News

Alumni Startup Wisefood receives a seven-digit financing!

Our batch #10 alumni startup Wisefood has successfully completed their Series A financing round!

The company receives a seven-figure sum from several private investors. Wisefood intends to use the funding to expand their plastic-alternative product portfolio to other sustainable items in addition to their edible drinking straws. Last year they replaced more than 50 million plastic straws with their edible “Superhalm” straws which are made completely out of renewable materials. During our program the company worked together with our corporate partner ALDI and they have continued their cooperation since – Superhalm straws can be found in more than 4,200 ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD branches throughout Germany! The company is now planning to export to other countries as well.

Congratulations to Wisefood and all the best for their future!

Read @Munich Startup’s article about Wisefood’s financing round and future plans here (in German): https://www.munich-startup.de/58993/series-a-finanzierung-wisefood/

And more about Wisefood’s products here: https://www.wisefood.eu/

UPDATE: STARTUPS IN FINANCIAL CRISIS

Edited 31/03/2020 14:19 . Added section: Baden-Württemberg: Soforthilfe Corona. 

Since our last week’s post, there has been some new developments on where and how startups and other small businesses  (in Germany) can find financial aid during the Corona crisis. See our previous post, and find the current updates from the states below:
Thuringia: Corona Soforthilfeprogramm Thüringen 
The state’s Emergency aid program Corona 2020 is aimed at companies with up to 50
employees. The funding amounts depend on the number of the employees:
Max. 5 employees: up to €5,000
6-10 employees: up to €10,000
11-25 employees: up to €20,000
Max. 50 employees: €30,000.
Find more information and application form
here: https://www.aufbaubank.de/Foerderprogramme/Corona-Soforthilfe-2020#foerderzweckLower Saxony: Niedersachsen Soforthilfe Corona 
Companies with up to 50 employees whose business is based in Lower Saxony can apply for
financial assistance from the NBank.  The immediate aid amount depends on the number of
employees in the company:
Max. 5 employee: up to €3,000
Max. 10 employees: up to €5,000
Max. 30 employees: up to €10 000
Max. 49 employees: up to €20 000.
More information and application form: https://www.nbank.de/Unternehmen/Investition-Wachstum/Niedersachsen-Soforthilfe-Corona/index.jsp

Saarland: Kleinunternehmer Soforthilfe Saarland 
The state government is providing €30 million for the emergency aid program. Self-employed
persons and small companies with maximum of ten employees can receive up to €10.000
depending on the number of employees in the company.
Find more information and application form here: https://www.saarland.de/SID-76580231-D073887B/254842.htm 

Brandenburg: Soforthilfe Corona Brandeburg
Companies with up to 100 employees whose business is based in Brandenburg can apply for
financial assistance from the Investment Bank of Brandenburg (Investitionsbank des Landes
Brandenburg).
The immediate aid is granted according to the number of employees:
Max. 5 employees: up to €9,000
Max. 15 employees: up to €15,000 EUR
Max. 50 employees: up to €30,000

Max. 100 employees: up to €60 000.
More information and application form: https://www.ilb.de/de/wirtschaft/zuschuesse/soforthilfe-corona-brandenburg/

Baden-Württemberg: Soforthilfe Corona

The Ministry for Economics and Labour supports companies affected by the corona pandemic with a non-repayable grant. The grant is graduated according to the number of employees in the company:

Max. 5 employees: up to €9,000
Max. 10 employees: upt to €15,000
Max. 50 employees: up to €30,000.

More information and application form: https://wm.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/service/foerderprogramme-und-aufrufe/liste-foerderprogramme/soforthilfe-corona/

 

INFORMATION FOR STARTUPS IN FINANCIAL CRISIS DUE TO COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the majority of Europeans to stay home. Already now, the economic impact of the crisis is leaving startups agitated about how to financially survive during this time. We have collected useful information and links about which actions are being taken (in Germany) to help startups to survive and where you can seek financial support during this crisis. Please take in notice that this post has been written based on the current released information and can change over time.  Summary at the end of the post.

MEASUREMENTS BY THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT

The German government is acting against the economic impact of the coronavirus with measures to protect jobs and to support companies. The goal is to equip businesses with enough liquidity that they will be able to make it through the crisis in good shape. Current and planned measurements at this point are:

Short-time compensation (Kurzarbeitergeld) more flexible

April, the rules on reduced hours compensation benefit will be adapted to suit current needs. In companies where the reduction of working hours affects at least 10% of the employees, the company can request a short-time compensation by the Federal Employment Agency. Previously, the reduction of working hours had to affect at least 1/3 of employees to be eligible to receive compensation. Reduced hours compensation benefits will also be available to temporary/agency workers.

You can find more information on how to request the short-time compensation by the Federal Employment Agency here.

Tax-related liquidity assistance

Granting tax referrals will be easier. Postponing the timing of tax payments will support taxpayers’ liquidity, and as soon as it becomes clear that a taxpayer’s income in the current year is expected to be lower than in the previous year, tax prepayments will be reduced in a swift and straightforward manner. Enforcement measures (e.g. attachment of bank accounts) and late-payment penalties will be waived until 31 December 2020 if the debtor of a pending tax payment is directly affected by the coronavirus.

In order to take advantage of the measures, startups should contact their local tax office.

Financial aid

Many businesses are currently suffering from declines in turnover that are not their fault, either because of disruptions to supply chains or significant drops in demand in many sectors of the German economy. At the same time, operating costs often cannot be reduced, or can be reduced only slowly.

Existing liquidity assistance programmes will be expanded to make it easier for companies to access cheap loans. Conditions for the ERP-Gründerkredit-Universell (startup loan for companies that are less than 5 years old) will be loosened by raising the level of risk assumptions (indemnity) for operating loans and extending these instruments to large enterprises with a turnover of up to €2 billion. Higher risk assumptions of up to 80% for operating loans of up to €200 million will increase banks’ willingness to extend credit.

To access the ERP Gründerkredit, startups should contact their local bank.

For more information regarding the ERP Gründerkredit see the KFW Homepage.

 

What can I do if my company is threatened with insolvency until liquidity assistance is paid out?

To avoid that affected companies must file for insolvency because liquidity assistance does not reach them in time, the regular three-week obligation to file for insolvency is suspended until 30 September 2020.

 

SOME STATES HAVE TAKEN ADDITIONAL MEASURES OR FACILITATED ACCESS TO LOANS TO SUPPORT LOCAL COMPANIES

Bavaria (Soforthilfe Corona Bayern)

The support program is aimed at Bavarian companies with up to 250 employees. Companies with up to five employees can receive 5,000€, up to ten employees 7,500€, up to 50 employees 15,000€, up to 250 employees 30,000€.

More information and application form: https://www.stmwi.bayern.de/soforthilfe-corona/

North Rhine-Westphalia

Small companies and startups can apply for equity capital of up to 75,000€ directly from the fund “Mikromezzaninfonds” at the Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaft (KBG) in Neuss. The company does not have to provide collateral for this.

More information and application form:

https://www.kbgnrw.de/de/produkte/mikromezzaninfonds/

Berlin

Companies affected by the corona crisis can apply for bridging loans via the Investitionsbank Berlin. For this purpose, the Senate has made 100 million euros available.

Application form and more information:

https://www.ibb.de/de/wirtschaftsfoerderung/themen/coronavirus/corona-liquiditaets-engpaesse.html

Hamburg

Through the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB Hamburg) and the Bürgschaftsgemeinschaft Hamburg (BG Hamburg), the City of Hamburg offers several funding instruments to support particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

More information regarding the initiatives: https://www.ifbhh.de/magazin/news/coronavirus-hilfen-fuer-unternehmen

 

OTHER

German government organizes hackathon.

Germany’s Social Impact Hubs & the government are jointly organizing a hackathon focused on non-medical solutions needed in such a crisis on March 20-22. Read more and apply here: https://wirvsvirushackathon.org/

 

GERMAN STARTUP ASSOCIATION

The Bundesverband deutsche Startups e.V. keep startups updated regarding best practices and financing and liquidity support. They are also organizing online Q&A sessions and roundtables for startups.

SUMMARY

Measurements by the German government:

• Conditions for the ERP-Gründerkredit-Universell (startup loan for companies that are less than five years old) will be loosened by raising the level of risk assumptions for operating loans. https://www.kfw.de/inlandsfoerderung/Unternehmen/Gr%C3%BCnden-Nachfolgen/F%C3%B6rderprodukte/ERP-Gr%C3%BCnderkredit-Universell-(073_074_075_076)/

• Companies can request to defer tax payments. To take advantage of the measures, startups should contact their local tax office as soon as possible.

• Germany voted in a law expanding its short-time work scheme called “Kurzarbeit”. Under it, companies that implement reduced hours for their workers can receive state support. This gives businesses an alternative to direct layoffs of the employees. More information on how to request the short-time compensation by the Federal Employment Agency: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/unternehmen/finanziell/kurzarbeitergeld-bei-entgeltausfall

• There are plans to change bankruptcy rules, or at least suspend them for several months, to give companies more leeway on the obligation to file for bankruptcy. We will keep you updated on this as soon as there is any news.

•  Some states have taken additional measures or facilitate access to loans to support local companies (read more below).

German Startups Association:

•   The Bundesverband deutsche Startups e.V. keeps startups updated regarding best practices and financing and liquidity support. They are also organizing online Q&A sessions and round tables for startups.

The Startup Corona Handbook

Alumni Startup GBatteries receives up to $3million in funding

Photo by Mark Holleron

Congratulations to our Alumni Startup GBatteries from Batch #6 for receiving impressive seven-figure funding through the Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada program!

GBatteries uses artificial intelligence to optimize a battery’s rate of charge, and their mission is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, by enabling electric vehicles to charge as fast as it takes to fill a tank of gas. Their drive towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions has even been noted by Bill Gates on Twitter.

Alumni Startup Passage AI acquired by ServiceNow

Congratulations to our alumni startup Passage AI from Batch #9 for being acquired by ServiceNow!

ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire Passage AI, a conversational artificial intelligence platform that lets clients build chatbots in multiple languages. The platform gives ServiceNow an automated way to respond to customer inquiries.

ServiceNow expects to complete the acquisition by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Kick-off Pitch Event

On Wednesday our eight new startups pitched for the first time in front of our TechFounders mentors. Audience was clearly impressed by the interesting and groundbreaking developments and inventions that the teams presented, from solutions that enable hydraulic systems to be replaced by electromechanical ones to AI-powered software for improved recruitment processes . After the presentations, the startups had the chance to network with the guests and find mentors to help them on their startup journey.

From this basis, we will work together to polish these pitches into diamonds for Demo Day in May, where the startups will present their companies in front of 250+ investors, industry representatives and the press. It has been an exciting week and it’s only the beginning: in the upcoming 20 weeks the teams will get into different trainings and coachings to build their business model, improve their marketing strategies, learn more about HR and IP topics, and connect with successful CEOs and CTOs.”

 

Welcome Batch #11!

Hundreds and hundreds of applications, thorough discussions and intriguing pitch events – We are more than excited to present the selected startups that we have the pleasure to coach and work together with the next 20 weeks.

Before meeting with our corporate partners and participating in all the workshops and coaching sessions, we wanted to welcome the new batch into our program by going for a hike together in beautiful Spitzingsee. After enjoying traditional Bavarian dinner and some beverages in a mountain hut, we raced our way down the snowy hill with sleds. See some impressions of the day below!

You can read more about our new batch on our “Current Startup” -page, and for more insight about our ongoing program and the startups journey with us, we suggest you to follow us in Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ll be posting individual introductions about our new startups throughout the upcoming weeks.

We can’t wait to see what success stories these startups will turn into!

You can the read press release about our new batch (in German) here.

The English version of the press release you can read here: PressRelease_Batch#11_EN

 

Alumni Startup Volabo receives a seven-digit financing

Congratulations to our alumni startup Volabo from Batch #8 for receiving a seven-digit Series A financing!

After being self-financed since its foundation in 2016, the company from Ottobrunn today announced its first round of financing. The family-owned Hechinger Group is investing in the Munich-based startup and the funding will be used in product development for entering the boat market. The company is developing a new drive technology, the Intelligent Stator Cage Drive (ISCAD), which is cheaper to produce than comparable electric drives, eco-friendlier and still keeps its efficiency.

We wish them all the best for the future!

Batch #10 Demo Day Brings Startup Community Together in Munich

Yesterday, the final and concluding event of the TechFounders Batch #10, the Demo Day, took place at the event location “Hoch5” in Munich. The event brought together more than 200 people from the startup ecosystem, including venture capitalists, business angels, corporates, startups, startup coaches and mentors as well as innovation and digitalization experts from all kinds of industries.

First, the ten startups of Batch #10 presented their innovative products and solutions. (find out more about Batch #10 here )

After the startup pitches, Prof. Dr. Dr. Ann-Kristin Achleitner (Professor at TUM School of Management), Dr. Gregor Matthies (Venture Partner Earlybird / Senior Advisor Bain & Company), Andreas Kunze (CEO & Co-Founder of Konux) and Kristina Bell (Group Buying Director, ALDI SÜD) discussed how to better advance innovation through collaboration.

Many thanks to our great startups – it was a huge blast to have you in our tenth batch – and to our panelists, who made time in their busy schedule to participate in the event!

Alumni Startup Ultimate.ai raises $6.5M

We are very proud of our alumni startup Ultimate.ai from Batch #9 which just raised $6.5M in its recent funding round.

The round is led by the company’s existing investors, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and Maki.vc. In addition, the EU granted research funding as part of Horizon 2020, a programme committed to backing Europe’s leading deep technology businesses.

ultimate.ai’s European founding story has given it a technical advantage in the market, attracting EU interest and prompting existing investors to double down. Founded in Finland, the business faced a defining challenge: there was no AI technology capable of handling the complex Finnish language. Leveraging recent breakthroughs in deep learning, the founders built the leading fully-language agnostic AI platform for customer service. Today ultimate.ai provides its multilingual customer service automation to multinational enterprises including Telia, ADAC and Finnair.

Congrats to the whole team!