Berlin is known for being one of the most creative, hip, and progressive cities in Europe. Yet beyond Berlin’s legendary nightlife and reputation for hedonism, there is a vast and growing tech ecosystem.
According to Dealroom, there are around 1958 verified startup companies headquartered in Berlin. In fact, the nation’s capital welcomed 200+ new startups in 2020 alone. I’m going to explore ten of the top newcomers (by valuation) and give my honest take (for what it’s worth) on each of these lockdown babies.
Gorillas delivers hand-picked groceries right to your door. And these gorillas show up in around ten minutes, so you’re barely waiting. It’s a super convenient service that was founded during the spring lockdowns of 2020. Remember when we were all sent home for ‘two weeks?’ Well, while you were probably stocking up on toilet paper, Gorillas was taking advantage of those stay-at-home orders and scaling like crazy.
As of today, Gorillas is valued at a whopping €2.8 billion! Based on valuation, they are one of the top unicorns in Berlin—remember they’re less than two years old. The impressive growth has earned them the title of the fastest unicorn in Europe. That being said, they have received a huge amount of investment, almost half their value, which tells me investors are expecting some big returns in the next few years. And it would appear their tactic is one of aggressive expansion.
Industry: food logistics & delivery
Launch date: March 2020
Valuation: €2.8 billion
Flink is another grocery delivery service that also promises groceries in ten minutes. As you’ve probably noticed, food delivery services dominated 2020. Flink is pretty much the same as Gorillas except they wear hot pink, are exceptional with local marketing, and have a stronger foothold in German cities. Currently, they are in two markets outside of Germany: France, and the Netherlands.
Although Gorillas has had a nine-month lead on Flink, the Kreuzberg-based startup has still managed to secure €275 million in funding and a valuation of €2.3 billion! If the projected data is to be trusted, investors in Flink are in for a nice payday.
Industry: food logistics & delivery
Launch date: December 2020
Valuation: €2.3 billion
3. Razor Group
Razor Group, like Branded and SellerX (which are also on this list), acquires and scales winning brands on the Amazon marketplace. What does that mean? They find best-selling products on Amazon, acquire them, then build these products into brands through design and marketing. Razor Group has been growing at a fast pace, only a year old it has over 100 employees and has acquired 30 Amazon brands.
With a mix of equity and debt, Razor Group has closed financing on €160 million. The firm’s valuation is quite surprising, just this month (November) it gained unicorn status (€1 billion). According to CEO Tushar Ahluwalia, the group plans to book €400 million in sales in the next 12 to 15 months. Now that’s a lot of cash!
Launch date: August 2020
Valuation: €1 billion
Branded was launched at the end of 2020, and in less than a year it has gained a firm valuation of €545—818m with total funding of €136m. Their business model is to acquire and partner with top-performing Amazon sellers. They’ve already done this over 25 times and I guess it’s working out for them.
The leadership team at Branded comprises of ex-Uber, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs management. There’s a lot of potential for growth with so many local and international top-sellers to choose from—and investors see it. Branded has only received early VC funding so far, but if they do decide to open up a round of funding, they’re likely to also join Berlin’s unicorn club.
Launch date: October 2020
Valuation: €545–818 million
Vivid is a digital investing and banking app on mobile that promotes commission-free investment in stocks and Crypto. Vivid joins Europe’s fierce fintech competition, up against the likes of N26 and Revolut. Vivid’s competitive edge? Well, you can bank and invest from the same app—plus you get a purple metal card if you sign up (very cool)!
Vivid is entirely venture capital-backed and has recently completed a Series B round with total funding of €75 million. In a short amount of time, Vivid has provided users access to a ton of cool banking features. It’s going to be interesting to see how they fare against the established fintech players.
Launch date: June 2020
Valuation: €360 million
Similar to Branded, SellerX acquires businesses on Amazon to scale and launch in new markets. In under a year, it has brought 30 brands under its umbrella and scaled from zero to 250+ employees.
The firm is valued between €104-156 million with total funding of €146 million. It’s still early days for SellerX and with this last round of equity funding, they’re in a strong position to acquire and grow more businesses.
Launch date: November 2020
Valuation: €104—156 million
Workmotion manages payroll and taxes for remote employees in over 150 countries. You can definitely see the use-cases with so many companies opting for remote-first work. There’s going to be more and more demand for global HR compliance, and that’s where Workmotion hopes to step in.
The HR platform is still in the early stages of growth. With over 100 employees and Series A funding of €22.4 million, its valuation currently sits at €100 million. I’m excited to see what 2022 holds for this young startup.
Industry: legal enterprise software
Launch date: 2020
Valuation: €100 million
Dance is an e-bike subscription service that launched in the summer of 2020. What makes Dance different from other micro-mobility services like Lime or Voi, is that you get access to your own personal e-bike through a subscription model. It’s like having a really great bike without the hassle of actually owning a bike. Things like maintenance, repairs, and theft protection are all covered in the subscription. It’s also a more sustainable approach to micro-mobility.
The Dance team, which includes the previous founder of SoundCloud, has raised over €31.5 million in funding and has a projected valuation of between €60-99 million. As of today, Dance only operates within central Berlin, but they have plans to test expansion in the future, so fingers crossed.
Launch date: July 2020
Valuation: €60—99 million
Wonder is an online meeting place for groups and events. The idea is to make online meet-ups more social and fun with virtual interaction features. Wonder has also been named in Wired’s hottest Berlin Startups in 2021.
With a team of over 30 people, Wonder has acquired €11.1 million in seed funding, with Dealroom estimating its current value between €40—60 million. Personally, I think online meetups leave a lot to be desired, so any innovation in this space is welcomed!
Launch date: 2020
Valuation: €40—60 million
10. ROQ Technology
ROQ Technology provides a platform for SaaS entrepreneurs to build and launch their digital products. The platform manages things like infrastructure, user interface, authentication, file management, and messaging. So essentially an entrepreneur can test and launch their service on the back of ROQ’s platform without the overhead of a full-scale development team.
Launched in December 2020 the software company has a team of around 15 people and has secured a total funding of €9.9 million. In six months ROQ Technology has received an estimated valuation of between €40-59 million.
Launch date: December 2020
Valuation: €40—59 million
In 2020 Berlin took the crown for the most attractive city in Europe to start a company. It’s still cheaper than Paris or London, and in the last few years has produced some of Europe’s top unicorns, like Trade Republic, N26, and Delivery Hero.
It’s the perfect breeding ground for entrepreneurial minds and cutting-edge startups. And the best thing, these startups are adding new jobs to the market every day. They need all sorts of skilled professionals... but they especially need developers. So if you’re in the market for a new development role, sign up to Honeypot and see what’s out there!