WHU General

Fourth Unicorn This Year

Enpal continues WHU's success story as a startup university

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Berlin-based tech startup Enpal has become the 13th unicorn founded by graduates of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management following a recently extended funding round. After Japanese telecommunications and media giant Softbank invested another 150 million euros, Enpal now clearly exceeds the crucial valuation threshold of more than one billion US dollars. The young enterprise is already the fourth (co-)founded by WHU alumni to have achieved unicorn status this year.

The outlook for various industries is quite different in recent history due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the startup scene continues to experience a significant boom. Most recently, this was evidenced through the startup Enpal. The Japanese Softbank Group has now invested a further 150 million euros thus raising the company to a converted market value of more than 1.1 billion US dollars. Following this incredibly successful financing round, Enpal has now earned unicorn status.  

Enpal, founded in 2017 by WHU graduates Mario Kohle (B.Sc 2008), Viktor Wingert (M.Sc 2009), and Jochen Ziervogel (M.Sc 2015), buys solar systems and rents them out to customers. More than 10,000 units are said to have been installed under this method since the company’s foundation. Prior to his involvement with Enpal, Mario Kohle founded Käuferportal (now Aroundhome).

The entrepreneurial ecosystem at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is characterized by a very lively and fruitful exchange between students who intend to found their own company, academics, successful founders from the circle of alumni, and investors. With Enpal, it will now be joined by the fourth unicorn of its graduates in 2021 alone. After Forto, Raisin DS, and Flink were added to the list in recent months, Enpal is now the 13th unicorn founded by WHU alumni to date. HelloFresh and Zalando, two companies with WHU origins which have long been recognized as unicorns, have also moved into the newly formed DAX-40 this year.

Analysis by venture capital firm Antler shows that WHU's entrepreneurial ecosystem provides an excellent breeding ground for startup founders. Their "unicorn founder roadmap" concludes that the two leading German universities in terms of startups, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have fostered more than a quarter of all unicorn founders in the DACH region over the past 20 years. At WHU, there are an average of 1.4 unicorn founders for every 1,000 alumni – undoubtedly an impressive figure. Calculations by TUM support this claim and it is shown in their "Benchmarking the Entrepreneurship Performance of German Universities" study that WHU produces the most startups in Germany relative to student body size. In absolute terms, it still ranks third among all universities despite having significantly fewer students than TUM or Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (LMU), which hold first and second place respectively.



Antler's "Unicorn Founder Roadmap": https://www.antler.co/blog/how-to-build-a-unicorn-in-the-dach-region

"Benchmarking the Entrepreneurship Performance of German Universities" by TUM: https://www.entrepreneurshipranking.com/