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Start-Up Innovation News | June 2022

Germany's innovative start-ups are proving a success amongst international investors as well as creating smart AI solutions to address the different issues of the day.

Chrono24 plans stock market floatation

Luxury watch platform Chrono24 is planning a stock market floatation with an initial public offering next year according to media reports. Established in 2003 in Karlsruhe, the platform currently boasts around 20 million monthly users and hosts 20 thousand dealers and private sellers in the booming luxury segment. The company raised EUR 100 million in a funding round in August of last year.

82-year-old Berliner wins EUR 60,000 prize

A Berlin-based 82-year-old has won a EUR 60,000 prize awarded by the Körber-Stiftung that recognizes solutions to social challenges of our time. This year’s Zugabe-Preis (“Encore Prize”) was awarded to Gisela-Elisabeth Winkler in recognition of her company’s underwear developed for people with limited mobility. Winkler came up with the idea together with her sister when she was 70 year after a serious illness had affected her husband. The company’s products use hook and loop fasteners to help patients dress and undress themselves independently. Saba Wäsche now sells its patented product line across Europe and cooperates with numerous nursing services and physiotherapy practices.

German start-ups high on global M&A shopping lists

Interest in young German start-ups remains high according to an Ernst & Young study. Innovative companies – and software firms in particular – are high on the shopping list of international corporations and venture financiers despite the ongoing war in Ukraine. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving German start-ups rose to 171 by 90 percent in 2021, with more than two thirds of the transactions coming from international investors. “Venture capital in German start-ups has significantly increased in the past years to a new peak. Within Europe, Germany was able to generate the highest investment volume after the United Kingdom,” says Almut Weigel, Trend & Innovation Scouting manager at Germany Trade & Invest and in charge of internationalizing Germany’s Digital Hub Initiative. North American groups in particular are very active in the market, with 52 US acquisitions made in 2021, followed by 49 European buy-outs and three Asian takeovers.

Start-ups turn new EU CO2 emissions law into business model

A proposed European Union reform that could see companies have to measure their CO2 emissions from 2023 is being turned into a new business model by German start-ups. The new law would see companies with 250 employees or more be required to measure their CO2 emission levels as part of a contribution requirement as part of environmental, social and responsible corporate governance reporting. Founded in 2019, Planetly has developed software that allows firms to measure their carbon footprint. The company was acquired last year by US software company One Trust with plans to open up new distribution channels including the US. AllocNow, a member of the 5-HT Digital Hub Chemistry & Health in Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, has developed an SaaS solution that helps chemical companies integrate CO2 management into their business model. The company recently secured fresh capital in the seven-digit range as part of a financing round in June.

Rewarding climate friendly business travel

A Munich start-up has developed a software solution that rewards employees for climate friendly business travel. Eco.mio, a member company of the Digital Hub Initiative, helps businesses achieve their climate goals while reducing travel costs by up to 20 percent. Travel alternatives that are cheaper or more CO2-efficient than standard are highlighted with promising rewards incentivizing employees to make more eco-conscious business trips. The monthly subscription service currently has a number of high-volume clients but the start-up plans to expand the solution to smaller and medium-sized companies. Eco.mio was supported by UnternehmerTUM, one of Germany’s biggest centers for company founding and innovation and part of the Digital Hub Initiative. UnternehmerTUM introduced Eco.mio to various contacts and accompanied the start-up’s national and international networking activities.

AI apps for better mental health and digital mindfulness

Two start-ups are using artificial intelligence (AI) to promote increased mental health and digital mindfulness. Not Less But Better’s “Notion” app supports healthy smartphone usage and the avoidance of bad digital habits. Using mobile intervention based on cognitive behavioral and acceptance and commitment therapy methods, the award-winning app has been specifically tailored to address problematic smartphone use. Berlin start-up Clare & Me has launched an AI-based human-like “mental health companion” app that uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for better mental health. The company founders aim to close the gap between demand for therapy and the scarcity of available psychotherapists.

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