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Cologne startups are seeking contact with SMEs

The portal Rheinland-Startups.de is growing. In the meantime, more than 200 companies from the region have registered on the portal of the Digital Hub Cologne and provide up-to-date data on the local startup ecosystem. The startups of the economic region Cologne concentrate their services and products predominantly on B2B target groups. For their innovative business models, end users tend to play a subordinate role. Most startups are still at the beginning of their business model, still have relatively small teams, and are emerging as new competitors in the markets. More information about the startup ecosystem is available at Rheinland-Startups.de.

B2B business models are the focus of startups

For the startups, sales with corporate customers are a clear focus. Four out of five startups claim to serve the B2B market with their business model. Almost half of all startups focus almost entirely on a pure B2B business model (47 percent). They are looking for contact with SMEs and corporations. By contrast, end consumers tend to play a subordinate role in the innovative business models of startups. Only a fifth offer their services and products exclusively to consumers (21 percent).

“The B2B trend among startups continues. In the region of Cologne and throughout the Rhineland there are many founders who develop their startup idea from the middle class and from corporations. They want to solve problems that they know from their daily work and that they can not implement within the corporate structures. Many startups also no longer want to focus on end customers because B2B sales are supposedly easier. As a target group, many founders are more manageable than the huge and marketing-intensive market for end users”says Anna-Lena Kümpel, startup agent at the Digital Hub Cologne.

Small teams make up the entirety of the startup ecosystem

Most of the companies on Rheinland-Startups.de are still young and work in small teams: Seven out of ten start-ups have less than seven employees (67 percent). Around a quarter say they already employ up to 15 employees in the team (23 percent). For 100 employees and more come seven startups (3 percent).

The relatively small size of startups has a lot to do with their age: more than half of them were founded in 2017 or later (51 percent). A third of startups are already three or four years old (33 percent). About one-seventh of all startups studied were founded in the period from 2010 to 2014 (15 percent).

Methodological notes

The investigation of the Digital Hub Cologne is based on the own data of 208 startups who have deposited their data on Rheinland-Startups.de. The evaluation provides a basic overview of the startup ecosystem of the Cologne region. The percentages are rounding values.

About the Digital Hub Cologne

The Digital Hub Cologne (DHC) is the central location and first point of contact for digitization and innovation for established companies and for the startup ecosystem in the Cologne area. Its mission is to guide established companies on the issues of digitization, to guide them through the first steps and measures, and to provide them with the right contacts for the digitalization industry and the startup ecosystem. On the subject of Virtual Reality, the DHC runs its own Mixed Reality Laboratory (XR-Lab), which conducts application-oriented workshops for companies. The DHC also stands behind the platform Rheinland-Startups.de, where the regional startup diversity and Cologne as a startup and founding metropolis is made visible. Own event formats, workshops and offers of the DHC are further measures that encourage cooperation and use best practice examples to show ways in which digitization can be implemented in one’s own company. The DHC is supported by the DWNRW initiative of the Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIDE) and is supported by the city of Cologne, the University of Cologne and the Cologne Chamber of Commerce.

Published inStartups

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