2021 startup landscape banner
Written
11 March 2021
Topic
Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI)
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For the fourth time, appliedAI, Germany's leading artificial intelligence initiative, has shed light on German AI start-ups and compiled them in a map. It is based on around 1,000 start-ups that were founded in Germany after 2011 and whose core business is based on machine learning.

The good news first: Numerous start-ups have become important players on the market and have thus made a decisive contribution to advancing AI technologies in this country. However, the Corona pandemic has also caused serious cutbacks for a large number of AI start-ups.

2021 German Landscape Graph Growth

German AI start-ups become major players

30 AI start-ups were founded in Germany last year which makes a total of 278 by now. However, the Corona pandemic has cast its shadow here as well, noticeably slowing down progress: the growth rate dropped from 62% in 2018 to just 15% in 2020, and the trend is still downward. Even in the healthcare sector, which had promised great potential precisely because of the Covid-19 crisis, the hoped-for quantum leap failed to materialize. However, this may still come with a time lag and become apparent as early as next year.

Hopefuls are start-ups such as JINA AI or preziseAI, which have been able to register VC capital in the millions and thus a qualitative milestone. They are quickly gaining professionalism and steadfastness in the market, although they are only 4.5 years old on average. It can be said that German AI start-ups are just coming of age. The team at KONUX, for example, has secured a firm foothold in the railroad sector with its sensor technology for monitoring the condition of railroad switches – and also achieved financing in the millions. "What we are seeing positively is that there is a small but growing number of German AI startups that are tackling bigger issues and are also able to close larger funding rounds," said Philipp Hartmann, Director of AI Strategy at appliedAI and analyst of the landscape.

AI strongholds shape industry focus

At the same time, geographical strongholds with particularly successful AI start-ups are crystallizing. In Munich, AI start-ups served the mobility market particularly well with an average investment volume of €21 million last year, while Berlin is a leader in healthcare, retail, e-commerce, and finance and insurance.

AppliedAI developed the start-up map in collaboration with NVIDIA, Google, AWS and nine venture capital firms (Digital+ Partners, Earlybird Capital, eCAPITAL, High-Tech Founder Funds, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Lakestar, UVC, La Famiglia and Asgard). A European version is already being planned - as France and Sweden have joined appliedAI, bringing the total number of start-ups to over 500.

Find the map and more information here.

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