30 German-based Company Builders
In our previous articles, we’ve covered the concept of company builders, explained its specifics, history, and origins. Continuing our research on this topic, we’ve discovered that there is no complete database covering German-based Company Builders. Therefore, this blgogpost offers an extensive list of German Company Builders clustered by location and industry focus. For each company builder portrayed below, we gathered some basic information (founders and the founding date, projects, focus sphere and successful projects)*.
Rocket Internet was founded in 2007 by the infamous Samwer borthers Marc, Oliver, and Alexander. Rocket is mainly focuses on e-commerce in the Food, Home&Living, Travel, and Fashion industries. It has more than 28,000 employees across its worldwide network of companies, which consists of over 100 entities active in 110 countries. The most known ventures of Rocket Internet: Delivery Hero, Hello Fresh, Jumia, Zalando.
Founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Jan Beckers, HitFox Group is a global company builder with offices in Europe, Asia and the USA. The team behind HitFox has proven that it’s possible to conquer Asia and Silicon Valley with technology made in Berlin. The company is managing several platforms, including Heartbeat Labs (HealthTech), FinLeap (FinTech) and HitFox AdTech.
FinLeap is a FinTech company builder that belongs to HitFox Group. It was founded in 2014 by Hendrik Krawinkel, Jan Beckers and Ramin Niroumand. The company has built many financial B2B solutions, such as BillFront (finance provider for digital media), Valendo (smart financing solution for SMEs), FinanceAds International (Affiliate Network for Banks, Insurers and FinTechs), Savedo (cash investment marketplace).
Makers has been building ventures in FinTech, AdTech and Internet since 2013 when it was founded by Friedrich A. Neuman. In October 2017 the company was acquired by Deloitte. On Makers’ list of ventures are, among others, Factory (the biggest startup community in Berlin), Bunch (software analysing companies’ culture), IconPeak (mobile advertising platform).
Founded by Dr. Christian Lüdtke, Philipp Depiereux, Philipp Herrmann, etventure builds startups (POSpulse, mobilejob) and digital units for corporates (Klöckner & Co SE, SMS group) since 2010. In October 2017, etventure became a part of auditing and consulting company EY (Ernst & Young) and is still managed by the founders.
FoundersLink GmbH is a European pioneer in venture creation. The company was founded in 2007 by Oliver Beste and Fabian Hansmann. The company focuses on FinTech and B2B solutions, among which are swabr – secure microblogging platform for corporations, Steganos – leading vendor of security software, RatePAY – online payment solution.
Project A was founded in 2012 by a group of partners (Anton Waitz, Christian Weiss, Florian Heinemann, Thies Sander, Uwe Horstmann). Their portfolio includes companies such as Catawiki (online auctions), WorldRemit (money transfer), Tictail (world-wide marketplace), Spryker (commerce technology) and ZenMate (VPN solution).
Next Big Thing AG is a company builder focused on IoT and Blockchain. NBT was founded in 2016 by Harald Zapp, Michael Bommer, and Maik Käbisch. As an operational VC, incubator, and accelerator of ventures across industries, NBT provides mentorship and seed funding. Startups include assistr in Healthcare, Weeve in blockchain technology, and METR in PropTech.
Finparx is a FinTech studio that belongs to Rumford (Munich, 2005) founded by Nikolaus von Taysen in 2016. Driven by financial intelligence and smart cookies they are building ventures improving daily life, global trade, social community, open society and banking experience. Two of their ventures were sold to global corporations: Payolution (sold to Paysafe) and PAY.ON (sold to ACI).
Venture Building is only one of many services offered by Rainmaking, along with Startup Bootcamp and Rainmaking Lofts. The company was founded in 2006 and now has offices in Berlin, London, New York and other capitals all over the world. Rainmaking has built over 25 startups. Rainmaking is focussing on Digital, Internet, Adtech and Medtech spheres. To its portfolio belong Takumi (Instagram-influencer agency), Sendworks (shipping solution) and BetterNow (fundraising solution).
WATTx is a company builder founded in 2015 by Bastian Bergmann. WATTx is focused on shaping new and rapidly evolving industries. The company create deep tech products and companies that solve industrial problems, with a user-centric approach. Their portfolio includes Snuk – open IoT infrastructure platform, statice – data anonymization software, loopstock – automated inventory management for hospitals.
Covus is a company builder founded in 2003. It currently has 10 active ventures: Covus’ best known product is Europe’s leading browser games brand Browsergames.de. The company focuses on data driven technologies and has developed such startups as Gutscheincodes (voucher codes platform), Adex (decentralized ad network), Probo (digital print), Freemium (freeware products).
Otto Group Digital Solutions founded in 2016 owns two startup building units – Liquid Labs (FinTech and logistics) and INTO-e (E-Commerce).
Liquid Labs focuses on Finance, Logistics and Payments. To their portfolio belong such projects as Collect AI (receivables management technology), Border Guru (world-wide logistic solution), RiskIdent (fraud protection). INTO-e develops innovative concepts and technology-based prototypes along the entire online retail industry.
Main Incubator is a Commerzbank subsidiary founded in 2014. The company is an early stage investor and a company builder focusing on FinTech. Bilendo (claims management platform), Grover (new technology lending service), OpenAsApp (app creator).
black chili was founded in 2014 by Recai Gündüz. The company runs new businesses on behalf of its clients and also performs as a company builder itself managing such projects as die berateragenten (outsourse platform), start zero (Startup Ecosystem Booster), Deutsche Gründerakademie (startup academy).
Being a 100% subsidiary of Bosch corporation, Grow focuses on IoT, Robotics, Agriculture and many other spheres. The company was founded in 2013, its most notable projects are: CERIX (technical ceramics), Deepfield Robotics (agricultural machinery), Mayfield Robotics (home robots), myScotty (car-, scooter- and bike-sharing), ZENOWAY (logistics).
Summarizing, we may notice that almost all the company builders were founded in the last decade, most of them in the last 5 years. That clearly identifies the company builder boom in Germany. This model tends to be more popular for independent founders. While most of the corporations focus on the model of incubator, there is still a wide field of opportunities for them to develop in company building.
Authors: Bastian Halecker, Nina Smolnikova, Oliver Kullik, Florian Lorisch, Patric Rexhausen
*Please, contact us if you noticed a mistake or would like to contribute to our research – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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