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The hottest startups in Berlin

There’s no doubt that Berlin remains one of Europe’s top tech hubs: according to Atomico's 2020 State of European Tech report, it's seen $12.6 billion of investment since 2016, second only to London. It attracted $2.4 billion of investment in 2020 alone and boasts one of the “the densest network of startups, the deepest pools of experienced talent and many of the most sophisticated investors.”

Berlin has it all, says Pawel Chudzinski, a partner at Point Nine Capital: it's the capital city of the biggest European economy, with a developed tech ecosystem celebrating bountiful IPOs and repeat founders, while remaining affordable to live and work in compared to other cities. (It also has the best nightlife, he adds.)

This year's list demonstrates Berlin’s breadth of talent, with startups across a range of sectors including fintech, food and gaming.


Love or loathe the dark store model, you can’t deny that Gorillas has been one of the most talked-about names this year in Berlin and beyond – it’s expanded into eight markets, including south London. Founded in 2020, the app-based grocery delivery service promises to get your order zipped to you via e-bike in under ten minutes. Supermarkets are outdated, says Angharad Probert, Gorillas’ global brand director: Gorillas lets you avoid a weekly shop and the waste that comes with forgetting to cook that mouldy old cauliflower, and instead order food as you need it. To date, Gorillas has raised $335.4 million over three funding rounds, with Coatue Management, DST Global, Tencent and Atlantic Food Labs making up the main investors.


Planetly builds software to help businesses manage their carbon footprint; it’s a “holistic carbon management system,” says co-founder and chief customer officer Anna Alex. Alex came up with the idea when trying to offset the carbon footprint of a previous company. “I quickly dealt with a consultant with an Excel sheet who ran around the company and asked us for a lot of data,” she says. “The carbon footprint is the most important KPI for humanity of the century; why don't we use the best technology that we have in order to make it easy for businesses to calculate this?” Planetly, founded in 2019, is the result. Climate tech is currently flooded with talent, says Alex, and her company is urgently focused on growth to meet the scale of the climate challenge. So far, the company syas it has raised €7 million in seed investment with Speedinvest, Cavalry Ventures and 468 Capital.


Founded in January 2018, with a product publicly launched in October 2020, Pitch makes collaborative presentation software that lets teams create and deliver presentations together. “What Pitch can accomplish is, ultimately, to help companies unlock their best thinking,” says co-founder and CEO Christian Reber. Tens of thousands of teams – mainly founders, creative agencies and sales teams – use the product, including brands like Intercom, Superhuman and Notion. Reber thinks that Pitch’s approach at building a whole platform, not just a presentation tool, has resonated with users most. “We're building a publishing and content ecosystem around us, where our customers can publish their work and ultimately also measure their success through built-in analytics features,” he explains. Pitch has raised $135 million in funding to date.


Founded in 2020, Wonder taps into a very current trend: advanced videoconferencing. Thousands of users can converse – and instead of all facing each other like in a Zoom call, they can jump between conversations in video, audio or text. “There had already been a steady movement towards a more remote world, and when the pandemic hit, this process was propelled 10-15 years forward,” says co-founder Leonard Witteler.


Popcore creates hyper-casual mobile puzzle games, like Sandwich!, where you make sandwiches, and Wrecking Ball, where (you guessed it) you swing a wrecking ball. Brothers Thomas and Johannes Heinze started the company in mid-2018. “We believe that the gaming industry rarely innovates when it comes to the core of what makes games fun,” says Heinze. So far, Popcore has reached more than 400 million app downloads and raised €4.5 million.

RIDE Capital

Founded by Christine Kiefer and Felix Schulte in 2018, RIDE Capital aims to be the “digital private bank of the 21st century”. Currently, Kiefer says, professional wealth management is reserved for the very wealthy, a kind of “black box”. RIDE aims to demystify it. “We strive to democratize wealth planning and structuring by providing professional wealth management services as a software for the everyday investor,” she says. To date, RIDE has raised just over €3 million in venture capital.


SellerX acquires businesses that sell through Amazon in “evergreen” product categories, including household goods, kitchen, garden and pet supplies, health and beauty, fitness, and baby products. the company looks for leaders in those categories across Amazon, explains co-founder Philipp Triebel, before acquiring and growing them on and off Amazon’s platform. Founded in 2020 by Triebel and Malte Horeyseck, SellerX has raised over €130 million.


Charles is a conversational-commerce company that helps businesses sell on WhatsApp and other chat apps. Founders Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing explain that in 2019 they launched Europe’s first WhatsApp store, where you could buy basic clothing. “While customers loved the seamless and personal experience, we could not find any software that met our key requirements for the backend,” they write. They decided to pivot; Charles is the result.


Theion develops rechargeable batteries based on crystal technology, using sulfur and lithium as the main raw materials. Founded in 2020 by Florian Ruess and Marek Slavik, it aims to improve all aspects of rechargeable batteries: environmental and climate friendliness (its battery production has net zero emissions), technical performance, safety and cost. The company says it has raised several million euros to date.


BRYTER provides a “no-code service automation platform” that allows business experts to build and run digital applications. It was founded in 2018 by Michael Grupp, Micha-Manuel Bues and Michael Hübl, who noticed a lack of easy-to-use automation software in their previous roles as lawyers and entrepreneurs. Clients include Telefónica, ING Bank and McDonalds. BRYTER has raised $90 million to date from funds including Accel, Tiger Global, Dawn Capital and Notion.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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