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Founder boom in Germany? Not really

TV formats such as “The Cave of the Lions” on VOX give you the feeling that everyone in Germany is starting a startup and employees are now rather boring and exotic. But if you look at the facts, a different picture becomes visible. According to KfW there were 1,548,000 founders in Germany in 2001, compared to 557,000 in 2017. This value marks since 2001 the absolute low point concerning the foundations in Germany.

So we asked ourselves what this development is all about and why the media outlines such a different picture. For this we have made some statistics to show how the startup market is segmented.

Distribution of startups in Germany by federal states 2019

Who thinks that most startups are sitting in Berlin, he was wrong. North Rhine-Westphalia leads with 19% clearly ahead of the German capital, which comes after all to 15.8%. Followed closely by Baden-Württemberg with 12.6% and Bavaria with 12.3%. Behind them are Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Saxony, Bremen and Hesse.

Distribution of startups in Germany according to turnover size classes according to DSM 2019

How much revenue does a startup make in Germany? 1 million, 10 million or even billions? The majority of startups unfortunately not. 11.6% do not generate any sales. 21.5% has a turnover of up to € 25,000. 8.9% has a turnover between 25,000 and 50,000 €. After all, 13.5% make sales between 50,000 and 150,000 € and 12.1% even makes a turnover between 250,000 and 500,000 €. The cashier does not really care about the money: 1 to 2 million euros in turnover are 5.5% of the companies, 1.4% generate 5 to 10 million € turnover and only 1.2% make more than 50 million € turnover per year ,

Distribution of startups

In which industry are there most startups? Right, in information and communication technology, in short ICT. 31.6% of startups feel at home here. Industries like food and food and consumer goods with 9.7%, medicine and health care with 8.5% or autmobiles, logistics and transport with 5.2% are far behind.

Average age of startups

How old are most startups? A good half is 1 to 2 years on the market. 17% exist more than 2 to 3 years, 10.6% more than 3 to 4 years and only 13.6% are between 5 and 10 years old.

Average number of startups

The average number of startup employees in 2018 was 12.3 employees and 2.4 founders. This number has been virtually stable since 2014 and varies by plus / minus 5 people.

Distribution of startups in Germany

Where do startups in Germany get their “coal” from? From the end users? Nope, from business. The business has 67.7% as a customer, thus leading a classic B2B customer relationship. B2C customers have only 27.5% of German startups. And only 4.8% negotiate with the government, so it maintains a B2G business relationship.

Distribution of the founders

Startup business is a man’s business. At least that’s how the numbers read. 84.9% of all founders in Germany were male in 2018. Since 2013 women have only gained 2.3%. In the media, however, there are many examples of successful entrepreneurial women. The magazine Gründerszene introduced women who shape the German fintech scene, Companisto reported on German founders. And we also know some female success stories that should encourage women. Examples include the founders Anna Kaiser and Jana Tepe of Tandemploy or Delia Fischer with their million startup Westwing, a shopping club based on the American model.


Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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