 2019 closed a $100m series B led by London VC Atomico with Balderton Capital, Astanor Ventures and Cherry Ventures also in the round.
It has already won deals with big supermarkets such as Casino, Intermarche and Auchan as well as Amazon fresh in Germany, Switzerland, and France – now it’s looking for more in the UK and the US and beyond.
The bigger picture here, says the company, is that eco-conscious consumers are increasingly going to want to get their fresh produce locally — and nothing is more local than having the actual farm itself in your nearest supermarket.
The Berlin-based startup was founded by the same eight people who brought us Wunderlist, the popular task management app Microsoft acquired in 2015. So, it’s fair to say that the team behind Pitch know a thing or two about changing the way we work.
Pitch has already raised a total €50m, having just recently closed a Series B round from backers like Thrive Capital in October.
While it will have various custom options and contemporary templates, Pitch’s main selling points appear to be enhancing how teams collaborate on their presentations and providing easier ways to connect to other tech tools.
Still in testing phases, Pitch is already being used by companies like EyeEm, Superhuman, DashDash and Notion.
London, United Kingdom
A giant recession will probably be bad for them, but aside from that it’s hard to tell what impact coronavirus will have
Used cars are a huge market, with around 39m cars sold every year in Europe (compared to 17m new). Within the market, Auto1 it’s a giant. The company has taken in €460m from Japanese conglomerate Softbank and since launching in 2012 has expanded into more than 30 countries. It says it is now trading with more than 35,000 professional partners and selling more than 40,000 cars per month.
But watch out, because there are rivals. Cazoo, the brainchild of Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, has raised €60m pre-launch to sell second-hand cars direct to consumers later in 2019. It’s a slightly different model, as it’s selling to consumers not dealers, but still a potential threat as market dynamics in this space evolve swiftly.
Other rivals to Auto1 include Emil Frey and AVAG Holding. There is a torrid history of other used car platforms coming crashing down: notably Beepi. Watch out as well for business cycle vulnerability, in a recession big-ticket items like cars are often the first purchases consumers will put off taking.
Via video conferences over the web or smartphone app, employees can speak with one of CoachHub’s professional career coaches about topics ranging from time management to leadership goals. Traditionally, these types of services have only been offered to business executives. With CoachHub, organizations provide employees at any level with personalized professional advice.
In addition to changing the way professional development is traditionally relayed, CoachHub wants its services to also boost overall productivity and engagement. It has a global network of over 500 professional coaches available for coaching sessions in 32 languages.
Founded in 2018 by entrepreneurial brothers Yannis and Matti Niebelschuetz, the talent development platform is still relatively new to the Berlin scene.
In November, CoachHub announced it raised an additional €10m from investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures,
Partech, Speedinvest x and RTP Global. The German startup hopes funding will continue to solidify its place as the go-to source for professional development in Europe.
The company, which says it does not see profitability as a “core metric”, is pushing big-time for growth, splashing cash to launch a huge advertising campaign to build on its 3.5m subscriber base.
Led by founder Valentin Stalf, the bank in 2018 rolled out a #nobullshit advertising campaign in some of the 24 markets it is active in around Europe, with slogans such as “Nicht die Bank deines Opas” (“Not your grandad’s bank”) and “F¥€K Fees”.
It is also joining rivals such as Revolut in making a play for the US market, which is going to be no easy feat (other neobanks in the US have had limited success).
It’s been less plain sailing for N26 in Germany though, with the company coming under recent scrutiny from BaFin, the German financial authority, for falling behind on anti-money laundering processes.
Rivals, most notably Revolut, have also come under similar scrutiny. N26 is competing with the likes of Monzo and Revolut, but they all share a core long-term challenge: persuading customers to switch to them as their main bank.
Now it is so much more, thanks in part to an acquisition-heavy strategy that has seen it expand into a wider range of financial products. In 2018, the company expanded into longer-term investments thanks to a partnership with Vanguard and in 2019 it bought pension specialist Fairr.
Raisin says it considered building its own pensions product but concluded it would take two to three years to do. Fairr, founded in 2013, has already developed a dashboard to make the complex German pensions system easier for customers to understand. Fairr was the second acquisition for Raisin in 2019, following the acquisition of MHP-Bank in March.
The company, which is led by Tamaz Georgadze, is feeling pretty plump with cash after raising €25m from Goldman Sachs in August 2019 on top of a €100m Series D round three months before. Business-wise, Raisin now has more than 84 partner banks from 24 countries and eight platforms covering all of Europe and the UK.
Frank Freund, cofounder and chief financial officer, told Sifted earlier in 2019 that the company was eyeing up the retirement market for potential businesses to buy next. One of the big questions for the company is how well it can execute on its acquisition strategy. The company’s US platform launch is also planned for 2020.
Startups in industries such as travel, co-working and events are likely to be particularly impacted by the ongoing implications of the coronavirus pandemic
Mixing artificial intelligence and machine learning with the occasional human travel agent, Comtravo hopes to automate the business travel booking process. Founded in 2015, the company has already automated 60% of the process. Next year, the company has its eyes set on automating 80% of the process.
Essentially, with Comtravo, users can send an email with their ideal travel itinerary and the technology behind the platform will translate it into a booking. Comtravo also has an online booking tool.
Led by Michael Riegel, Comtravo is also one of Germany’s fastest-growing startups. It currently employs 130 people. In November 2018, according to Dealroom, the company only had 63 employees.
In Autumn 2019, the company got a €21m boost in Series B funding from backers like Deutsche Bank and Endeit Capital. With this money, the company hopes to continue its growth and automate more of the booking processes.
Founded by the charismatic Naren Shaam, the startup has been a hit, winning more than 27m monthly users and 800 partners. In October 2018, it raised $150m in investment, one of Germany’s biggest investment rounds.
Earlier in 2019 the company changed its name to Omio (it had been GoEuro) and said it was planning expansion into new markets including South America, Asia and the US. But each one of these would be a risky undertaking. The company now has some expertise in integrating with transport providers, but will that be enough?
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