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Munich's startup ecosystem in international comparison

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Findings of the Genome Startup Ecosystem Report 2018

(April 17, 2018) Produced by Californian research institute Startup Genome, the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 compares 45 startup regions. Munich is listed for the first time this year. The report highlights the most important growth segments for each region. In Munich, Startup Genome homes in on three sub-sectors: fintech, healthcare and mobility.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 does without a set of rankings this year, instead focusing its analysis on the most important industries and sectors of the economy in which startups play an active part. The study describes the individual startup ecosystems and their most successful sectors. For the first time, Munich – the third German city, following Berlin and Frankfurt/Main – features in this leading comparative international study. That means that Munich will also feature in the next global ranking, which Startup Genome has announced for 2019.

The US institute sees Munich as Germany's most powerful economic base, with about a third of all the country's major public companies. Fertile soil for startups is provided by close proximity to the city's research landscape and, in the B2B segment, to large corporations such as IBM Watson, Microsoft, Intel, Huawei and Accenture – not to mention three top-tier universities and roughly 45 VC investors, including Vitruvian Partners, one of the leading European private equity firms. Overall, Startup Genome puts the value of Munich's startup ecosystem at around USD 4.5 billion.

Fintech in Munich

Around 11 percent of venture capital investments in Munich between 2012 and 2017 went into fintech (financial technology), making this one of the city's three top sub-sectors. One notable success story is the financial service provider Scalable Capital, which has accumulated assets worth EUR 500 million in less than four years. Within the fintech sub-sector, Genome nevertheless sees insurance as what it calls Munich's “strongest suit”. Allianz and Munich Re are two locally based global players and support two of the numerous Munich-based startup development programs – in Werk1, for example.

Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals

Centered around the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, Munich's healthcare sector consists of about 350 companies. Again, close proximity to research institutes is provided by the Fraunhofer Society, Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU), which ranks fifth in the world in medical sciences, and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), which ranks 22nd in the world. In this discipline, Genome quotes Sapiers and Definiens as examples of successful Munich-based startups. In 2014, the two firms were snapped up for USD 200 million and USD 150 million respectively.


In terms of employees and turnover, automotive engineering remains Munich's leading industry. Alongside brands such as ADAC, BMW, MAN and Ingolstadt-based Audi, the Munich region is also home to representatives of every link in the production and supply chain. Beyond that, the mobility sector is a powerful driver of startup activities in the advanced manufacturing and robotics segments. Ten percent of all local VC investment in the period from 2012 through 2017 was channeled into this sub-sector, making it too one of the top three in the region. Engineering courses at Munich's universities enjoy a first-class reputation and rank among the top 15 worldwide. Genome specifically points to Flixbus (Flixmobility) as a huge success story, having become Europe's largest long-distance mobility provider in less than five years.*

* See Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018, pages 180/181.

About Startup Genome

Startup Genome compares the conditions that await entrepreneurs and startups around the globe. It identifies the factors that are needed to build an active, dynamic startup ecosystem that holds out the promise of success. Rooted in data from Crunchbase and Orb Intelligence and backed by the voices of more than 10,000 startup entrepreneurs from 24 countries worldwide, the Genome Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 delivers a telling insight into more than 60 discrete ecosystems.

Its findings help local governments and startup networks to optimize their offerings. Well-researched comparison also raises Munich's international profile and visibility as a startup region.

Members of the Startup Genome Munich Consortium include the City of Munich, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria, Invest in Bavaria, the LMU Entrepreneurship Center, Munich Startup, UnternehmerTUM and the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship.