Lena Gaede

Pros and cons of promising tech startup hubs worldwide: Europe vs. US – what’s the best choice to start a business?

Long gone are the days when entrepreneurs would start their business right in their hometown. Nowadays, the financial, social and digital advantages that each city can offer to startups have become a lot more important. Since founders often have the agony of choice when searching for a suitable place, we like to take a closer look at cities with promising startup hubs worldwide in a regular basis to determine their pros and cons.


Katja Vogt

Guest feature | Prizes worth more than €5 million – and other important reasons why you really should take part in a startup contest

At the beginning of every new year, the German startup website Für-Gründer.de takes a close look at all of the startup competitions being organized in Germany. When they first embarked on their annual endeavor, there were 124 such contests. Now that number has risen to over 163. A good 20,000 applications came flooding into the competition mailboxes in 2016. Of those, 756 startups received an award from an expert panel of judges. So it looks like startup competitions are groovy-groovy at the moment. Small wonder really: startups are fully aware of the benefits of taking part in a competition – above and beyond the obvious prize money.

Is it all just about the money? 


Lena Gaede

Main factors why startups fail and why some succeed! Plus: important dos & don’ts for startup founders

What keeps all startup founders up at night? Knowing that nearly every second startup fails within three years. Then again, what gets them out of bed in the morning is to find out what makes them succeed! It is hard to predict, if a new business will thrive or sink, and you can’t tell by cold numbers. But there must be that certain something for some startups like Uber, Facebook or Airbnb do skyrocket. What are the success factors and the dos and don’ts for founders? Let’s find out!



Janina Benz

How can we foster innovation? And for which purpose …

Mark Smith - Executive Director at EY

Mark Smith – Executive Director at EY

Innovation is no end in itself. It is crucial for long-term success of organizations, societies and economies that are facing transformational change. But how can we drive innovation? How can we manage it? And what is needed to turn transformation into sustainable growth? What are the key-drivers of transformation, today and in the future? We asked Mark Smith about EY’s role at CODE_n at CeBIT, one of the world’s leading startup programs, fostering innovation and revolutionary IT business models.

Janina Benz: To start with a basic question, why does EY partner with CODE_n?

Mark Smith: Today, economies and organizations are subject to fundamental transformation that will significantly accelerate in the future. The ongoing data revolution, Big Data in short, is a key driver of transformational change that will impact all important industry sectors – from Health, Automotive, Finance, Environment, Energy to IT,  Retail and Consumer, Telecommunications and various others. CODE_n is a unique platform seeking to connect established companies, SMEs and mezzanine investors with young, pioneering IT-entrepreneurs whose ideas have the potential to drive the data revolution – for partnering, investment, acquisition and mutual interest. More…

René Klein

Crowdfunding – Raising the Bar for Business Angels and Venture Capitalists

Following the Fall 2011 launch of crowdfunding on the Seedmatch and Innovestment platforms, this new-fangled financing instrument also took to the stage at the CeBIT trade show this year. Topping the bill at the event were two business startups, Changers.com and carzapp, the two recipients of coveted crowdfunding services from Seedmatch at the CODE_n contest. Both young companies have already reaped the rewards of crowdfunding: carzapp successfully revved up 363 investors with its concept and attracted capital worth €250,000. As Changers.com prepared to lower the curtain on its funding drive on May 2, 2013, it had 151 small investors offering a total of €80,750. In both cases, investors within the “crowd” participate via an equity-like shareholding loan (a German “partiarisches Darlehen”). Accordingly, every investor is entitled to a share of the startup’s commercial success.

René Klein - CEO of www.fuer-gruender.de

René Klein – CEO of www.fuer-gruender.de

The usual approach taken on other platforms is based on classic “dormant equity” holdings. The German Efi think-tank (the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation) looked closely at this area for its 2013 annual expert report, concluding that, “In the opinion of the expert commission, equity-based crowdfunding could play an increasingly important role [in the future], especially during the early-stage financing of startups.”

This is also underscored by recent data from our crowdfunding monitor issued on March 31, 2013. In the first quarter of 2013, seventeen startups attracted no less than €1.8 million via crowdfunding platforms. The total value of all 67 funding rounds conducted to date in Germany is thus more than €6.5 million. There are a whole host of platforms for startups to choose from, with Seedmatch, Innovestment and Companisto topping the list of larger platforms. More…