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Trend & Innovation Scouting

The Digital Hub Initiative

Germany is establishing itself as a first-choice investment location for foreign investors. Become a part of The Digital Hub Initiative! Contact us now to find out how!

The Digital Hub Initiative

  • promotes new digital business models and a strong culture of innovation.

    Here is how: By bringing together the expertise of established companies with innovative start-up concepts and scientific excellence.

  • comprises of 12 Digital Hubs, each with different fields of expertise and focus areas.

    What's the point? By networking these hubs with each other and with national and international experts from business, science and society, the Initiative drives the digitalization of core areas of the German economy. German digital companies are among the world’s most valuable, while traditional corporations and SMEs continue to lead the markets and are at the forefront of digital development in their industries too.

"Our Trend & Innovation Scouts help foreign investors find the perfect place to settle and become a part of the Digital Hub Initiative here in Germany." 

Josefina Nungesser / Director of Trend & Innovation Scouting

Growth in Times of Crisis

Germany proves a reliable location for start-ups amidst the corona pandemic.

Corona crisis affecting Germany's start-ups

The coronavirus crisis has changed the German start-up landscape: Nine out of ten companies have been affected economically, and over 70 percent fear for their existence - these are the results of a study by the German Startups Association. It found that the crisis is already impacting the entire breadth of the German start-up ecosystem, especially the human resources and tourism segments.

The study also shows start-ups being affected no matter what phase they are in. Smaller companies suffer from the lack of customer contact due to cancelled trade fairs and events, while large start-ups with many employees are primarily concerned about sales, liquidity and future financing. The global market has always filtered out weaker start-ups - a process that will intensify because of the crisis. One result, however, will be less competition. Technology start-ups able to complete financing rounds in this environment will have an advantage.

Governmental support measures: two pillar concept

The federal government is trying to ease the situation with a package of more than two billion euros aimed specifically at German start-ups. The initiative was announced on April 1, 2020, and over the past few weeks, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Ministry of Finance have worked out the details together with the KfW Banking Group and KfW Capital. "Covid 19 must not be allowed to slow the growth of our highly innovative companies," said Thomas Jarzombek, the BMWi’s point man on the digital economy and start-ups. “That is why we have worked hard to ensure that the two-billion-euro package of measures is ready and can now be accessed by start-ups and small and medium-sized companies. This is how we secure jobs and innovation in Germany."

The package of measures is based on two so-called pillars: In Pillar 1, called the “Corona Matching Facility,” the government provides additional monies to venture capital funds so that investors can finance highly innovative and future-oriented start-ups despite the crisis. The idea is to protect young companies’ growth during their development phases. The Corona Matching Facility uses existing cooperation with public partners such as KfW Capital and the European Investment Fund to quickly make public support available to start-ups via venture capital funds.

Pillar 2 is aimed at start-ups and small and medium-sized companies without access to the corona matching facility. It opens up further ways of securing financing. To this end, there will be close cooperation with Germany’s 16 regional states, particularly via their investment authorities.

Taking advantage of accelerator programs

The Digital Hub Initiative and its network have also adapted many existing structures. Enabling start-ups, for example, to participate in accelerator programs like the top-ranked SpinLab - the HHL Accelerator in Leipzig. Within six weeks, the accelerator team went over to a digital format. That allows eight innovative teams to continue to work on energy, smart infrastructure and e-health topics in the coming semester. During the six-months program, startups receive help from a broad network of partners, investors, mentors and coaches in order to set up successful cooperation projects. The aim is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in start-up funding in Leipzig and beyond.

Stability in start-up location Germany

These various measures illustrate Germany’s reliability as an international start-up location. Conversely, start-ups represent a core strength of Germany’s future-oriented and competitive economy.

The Corona crisis has had differing impacts on various parts of Germany’s start-up landscape: Whereas travel and mobility start-ups have suffered sharp drops in sales, business software developers have thus far only experienced slower growth. Other segments such as collaboration tools or e-health even have good prospects of emerging from the crisis stronger. During the crisis, digital business models have proven remarkably robust.

The German start-up ecosystem will not disappear – that much is already evident. Compared with other actors in the economy, entrepreneurs and investors will be empowered and emerge from the crisis more quickly. The hope is that young tech companies will become even more central to the overall economy because they are more engaged in innovation and change and more adaptable than other sectors of the economy.

Digital Hub Hamburg

As Covid-19 is taking the world by storm, entire process chains and business areas are paralyzed. At the same time, the logistics industry is working at full speed to secure an adequate supply of supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals and other critical industries. Thus, now is not the time to raise the white innovation flag - quite the contrary!

And for that reason the Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg launched the Fast Mover Support campaign; to inspire Startups to come up with solutions to improve the currents situation. The Fast Mover Support include three areas of innovation: Last Mile & Retail, Global Supply Chain and Health Infrastructure. A jury - consisting of various experts from official Hub Partners - selected the winner of each category. The three winning Startups received 3000 Euros to further support their ideas.

Digital Hub Hamburg

Breeze: indoor air quality

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Breeze is developing the future of environmental sensing and analysis software. Their miniature air quality sensors measure all important pollutants - for example soot, nitrogen oxides, ozone, fine dust and many more.

Find our more about Breeze

NautilusLog: digital logbook for shipping

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NautilusLog is a digital logbook adapted to the needs of the maritime industry. Especially in times of Covid-19  the relevance of such digital solutions becomes apparent once again.

Find out more about NautilusLog

BOXXPORT: best container prices


BOXXPORT brings it all together to help you buy, sell, lease, auction and manage your containers online.

Find out more about BOXXPORT

CloseLink: technology for the maritime industry

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CloseLink is an online procurement platform for leading ship supplies. The platform combines an online software to optimize operations with a broad network of suppliers globally – no face to face contact necessary. 

Find our more about CloseLink

DuckTrain: shaping future transportation

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Ducktrain elevates short haul logistics to a new level of efficiency:  it's electric, automated, flexible and highly maneuverable – this offers many advantages, particularly in times of Covid-19.

Find out more about DuckTrain

Digital Hub Leipzig

Find out more about the start-ups from the Smart Infrastructure Hub in Leipzig. The hub focuses on energy, smart city and e-health and connects academia, corporates and startups.

Digital Hub Leipzig

Air-Q and Solaga: healthy air in the home office

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Class 8 alumni air-Q has developed a smart device for monitoring air quality, and notifying you of potential harmful impurities in your air. Meanwhile class 9 alumni Solaga has developed a picture frame containing natural algae, which can actively clean the air in your space.

Logo of Solaga Logo of Solaga | © Solaga

The combination of both innovations delivers better air quality indoors.

Find our more about

Keleya: Pregnancy App

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Not only do you have to keep yourself and others safe, you have to ensure the well-being of that baby developing inside your body.
Class 6 alumni Keleya is a Berlin-based startup that has developed an app to help coach you through the phases of pregnancy.

Find out more about Keleya

Mementor: sleep better in sleepless times

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In these sleepless times, it is important to ensure that our immune system works optimally. A good night's sleep is a key prerequisite for this. mementor has developed an online training developed by sleep researchers that helps to cope with sleep disorders: A clinical study shows that problems with falling asleep and staying asleep can be successfully treated with the digital application.

Find out more about mementor

Mindance: Well-being in difficult times

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In a world that is currently only breeding chaos, well-being is no longer a matter of course.
Class 6 alumni MINDANCE has developed an app that focuses on helping people achieve more mindfulness and strength mental health.

Find our more about MINDANCE

Tex-lock: bicycle lock made of high-tech fibers

Logo of Texlock GmbH Logo of Texlock GmbH | © 2020 Texlock GmbH

Class 4 Alumni Tex-lock has developed a bicycle lock made of high-tech fibers. The ART 2 security certified lock carries many obvious advantages: soft surfaces protect the bicycle frame, and the high flexibility allows secure connections to solid objects.
Tex-lock bicycle locks are manufactured in Leipzig, and the company is one of the few startups with a female founding team.

Find out more about tex-lock

Vizzlo: The graph to communicate every idea from the homeoffice

Logo of Vizzlo GmbH Logo of Vizzlo GmbH | © Vizzlo GmbH

Vizzlo is a class 3 alumni that has developed a SaaS product to help create beautiful graphics and charts, in much less time than traditional products such as PowerPoint.
We don’t know how long we’re going to be in this mess. From the simplest pie chart to complex data visualizations, Vizzlo has the graph to communicate every idea from the Homeoffice.

Find out more about vizzlo

Introducing The Digital Hub Initiative

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  • The Digital Hub Initiative aims to position Germany as a globally leading digital ecosystem.

    Combining the innovative approach of entrepreneurs and startup talents with the profound resources and skills of established enterprises, the initiative creates digital business opportunities and adds cultural and economic value to both established and growing businesses.

  • The Digital Hub Initiative links together various fields of technological and economic expertise, rooted in twelve digital hubs across Germany.

    Each hub constitutes a unique innovation hotspot. Here, entrepreneurs, startups, corporations and research facilities cooperate to develop concrete programs for the challenges of the digital age. Together the twelve digital hubs form a strong network, enabling the exchange of experts, programmes and ideas.

  • The Digital Hub Initiative strives to build innovative solutions and bring economic growth driven by strong market expertise.

    Its goal is to strengthen Germany’s position as a world-leading digital economy, whilst enabling international talents to realise their business ideas and inviting global companies to invest in the digital innovation built within this network.

The Digital Hubs of Germany

The Digital Hub Initiative hosts a total of 12 hubs. They are spread all over Germany with a specific industrial focus:

Digital Hubs Map
Digital Hubs Map | © RCKT





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