StartupBlink Blog

StartupBlink has launched the Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2019 that now ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide and is available for download here.

When you picture Munich, you automatically think about mountains, Oktoberfest and cars. But there is so much more to the capital of Bavaria, the southeastern region of Germany. Did you know that Munich is also home to one of Europe’s strongest startup and innovation ecosystems in Europe? That Munich is actually Europe’s biggest ICT hub? No? Then read this!

If you want to get a feeling for the Munich startup ecosystem, you have to start with the economy of the region Bavaria. Bavaria is one of Europe’s most competitive industrial regions worldwide. Just to give you an idea of its economic strength:

  • With a GDP of €594 billion (2017), Bavaria would be the seventh largest economy in Europe. Most of that economic power, about 29% of the GDP, comes from the manufacturing industry (by comparison: it’s 15% in the USA and 13% in the UK).
  • Nearly three-quarters of the world’s 50 most innovative companies have a base in Bavaria, and most of them are synonymous with outstanding innovation, especially in the areas of automotive technology, electrical and mechanical engineering, life sciences and robotics. Among the most recognizable companies are Siemens, Allianz, Audi, BMW, and MAN. Plus a rising number of international tech giants have a base in Bavaria, including IBM (Watson IoT), Google, GE (its Healthcare Commercial Center), Texas Instruments and Microsoft (IoT & AI Insider Lab).
  • This validates Bavaria as a top ICT hub. Today, Munich is Europe’s top ICT location, ahead of even London and Paris, according to a study by the European Commission.

So, what does this immense corporate and manufacturing power mean for our startup scene? Bavaria is the perfect location for B2B startups, especially in the areas of artificial intelligence, production & manufacturing, insurtech (digitalisation in the insurance sector) and mobility. If your customers are producers or larger corporates, Munich is the place to be in Europe.

The city is overflowing with corporate accelerators and investment arms. You can find the VW Data Lab, BMW Startup Garage, Siemens Next 47, Wayra from Telefonica, just to name a few. The city is home to two insurtech accelerators and the Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator Plug & Play runs three verticals in Munich. Open technology programmes like Techfounders are working with companies such as BMW, Knorr-Bremse, and Festo. The FASTTRACK Accelerator, a close ride from Munich, is a consortium of three family-run, medium-sized automotive suppliers and offers pilot projects in their real manufacturing environment (an overview of the most important accelerators can be found on the Invest in Bavaria website).

The ecosystem is characterised by a strong public support system. Organisations like BayStartup help with coaching and financing. Gründerland Bayern and the Chamber of Commerce offer advice on incorporating your legal entity. Digital incubation centers like WERK1 offer affordable office space and an all-inclusive big startup family. In addition, many organisations offer makerspaces for you to build your prototypes (e.g. at UnternehmerTUM). All of this results in the Munich metropolitan area being ranked second in ICT startup formations (over 3,000 formations since 2012) in Germany. And with UnternehmerTUM we are home to one of the biggest entrepreneurship centres in Europe. Strong universities and research institutes, such as the Technical University Munich, FRAUNHOFER and the DLR, play a major part. All of this makes the Munich tech scene a deeply tech- driven ecosystem, where you will not find much chitchat but many people with a strong idea and the will to build it.

If all of this has convinced you to take a second look at Munich, come and visit us. Conferences like Bits & Pretzels and Venturecon make it easy to connect to our startup and innovation ecosystem. Your potential customers can be found at industry events such as Productronica, Electronica, DIA Munich and many more. And if you decide to enter the German market, make sure to reach out to us, Invest in Bavaria. We are a public agency, specialized in high-tech companies wanting to enter the German market and establishing themselves long-term. Our services are free of charge and of course confidential. Once you decide to open a German entity, we can offer you the soft-landing package “Ois Easy”. The “Ois Easy* Startup Landing Package”, including 3-month co-working space for free and different coaching opportunities.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon in Munich!

Written by Invest in Bavaria.