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Start-ups Investment Report

The funding rounds, exits, takeovers, and IPOs of WHU start-ups in Q1/2023

Despite complications felt around the world, the start of 2023 has seen the entrepreneurial ecosystem at WHU remain as active as ever. And it’s not just the high number of WHU start-ups, many focused on sustainability, that impresses—but rather that they have been extraordinarily successful in their funding rounds in recent years. Just how strong the entrepreneurial spirit is at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is depicted in a new series from Welt profiling their list of “50 German Leaders.” The piece honors the commitment to entrepreneurialism present at WHU and shows exactly why it is that start-ups founded by the school’s students and alumni are so successful.



Enpal, a provider of solar panels founded by WHU alumni Jochen Ziervogel (MSc, 2015), Viktor Wingert (MSc, 2010), and Mario Kohle (BSc, 2008), collected €215M in a series D funding round. Less than one month prior, the company announced they had secured outside funding in the amount of €855M.

C1 Green Chemicals AG, founded by Christian Vollmann (Diplom, 2002) secured additional funding from venture capitalist firm Maersk Growth, destined to help the company better expand its future-focused technology.  The company produces a “green methanol” that will help the chemistry and ocean freight industries massively reduce their levels of COoutput.

-Tech start-up Specter Automation, which allows construction managers and foremen to manage the same building process, as well as all corresponding data, centrally and digitally, collected €2.7M in a seed funding round. The company was partially founded by WHU alumni Emanuel Groh, Oliver Eischet, and Niklas Beese (all BSc, 2018).

Carl Finance GmbH, co-founded by Kurosch Daniel Habibi (MSc, 2015), has announced a merger with Double Digit. The firm can be hired to manage corporate succession plans, supervising the process from start to finish.

Offmade/REO, co-founded by Lucas Christel (Economics Certificate, 2018), makes digital real estate transactions possible and was purchased by real estate agency Engel & Völkers.



- Tim von Toerne (EMBA, 2004), co-founder of Kopernikus Automotive, was able to secure €3M from Continental and the TGFS (Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen). Kopernikus Automotive develops infrastructure-based solutions for autonomous driving that could also be implemented into today’s current series of vehicles.

DeepSkill, the digital platform for comprehensive personal development, received additional support during a seed funding round. The founders of DeepSkill are WHU alumni Peter Goeke (PT-MBA, 2017) and Miriam Mertens (EMBA, 2010).

ScrapBees GmbH, co-founded by Florian Kriependorf (PT-MBA, 2013) and Thilo Hamm (PT-MBA, 2013), were successful in collecting €2.3M during a seed funding round. The start-up offers junk collection to both residential and commercial locations.

- WHU start-up i2x was purchased by KKA Partners. The company, which provides screen coaching and real-time training for telephone agents, was founded by Michael Brehm (Diplom, 2005).



Raisin, a credit institution that offers Banking-as-a-Service solutions for companies, secured €60M in a series E funding round. Michael Stephan (BSc, 2009) is a co-founder.

Una Brands, which aids in the scaling of a business, was founded by WHU graduate Kiren Tanna (MBA, 2006). The firm just collected US$30M during a series C funding round.

Sunhero, started by Christopher Cederskog (Diplom, 2006) and Stefan Braun (BSc, 2013), is a provider of customized solar panels and has recently secured €10M during a series A funding round.

- Frederik Merz (CMiME, 2020) collected €5M for his start-up Ampere.cloud, which offers through its platform cloud.vision a comprehensive solution for companies to operate their energy-producing plants and equipment through one complete system.

deeploi, a start-up founded by Julian Lübke (MSc, 2014) working to build an IT operating system intended for the European market, secured €3M in a seed funding round.

- Founder and WHU graduate David Budde (BSc, 2016) collected €2.4M in a pre-seed funding round for his company. Trawa specializes in cost-effective and sustainable energy sourcing for today’s companies.

LiftOS, founded by Ege Gündüz (BSc, 2020), offers an interface that links together all the tools a company uses. The start-up received €1M during a seed funding round.


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