Conditions in Hamburg are ideal for founders. And the “Founders’ Barometer for Hamburg” (Hamburger Gründungsbarometer April 2016) by the Chamber of Commerce has noted an 8.5 per cent increase in the number of business registrations for 2015. Most of last year’s 20,650 new companies are in the service sector and especially in corporate services as well as the information and communication sector, followed by the building, wholesale, trade brokerage and catering sectors.
An event on May 4th at the Chamber of Commerce illustrated how founders can collaborate based on support from initiatives and institutions. Entitled “Hub for Ideas, Hotspot for Innovations: Does Hamburg have what it needs?”, an event in a series called “Future of Media in Hamburg” presented four perfect matches to exemplify successful collaboration among start-ups and supporting initiatives and institutions. The perfect matches highlighted start-ups with a high degree of innovation and growth potential and were located in education, health, media and technology.
Perfect Match: App Camps & Hamburg Startups
The “App Camps” 2014 aimed to stir up young people’s enthusiasm for issues and programming. The non-profit company teaches school pupils in Germany, Austria and Switzerland the basics of programming. App Camps was the only company in Hamburg that competed in this year’s Google Impact Challenge and won a cash prize of EUR 250,000. The founder, Dr. Diana Knodel, turned to Hamburg Startups for support and noted: “There were many encouraging talks that strengthened our belief in our own idea.”
Sina Gritzuhn, co-founder of Hamburg Startups, would like to see more women founders such as Knodel: “Brave young people who do their utmost to realize their own ideas. And these role models could be women more often.” Hamburg Startups encourages networking in the founders’ scene to increase both transparency and visibility. That requires work in the newsroom, consultancy, events and the Hamburg Startup Monitor.
Perfect Match: connected-health.eu GmbH & IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH
Smartphones have long since become indispensable organizers in everyday life. And Dr. Johannes Jacubeit thought it was high time to use smartphones for a visit to the doctor. He hit on the idea of saving and managing all of a doctor’s examinations and results on a smartphone using hardware from co-operating doctors. This would allow patients’ data to be transferred and fast forward change in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. Jacubeit’s idea won over the jury at the IFB Innovationsstarter and garnered the start-up, now in the beta phase, EUR 150,000 as part of InnoRampUp.
Dr. Heiko Milde, Managing Director of IFB, said: “InnoRampUp and Innovationsstarter Fonds are two complementary subsidies to boost innovative start-ups and young firms in Hamburg and help them with their research and development activities.” IFB is a subsidiary of the Hamburg-based investment and development bank that has already helped companies such as Tinnitracks, Lampuga, Familo or Channel Pilot Solutions.
Perfect Match: BAG movies & next media accelerator
The motto of Spanish start-up BAG Movies is, “Life is short – don’t watch crap”, and so their web page recommends films and TV series for users. The team of founders, with Ben Ickenroth at the helm, moved to Hamburg for six months and is now being backed by next media accelerator (nma) and experts in media and the start-up scene. The aim is to help management develop their product and business model with EUR 50,000. However, Nico Lumma of nma, stressed: “The extensive network and the sustainable infrastructure that we can offer are key as young companies do not yet have that.” Founded in 2015, nma supports media-related start-ups like AdTriba, nqyer or spectrm across Europe. Axel Springer Digital Ventures GmbH, dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH or Gruner+Jahr GmbH & Co. KG count among the shareholders.
Perfect Match: myprintoo & the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg’s service for founders
In 2014, Myprintoo became a full-service agency in 3D printing in Hamburg and has been building up its client base with firms in advertising, product design, architecture and machine and mould construction. The firm has often been supported by the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg’s service for founders. “The initial consultation was very helpful, so too were the young business people and experts in reference to property rights”, said Jeanette Gonnermann, Deputy Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg and Department Head of “Founders Centre/Common Contact Person”. The questions ranged from suitability as an entrepreneur, tax law to services for the experienced ones. “Our special consultancy for innovative founders as a type of interface between science and economy is brand new”, she added.
Venture capital providers are key
Hamburg is proving start-up friendly thanks to many supporting initiatives and institutions. Gritzhuhn explained: “Many start-ups are in the start position or just about to grow”, adding, “Most young companies need external capital. That makes private capital providers or professional venture capital providers crucial.”
The commitment by Hamburg’s Otto Group to innovative business ideas has been immeasurable. In the 2015/2016-business year alone, the company invested over EUR 50 million via the Venture Capital-Geber e.Ventures and Project A Ventures in start-ups along the valued added chain. Some of the best-known start-ups in Hamburg are Collins, the first open-commerce business model on the German market and Otto Group Media, a data-driven advertiser targeting women. But the Otto Group promotes businesses abroad as well. “Our wires to the global start-up scene mean that our company identifies new developments early. In this way, management makes contact with interesting, new entrepreneurial personalities,” said Thomas Voigt, Director of Economic Policy and Communication at the Otto Group.
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