Record sums for Berlin start-ups: “It's downright crazy at the moment”

€100 million for a food start-up, €45 million for dental tech - investment is pouring into Berlin

Dental splint start-up Plusdental recently raised €35m.
Dental splint start-up Plusdental recently raised €35m.Photo: imago/Shotshop

Berlin-Even the experts were caught off guard by the millions flowing into Berlin start-ups. 

“The scene in Germany and in Berlin has been on its way to new records since the summer of 2020,” says Thomas Prüver, who specialises in new companies at management consultancy EY.

Arnas Bräutigam, who runs, concludes: “It's crazy how many start-ups are currently being financed in Berlin.”

On Tuesday, Grover, the high-tech equipment rental start-up, announced that it had raised €45m in a financing round. Just days ealier, it was announced that dental splint start-up Plusdental had received about €35m; German footballer Mario Götze, goal scorer in the World Cup final against Argentina, was also involved.

Then there was the €82m that went into software start-up Camunda and the €100m raised by indoor farming company Infarm.

Bräutigam has crunched the numbers. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, 97 start-ups secured VC investment. “By comparison, in the fourth quarter of last year, which was also already strong, there were only 80 such start-ups, 17 fewer,” Bräutigam told the Berliner Zeitung.

Management consultant Prüver says the initial uncertainty caused by Covid has been overcome, despite the ongoing lockdown. He has observed that potential investors inculde an increasing number of SPACs or special purpose acquisition companies, which are mainly listed in the US and are very interested in German scale-ups, i.e. young companies with a proven business model that require capital for rapid growth.

So what's next for Berlin? Prüver's forecast: “Berlin is devloping into the essential start-up location in Germany. New large corporate investments in Berlin and the surrounding area will reinforce this trend in the future.” The arrival of Tesla has a lot to do with it, but not just.

High investment can be seen across the country. “Unicorn mania. Why are start-up valuations exploding right now?” asked Gründerszene. Unicorns - companies valued at more than €1bn  - have been popping up constantly in recent weeks, according to the site. The site mentions fintech platform Mambu, HR start-up Personio and the freight company Sennder. The drinks delivery service Flaschenpost was acquired for €1bn, as were business software company Signavio and the adtech firm Adjust.

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