Startups in Germany


In the last five years, Germany has emerged as one of the leading startup countries in the world. Berlin, with its affordable housing and creative environment, is the startup capital of the country. In 2015, venture capitalists invested over €3 billion in startups in Germany. What’s Up, Germany? highlights five popular startups that have put Germany on the map as a startup nation.


Democratising Music Distribution

With more than 175 million monthly listeners, this audio uploading and streaming site has changed the way musicians and DJs across the globe share music. An average of 12 hours of audio is uploaded on SoundCloud every minute!

Coolness factor: Discover independent artists, original mixes and new talent on the go.

Mister Spex

I Can See Clearly Now!

Buying customised glasses and contact lenses online was considered impossible until Mister Spex launched in 2008. Within seven years, the company had 1.5 million happy clients and a presence in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Coolness factor: Collaboration instead of competition! Mister Spex works together with local opticians so that its users can adjust their eyewear at shops. This combination of online and traditional shopping is unique in the e-commerce landscape.


Selfie Video App

Lip-sync fever has hit India—including Bollywood—via Dubsmash! Funny dubbed selfie videos of Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and Salman Khan are all over social media. This app has already been downloaded more than 50 million times!

Coolness factor: Quirky Dubsmash-led brand campaigns by companies like OYO Rooms and Kingfisher.


The Easiest Way to Get Things Done

This free cloud-based task management application allows its 13 million users to create to-do lists on their phones, desktops and tablets. The startup 6Wunderkinder developed Wunderlist and had a fairy-tale exit in 2014: it was acquired by Microsoft for a reported $100–200 million.

Coolness factor: Wunderlist allows its users to share their to-do lists—perfect to ensure that your brother cleans the family car, and not you!


Learning New Languages Online

Inspired by the biblical Tower of Babel, this e-learning company set out to make learning languages easy and accessible. Founded in 2007, Babbel currently offers 14 languages and caters to one million users. The team has won many awards and much appreciation from its users.

Coolness factor: Recent studies suggest that a person’s overall attractiveness increases if he/she can speak several languages. Enough said!

sigmar-gabriel-german-ministerEntrepreneurs put new ideas into practice and create jobs. Our start-ups attract a lot of attention in the rest of the world, but Germany’s venture capital market is still too small in comparison with the strength of our economy. We therefore need to improve the policy environment and make our country more attractive for venture capital. Companies need it if they are to be able to launch their innovative technologies on the market. This is why we have teamed up with the EIF [European Investment Fund] and KfW [German Development Bank] and set out on a new path. Together we want to broaden the range of funding instruments and mobilise more private equity.
— Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy

Image: © Michael Gottschalk/