IFB becomes most active investor in Hamburg's start-ups

IFB provided over EUR 10 million in subsidies for 60 start-ups last year
19 March 2020

The Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB Hamburg) provided over 60 innovative start-ups and commercial projects with more than EUR 10 million in funds last year. IFB Hamburg’s “business promotion efforts are developing very positively.” Since 2013, about 2,000 loans with a total volume of about EUR 540 million have been granted to founders and SMEs in Hamburg. The bank funded 223 new start-ups and takeovers of existing companies through the Hamburg loan and successor programme last year. The IFB’s start-up funding of EUR 27 million led to private investments of EUR 61 million in this programme. Around 1,178 jobs were saved and generated.


The cumulative annual funding volume in IFB Hamburg’s “Innovation” division has increased from EUR 4.7 million to EUR 10.7 million in recent years. Around 300 innovative start-ups, companies and research institutions have been funded. The IFB and its subsidiary IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH has a total funding volume of about EUR 60 million and is the most active investor in Hamburg’s ecosystem. The bank has increased both the volume of funding and the effectiveness of its support. Last year, every single euro invested led to an additional two euros in private investment.

Focus on future

In terms of the average job effect, the funds lead to the creation of over 20 new jobs per grant. “The increased number of cases and the rising volume of funding shows that promoting business and innovation is an essential part of our funding activities. As a universal development bank, we support the sustainability of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region”, said Ralf Sommer, CEO of IFB Hamburg. “The senate has a strong and competent partner in IFB to implement Hamburg’s innovation funding. IFB Hamburg is the most active investor in innovations “made in Hamburg”, said Michael Westhagemann, Senator of Economics, Transport and Innovation.

Funding portfolio

The IFB’s funding portfolio in the field of innovation includes grants, loans and shareholding programmes. EFRE funds form part of the support activities. About 80 per cent of the funding in innovation goes to SMEs and start-ups. A rising number of universities and non-university research institutions are receiving funding for collaborative projects e.g. in the “Profi Transfer” programme..

New approaches

The InnoFounder and InnoRampUp grants have been used increasingly to support innovative, social start-ups that pursue business ideas in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGs). IFB Hamburg also supports the development of technological innovations that limit the consumption of natural resources and climate impact in production and supply chains via R&D funding. These approaches will be expanded as part of the Hamburg Climate Plan, according to IFB.

Triggering private investment

IFB Hamburg initiated the Hamburg Investor Network (HIN) via its subsidiary IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH in 2020. Private investors and innovative start-ups come together at diverse events to kickstart rounds of early-stage funding. Around 50 business angels and venture capital investors took part in the first matchmaking event in February to get to know five start-ups.