One question that frequently comes up in my discussions with some friends is: What are the new exciting startups in town? Often also implying, at least to some extent, that there is not that much around that seems interesting or promising. I woud not necessarily agree with that, but I have to admit to admit that I usually did not have the best examples on the spot to convince them otherwise. This post aims to change that: it will be a collection of noteworthy Berlin startups that got seed funding or launched since 2016 that I will contiously update, until the end of this year.
There is too many to mention them all here, maybe deserving of a seperate post. Besides the ones in sharing that are already around for longer than 2016, like emmy-sharing (formerly known as eMio) and it’s Bosch-funded corporate innovation competitor COUP, there is the Bird-inspired Tier Mobility and Go Flash. There’s also Simple Mobility, selling imported e-scooters from China, started by my friend, former Die Hoehle der Loewen participant Marvin. Beyond those, there is several well-funded ones more.
In short, this topic is undoubtedly hot among founders and investors in Berlin and elsewhere. If this hype is justified, what the specific challenges in Germany are with market, competition and regulation and which of these startups appear to be the most ambitious or likely to succeed is out of scope here. On to other, less obvious topics.
Alex, one of my former colleagues at Minodes, has a shirt with some text like “crypto is short for cryptography”, a discussion that apparently also was a somewhat big thing on Twitter already. I have a similar aversion to the co-option of the term and the abundance of vaporware projects around it, however, there is some blockchain projects I see as having substance and being useful. Minespider, started by my friend Nathan, aims to be something like an improved version of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) for diamonds, for minerals or rare earths, using a blockchain.
Started by my former Minodes colleagues Jan and Philipp, TV-TWO is applying the blockchain to advertisement attribution within a content discovery platform. Given that it is B2C and advertising needs scale to be interesting for the advertisers, I am somewhat more sceptical here, but they raised a decent bit of money in their ICO and onboarded some corporate partners already, so they might have enough time and momentum to get themselves out of the woods.
From blockchain, on to the next hot topic, which is even more popular now among investors: AI and machine learning. Founded by the well-known business angel and former StudiVZ managing director Michael Brehm, i2x applies this technology to offer “real-time conversation analytics and coaching”, to improve telephone support and sales.
Parlamind works on a somewhat similar problem, but on textual information, instead of voice. In the initial stages until March of 2018, the company was also lead by an experienced entrepreneur, WirKaufens founder Christian Wolf. The company “offers artificial intelligence solutions that analyzes, routes, and autonomously answers incoming customer communication”.
to be continued – with Faunder (2018), Zeitgold (2016), and more…