Top Startup Accelerators in Germany

By | December 16, 2015

In the global scenario of startups, Germany cannot be missed for its startup ecosystem is growing drastically. Studies show that new startup is being founded in every 20 minutes. According to McKinsey, the startup ecosystem is expected to create over 100,000 new jobs in the next five years and they expect Berlin to become Europe’s leading startup hub claiming Europe’s No 1 position from London, having jumped into the top 10 global hot-spots for startups recently.  Startup scenario cannot miss out the accelerators and incubators for they complete the startup scene. Germany has many funds and accelerators ready to help young entrepreneurs and startups getting the funds and other professional support.


Unlike no other European countries, Germany is under constant transformation. From political systems to art and architecture, fashion to film, Germany has gone through various transformations. The startup setting of the country is very diverse and it deals with advanced technologies like nanotech, cleantech, biotech, mobility, new media, food, hardware, healthcare, logistics and other combined sectors like fintech and cultural entrepreneurship. With the large number of accelerators in Germany, we have looked at the offerings of the accelerators and the history of the successful startups graduated from them and have listed the top accelerators.

*Axel Springer Plug & Play:
Founded in 2013 and based in Berlin, Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator focuses on the digital and tech based startups and digital entrepreneurs. If offers wide range of opportunities through their international network in Europe and Silicon Valley. During its three-month program, the accelerator offers its selected startups with office space, infrastructure, coaching, workshops and networking. The institution runs three batches a year. Every program ends with a demo day where the startups get a chance to meet Silicon Valley investors to grow their business further. The winning startups also gets a chance to travel to Silicon Valley.


The accelerator boost the ideas and projects of the startups by pitching in front of local and international venture capital firms for series A funding. At the end of the three-month program, the accelerator provides with a seed funding of 25,000 Euro in return of a shareholdings in the company of 5%. The participating startups also, have the option of three-month extension at the Plug and Play Tech Center which adds another dimension to the program. This allows the young startups an opportunity to learn first-hand from their American forebears and collect American investment. The accelerator has a track record of over 1,800 successfully accelerated business and includes prominent early tenants and investors like Google, PayPal, Logitech and Danger.

*German Silicon Valley Accelerator:
Founded in 2011, the German Silicon Valley Accelerator supports selected German startups in growing their ventures into internationally recognized and successful corporations. Their programs range from three months to twelve months and supports German startups to enter the U.S market. Every quarter, participating Tech startup founders have the opportunity to work out of Silicon Valley, San Francisco or New York City. Apart from this, they also offer a program for life sciences startups in Boston. The program is a private initiative supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and few private sponsors and partners. Since it is run with the support of the Government, it does not charge a fee to its participating startups.


The German Accelerator supports German startups from ICT related areas to enter the USA market. It offers the participating startups with hands-on mentoring and office space in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and New York City. Since the program is free, the demand for it is also very high. So the accelerator selects the most capable startups and assists them in their journey of becoming category leaders with lasting competitiveness and success in the global marketplace. The selected startups are exposed to the competitive international environment where they are learn and experience various business tactics. The mentors also help them fuel their growth. The startups connect with the local community and build their network and business in the US. This intensive mentorship program works to bridge the gap between Germany and Silicon Valley. Some of the participants include Adtelligence, Itembase, Stagelink, ParkTAG, Azeti Networks, Celonis, Fruux and Mobile Event Guide.

Founded in 2012, Hub:raum is a startup accelerator operated by Deutsche Telekom that targets at range of startup  business ideas from IoT, mobile payment, e-commerce, customer analytic and big data to security, cloud solutions, health and TV and video content. The program supports the selected startups in mentoring, co-working, seed financing and infrastructure and helps them to find the right business partners within Deutsche Telekom. The program is designed to sharpen the business ideas of the startups and to help them develop a strong and a stable business model. The acceleration program takes place in two places in Germany – Krakow and Berlin.


The acceleration program consists of two segments – pre-acceleration also called Turbo training which is a 5-day program followed by the 4-5 week acceleration program focusing for up to 4 best teams. The program ends with the demo day, where the best team will pitch in to the business angels, investors  and experts. Like other accelerator programs, it brings to the startups hands-on mentors and experts to offer entrepreneurial support and experience. It also offers FIT 4 Europe program, started to expand the startup ideas in Europe, available in Tel Aviv. In exchange for offering financing, co-working, mentoring and leveraging, it takes 10 to 15% equity. Some of the successful alumni from the program are Klang Technologies, Videopath, Edition F, SatoshiPay, StudyDrive and Toywheel.

*Hanse Ventures:
Founded in 2010 and based in Hamburg, Hanse Ventures is a startup accelerator that focuses on internet companies in their early founding phase, matching innovative ideas and passionate young startup founders with the market opportunities. It specializes in incubation, seed startups and early venture stage investments.  It was formed by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and executives with a significant expertise in the internet sector.

Hanse Ventures

For the chosen startups, the program offers seed financing, expert knowledge in online marketing, office space and most importantly a strong network to raise funds and to prepare the companies for future growth. It has a very strong and wide network on of investors and experts mainly, in the field of online marketing. It shows keen interest in businesses dealing with Internet, mobile business concepts and Information Technology.

*Black Forest Accelerator:
Founded in 2012 and based in Black Forest, the Black Forest accelerator targets at the startups dealing with health and fitness products and services. It is the first of its kind accelerator program in South-West Germany. The company who has abundant love for Black Forest, claims that the picturesque region offers great possibilities to founder who prefer to work in calm, natural and beautiful environment. Like other accelerator programs it aims to connect early stage entrepreneurs with business leaders, investors and world-class athletes to help entrepreneurs scale up their offerings and to step ahead in the market.

Black Forest Accelerator

The intensive  accelerator program runs for a time period of three months and does not hosts more than eight startups at a time. The program is said to be immersive and mentor-driven. Thummel Schutze & Partner supports the program by offering the mentorship of Dr.Roland Haberstroh. As a mentor, he conducts road show in Lahr for start-ups and entrepreneurs and answers the queries on corporate law. At the end of the program, every graduating startups are provided with seed funding of 12,500 Euros in exchange of 5% to 7% equity, which depends on the feasibility of the idea. Like other startups the program ends with ‘Demo Day’ to raise further funding. Some of the startups funded and supported by this accelerator program are Crohnlogs, Fitness Plus Concept, Color Dot and Foodbook.

*ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator:
Founded in 2013, ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator is part of the ProSiebenSat.i Group which is a leading media corporations in Europe. Since it is part of a media group it mainly targets at the media based startups but also backs startups in other areas like industries, entertainment, IoT, smart home, health, fintech and e-commerce, including B2C and B2B businesses. The accelerator also runs a special program called LaunchpAD that focuses on advertising and data analytics startups. The program runs for three months and it offers two batches a year. During the period of three months, the startups are offered with mentoring, coaching, infrastructure and great networking opportunities through the extensive network of the biggest media company in Europe.


ProSiebenSat.1 accelerator takes in B2B and B2C startups for its program. At the end of the program, the selected startups are offered 25,000 Euros in seed money and 500,000 worth of TV advertising for the companies. If funding is raised from third part investor, the convertible can be converted into direct equity which depends on the valuation of the third part investor. The accelerator does not possess more than rights of a minority shareholder. Also, the best accelerator team gets a wildcard to compete at the SevenVentures itch Day for 7m EUR in TV advertising.  Some of the startups graduated from this program are Eurosender, Clark, Cashboard, SecureBeam, Media4Care and more.

*StartupBootcamp Berlin:
Founded in 2014, the accelerator Startupbootcamp Berlin is the leading global startup accelerator that targets on smart transportation and energy – the connected and efficient mobility of people and goods. Originally founded in London, it has its branches in various parts in Europe and USA. It mainly focuses to connect startups with the most relevant mentors, investors and partners from around the world. It deals with wide range of smart transportation and energy supporting business ideas related to Smart mobility solutions, smart and connected vehicles, smart logistics, smart energy, monitoring and management and more. Little more than a year ago, it teamed up with Bosch, Castrol innoVentures, Cisco, EnBW, HERE and Mercedes-Benz for offer assistance to startups with technology and for excellent mentorship.


The program runs for a time-frame of three months and does not take more than 10 teams per program. During the program which runs from August through October every year, the startups receive free office space for six months, extensive mentorships and coaching and seed funding. Every startup is awarded with the seed funding of 15,000 Euros in exchange of a small percentage of equity. Some of the successful startups from the program are 1SDK, Avuba, AvUXI, flux, foodzai, Reccy and others.

Founded in 2012, Climate-KIC are Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change, consisting of dynamic companies, the best academic institutions and the public sector. Climate-KIC Germany helps startups to turn the climate challenge to business opportunity. Their incubation facilities at Green Garage Berlin and the unternehmerTUM Munich are the perfect starting points for hands-on, climate-driven, innovative and business-minded ventures. The non-profit accelerator connects global, local, small and large companies and organizations from the private, public and academic sectors. Headquarted in London, it functions in various cities in Europe including one at Berlin.

Climate KIC

The acceleration program takes place twice a year and offers training and coaching in various business related topics and access to the European climate innovation network of top corporation, universities, research institutions, including startups and students. They also offer one-year pre-incubation programme Greenhouse for young startup entrepreneurs who have business idea revolving around climate change issues. The program funds Greenhouse projects with up to 5,000 euros to help the startups turn their ideas into a feasible and sustainable business. The program’s ultimate aim for the future is to provide the people, products and leadership to address the challenge of global climate change and their mission is to create range of opportunities for innovators to address climate change and shape the world’s next economy.