The top 5 startups in Berlin for internationals


Updated on Oct 08 • 4 minute read

Startups in Berlin are home to a huge tech ecosystem, where you'll thrive on the creativity of the scene and see one bold business idea lined up after another. It's hardly surprising that international pioneers like N26 have already emerged among startups in Berlin.

Berlin startups are considered to be the hub of Europe. But why is that? The low costs in Berlin attract young entrepreneurs while a powerful network, in which Berlin startups find themselves entangled in no time at all, provides a secure foundation for realising their business ideas. We give you an overview of Berlin's startups and highlight your opportunities to immerse yourself in startup life as an international young professional.

Berlin startups are the undisputed pioneers in Germany

On average 130 new companies are registered in Germany every month. A total of 37 of them are located in Berlin! Startups in Germany are concentrated all over the country in metropolitan areas: from Berlin to Munich and Hamburg.

Yet Berlin is home to almost 3 times as many startups than the national average. And there is a good reason for this: Berlin offers young entrepreneurs a dense network of support services, incubators and accelerator programs, which help to develop a company through intensive coaching.

An impressive 58.9% of the 6.2 billion euros generated by German startups are allocated to the ones in Berlin.

So, in other words, Berlin really is a paradise for any intern wanting to express their entrepreneurial spirit!

Where do Berlin startups settle?

You might already be familiar with the fact that as a result of Berlin's history, there is no single city centre and that the individual neighbourhoods in Berlin tend to have their own centres.

Nevertheless, the startup ecosystem is clearly concentrated in one urban area. In Berlin Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg, but also in the southern part of Pankow (Prenzlauer Berg), is where most of the startups emerge from scratch. The most famous startup in the area is the stock exchange-listed company Zalando.

Employees for Startups

Berlin's economy relies heavily on its startup scene.

After all, the startups employ almost 32.7 people on average - almost 20 more than the national average!

Berlin's startups hold their employees in high esteem and do their utmost to attract and, above all, retain talent. For instance, 7 out of 10 startups in Berlin allow their employees to take a share in the company. Not to mention that international professionals won't find language an obstacle in Berlin's start-ups - "language barrier" are truly unknown here, making Berlin's startup probably the most convenient place to work without any German proficiency.

This attracts many top talents and also ties its employees more closely to the company, so that they can jointly build up a successful business. For interns in Berlin or students working in Germny next their studies in a startup can easily result in a long-term employment contract!

The industries among Berlin startups

Taking a closer look at the startups in Berlin reveals that their focus clearly lies on innovative technologies and that most companies follow global trends and successful business models. Did you know that almost a third of the entrepreneurs set up a software company last year?

Next in line is the service industry and e-commerce. One reason for this is also that VC funds invest a lot in Berlin's fast-growing companies in the technology sectors. This ensures that there is sufficient capital available in Berlin.

In the meantime, almost a quarter of Berlin's startups are active in the SaaS (software as a service)sector.

With 34.8% of the companies, Berlin is clearly shaping up to become the Fintech hub of Germany.

Some of the once small scale companies have now become international giants, such as N26 or Ratepay, along with successful specialists like Carl Finance or the FinTechCompany-Builder Finleap.

The best startups Berlin

Anyone seeking to express their entrepreneurial spirit as an international professional or even as an intern in the vibrant startup scene can choose from a wide range of options - from fintech to sustainable companies that strike a chord with the zeitgeist.

We have looked around the market for the best startups in Berlin:

  1. Blinkist: The list of books is long, but time is too short? That's exactly what the founders of Blinkist felt. And so in 2013, they developed a reader service that summarises entire books in 20-minute sequences with the key details - and then reads them out to you. The Berlin startup has been able to collect almost $2M in funds from several German companies to date.
  2. HelloFresh: So what happens when your enthusiasm for cooking is there, your creativity is there to come up with new recipes and going grocery shopping is not enough? HelloFresh plans your meal plan down to the last detail - and delivers all the ingredients to your home with precision. HelloFresh is now active in 11 different markets and has delivered more than 55 million meals.
  3. TIER Mobility: Looking around the streets, there's a high probability that you will discover a TIER scooter (assuming you live in a big city!). In 2018, Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug and Julian Blessin launched the first e-scooters in Europe – and introduced them as casual companions for short distances in the city. TIER is now available in 36 cities in 10 European countries.
  4. Contentful: You can guess how this article is uploaded. That's right: this Berlin startup has already made it into most content departments, allowing all content to be managed in one place.
  5. AMBOSS: A platform that puts complex medical topics into simple words. Ready to join this Berlin startup?

So, which will be your new startup challenge in Berlin?

Why not see for yourself: Every founder's heart beats faster in Berlin. As an entrepreneur, you'll find your young company quickly in a reliable network, with plenty of financial and mental support. Besides, the low costs take the financial burden off your shoulder a little.

Berlin's startup scene provides the ultimate breeding ground for international entrepreneurs who want to turn their own ideas into concrete business models. But Berlin can do even more: For young professionals or interns, Berlin's numerous startups offer you the chance to join companies that don't expect you to know German. So, which startup challenge will you take on in Berlin?

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