As a start-up metropole, Munich has something to show for: more than 77% of respondents to the German Startup Monitor gave the city a "(very) good" for its founder-friendly environment (see p. 45). Munich is second only to Berlin among urban start-up hubs in Germany (see p. 13). The excellent network plays a significant role here, bringing young companies in touch with consulting, talented people, partnerships, and funding.
Munich Can Do Better
Despite its entrepreneurial history and continuing economic success, the Munich region has not lived up to its potential to produce high-growth, innovative companies in recent decades. This is now changing - as a recent article by the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK München) summarizes. Six "unicorns" (start-ups valued at at least one billion US dollars) are currently located in Bavaria, more specifically in the metropolitan region of its capital. Celonis, as one of them, is a so-called "decacorn" since 2021 and is valued at more than USD 10 billion. Munich's strength: start-ups focusing on business-to-business (B2B).
Research Meets Application
Many players make the city a home for start-ups. For example, the Technical University of Munich has offered scalable high-tech teams a rich breeding ground to flourish with its action plan "TUM. The Entrepreneurial University" since the 2000s. It ranks third among Germany's top founding universities (see Startup Monitor 2021, p. 23).
People who want to pursue their idea further will find their next springboard at one of the centers dedicated to supporting founders. For example, at UnternehmerTUM: Every year, we support hundreds of entrepreneurial teams, e.g. with:
- education and coaching
- training in the phases of incubation and acceleration
- (international) exchange in our network
- innovation projects and tech challenges
- access to the high-tech workshop MakerSpace
- capital for building prototypes and growing further
Rising Up with Us
In 2021, more than 50 start-ups with scalable business models have launched at our center. At the same time, our team has supported more than 300 founding teams and accompanied more than 500 start-up and tech projects. Young companies participating in UnternehmerTUM programs typically show a very high "survival rate" and grow sustainably. For example, 87% of the XPRENEURS Incubator alumni teams, soon starting the eleventh batch, are still in business. Also, 85% of the 127 teams that have graduated from the TechFounders accelerator so far are still active.
Start-ups That Give Back
Companies like FlixMobility and Zalando also turn international eyes on the German start-up scene. With their acquisition of the American market leader in long-distance bus travel, Greyhound, the FlixMobility team has catapulted into the American market. The founders André Schwämmlein, Jochen Engert, and Daniel Krauss themselves made their beginnings in Munich in 2013 and raised venture capital from UVC Partners, among others. Today, they’re still quite engaged in the UnternehmerTUM network and inspire the next generation.
With our new series "Making U Count", we use stories, interviews, and photo spreads to show the added value that UnternehmerTUM has created over the past 20 years, which experiences have been most formative, and how they have sharpened our vision.