Leipzig Startup Ecosystem Report

Leipzig Startup Ecosystem Report
Click here to view Leipzig’s Startup Map

Introduction

Leipzig is situated in the state of Sachsen and has a distance of approximately 189 km between the city of Berlin. With a population of over 567,000 inhabitants, the city of Leipzig is home to a creative scene of young people; with a dynamic startup community and flourishing economy.  In StartupBlink’s 2019 report, Leipzig is ranked 10th in Germany and 290th globally.

Leipzig’s Startup Success Stories

Those who made it big, are the startups that made it through the hiccups of the early stages; now they are thriving in local and foreign markets.

  • Spreadshirt is a print on demand, multi-sided platform that enables users to sell T-Shirt designs for money or purchase a personalised T-Shirt. Founded in the year 2001, Spreadshirt offers its service to other countries in Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania.
  • On a busy day when you do not have time to go to the grocery store; why not have the groceries come to you? Food.de is your go-to online supermarket; established in 2011, food.de is also available in Berlin, Frankfurt Am Main, Düsseldorf, Köln and of course Leipzig.
  • In the current Digital Age, ApiOmat offers digital technologies that enable enterprises to be just as disruptive and innovative as startups. Founded by a team of software and mobile developers in the year 2012, ApiOmat offices are based in Leipzig, Munich and in Palo Alto, United States.
  • From the physical classroom to E-learning, Lecturio provides online learning and training videos. Established in the year 2008, career professionals can strengthen their competencies and broaden their network from the comforts of their home. In the year 2013, Lecturio sealed a partnership with Xing; a network for business professionals.
  • Founded in 2003, Taschenkaufhaus is a one-stop online shop for bags for all occasions. Taschenkaufhaus currently caters to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland. No matter the brand, the chances are high that you will find the bag that you are looking for.

Advantages for startups in Leipzig

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to starting your business in the city of Leipzig. The cost of living is more on the cheaper side when compared to more popular urban cities. Furthermore, you can be sure that the possibility to grow as a young professional is present, as long as you are willing to put in the effort.

Leipzig is a beautiful city with plenty of architecture to admire. Since the population is not too big nor too small, it is easier for you to play a role in further cultivating the emerging startup ecosystem. In addition, you can stay focused on your objectives and leave common distractions behind you. You will find that there are various contact points that are willing to support you along the way.

Disadvantages for startups in Leipzig

While there is a supportive network for founders, there is a shortage of quality educational events, that can better prepare founders to lead their startup, on the road to success. Nonetheless, it is also in part, a founder’s responsibility to seek out educational resources; whether it be electronically or by means of traditional learning.

Moreover, sometimes people want to start a company but they do not want to take any risks. They waste time applying and waiting for government funding, while the project itself is being neglected. In the startup world, agility is everything.

Most important players in Leipzig’s startup ecosystem

It is hard to name the most important players in the Leipzig’s ecosystem since every player within the ecosystem is interconnected and contributes to the overall goal. The deciding factor often depends on the situation of each entrepreneur and/or founder seeking support. Students who come to Leipzig and are interested in founding a company here; they should reach out to SMILE. SMILE is a startup-network that supports students, graduates, and employees with seminars, personal coaching and research assistants. Whether you already have a business plan for your idea or not, Gründernest can help you develop your business model and find funding programs.

Incubators in Leipzig

Bio City Leipzig is biotechnology and biomedical incubator in Leipzig; that facilitates product research and development. Here you can find inexpensive rent for office and laboratory facilities,  basic laboratory equipment and conference center.

Social Impact Lab Leipzig offers support and space for social entrepreneurs. As a social startup, you can count on a support consisting of co-working space, consulting, coaching, workshops and networking. Additionally, if your project qualifies, you could receive an allowance to cover cost-of-living.

Accelerators in Leipzig

SpinLab is the HHL accelerator for founders consisting of a minimum of two persons; here you can gain access to an international network of founders and investors. Not only that, you will have access to resources such as co-working space, technology and much more.

Founderscope has developed the Gamified Startup Toolkit to help startups and enterprises employ lean startup principles. The lean startup methodology comes from the concept of lean manufacturing; combined with profound knowledge on lean principles and funnel hacking, Founderscope can support or co-found your startup.

Coworking Spaces in Leipzig

You can find numerous co-working space amongst other creative people in the city of Leipzig

  • Different startup events re-hosted at the Basislager, events like Startup Weekends and Fuck up Nights to name a few.
  • Besides being an incubator for startups focused on social entrepreneurship, you can also find coworking space at the Social Impact Lab.
  • Chaos Coworking offers a small coworking area in a beautiful location. In addition to that, Chaos Coworking also host networking events for founders; for example the Founder Breakfast.

Crowd Investing Platforms in Leipzig

Vision Bakery is Germany’s second largest crowdfunding platform. With Vision Bakery you will benefit from free personal support on your individual project. A commission is only due if your project becomes successful.

Grant Organisation in Leipzig

Grants are also available in Leipzig; INVEST – Zuschuss für Wagniskapital is interesting for startups and Business Angels.  Investors get 20% of their investments refunded tax-free.

Business Angels Sachsen is an institution that supports the further development and innovation of companies in Saxony. Business Angels Sachsen also backs businesses during the economic downturn.

Venture Capital Firms in Leipzig

If your startup relates to the Internet, then check out Monkfish; they could be your partner in funding your Internet startup. Monkfish built up trivago, the premier European meta-search for hotels. Support from Monkfish comes in the form of know-how transfer, their network, and funding.

S-Beteiligungen provides Venture Capital funds for your business, starting from 200,000 to 4 Million Euros. Create a unique selling point for your startup and get in touch with S-Beteiligungen.

TGFS backs startups on the topic of  ITC, semiconductor, microsystems technology, medical technology, life science and the new media/web 2.0. TGFS is a partner of S-Beteiligungen and their investments are in the range of 0.1 – 5 Million Euros.

Other Investment Firms in Leipzig

If you are interested in Merger and Acquisitions, have a look at Blue Corporate Finance; an M&A boutique for small to medium-sized firms in German-speaking Europe. The primary focus is on providing support for the sale, financing, and purchase of companies.

Key startup events in Leipzig

There is a number of ways to build your network in the startup scene of Leipzig. You can use Facebook to get in touch with the Startupscene and get information about different activities. Also, via Basislager you can stay up to date on upcoming startup events and the availability of coworking space.

Founderbreakfast is a monthly event where entrepreneurs can business speed date over breakfast. The objective is to test and practice pitching your business idea with constructive feedback.

Starting a startup is like a scavenger hunt; Startup Safary Leipzig is a good starting point to gather information. The event takes place yearly and consists of a two-day open door event that showcases the regional startup ecosystem. Here startups, tech companies, VCs, accelerators, incubators, and co-working spaces invite attendees to their offices.

Moreover, if you are interested in design, then do not miss the opportunity to take part in the Designers’ Open Leipzig. The event is the leading design festival in Germany.

One of Germany’s leading management school HHL, organizes the International Investors Day. The Entrepreneurial Network Event is sponsored by KPMG; with the Digital Transformation of Industries as the central topic. The event takes place at the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and at the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei (Leipzig Cotton Mill) in cooperation with SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator.

In addition, there is TEDxHHL, the purpose of this event is to foster an environment that spreads ideas, with live speakers and TED-Talk videos. The TEDxHHL serves as a means to inspire deep discussions and connections between individuals from various backgrounds.

Lastly, the Startup Weekend is a weekend event where groups have 54-hours to pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams, and develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening.

About the Author:

Michal Jirasek is the author of the Gamified Startup Toolkit and founder @founderscope. He supports and co-found startups and consults established companies to help them innovate and optimize their growth engines. Michal is passionate about topics that relate to growth hacking, integrated funnel marketing, lean startup, customer development or design thinking.

Gillain Berry has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Management Studies, with a specialization in Business Model Generation and Innovation. She is able to combine lean startup principles together with scientific research methods; in order to generate or innovate business models. As a former model and pageant titleholder, Gillain also engages in Public Relations and Marketing roles.

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