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01/26/2024

Start-ups Investment Report

The funding rounds, exits, takeovers, and IPOs of WHU start-ups in Q4 2023

They’re called Enpal. Or Flink. Or Gropyus. And they have been remarkably successful in their respective industries, especially given that they are still considered start-ups. While recent estimates show that Germany just narrowly avoided an economic recession, many of the initiatives started by WHU’s alumni have continued to grow strongly. These and countless other companies are all part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at WHU, which, all told, secured over US$2B in investments during 2023—despite a challenging economic landscape that year. The latest report shows which start-ups contributed to this impressive final quarter.

October

- Dr. Annika von Mutius (BSc 2016; MSc 2018; Doctoral Program 2021) and Dr. Larissa Leitner (BSc 2012 and Doctoral Program 2021) of Empion secured €6M during a seed funding round. The company offers an AI-assisted recruiting service that brings together employers and employees who share complementary values and attributes.

Apartool, co-founded by Marc Vilar Cardellach (BSc 2014), is one of the world’s top providers of short-term rentals for those on business trips. In a recent series A funding road, the company received €5.5M.

Sunhero, co-founded by Christopher Cederskog (Diplom 2006) and Stefan Braun (BSc 2013), secured €3M of outside funding.

Outsized, which aims to revolutionize freelance consulting, secured an undisclosed sum during a series A funding round. Co-founder Niclas Thelander studied at WHU in 1995.

-The goal of Rausgegangen GmbH, co-founded by Tim Betzin (BSc 2012) and Witali Bytschkow (BSc 2012), is to promote events happening all over Germany. The company recently secured €1.28M in a funding round.

The Landbanking Group secured €11M during a seed funding round. The company, founded by Dr. Sonja Stuchtey (Diplom, 1994) and Dr. Martin R. Stuchtey (Diplom 1996), helps investors directly support efforts to protect the environment.

-Upvest, founded in part by Tobias Auferoth (Diplom 2007), successfully closed a venture capital round with €30M in funding. Upvest provides customized investment experiences through the use of innovative programming interfaces.

November

- WHU alumna Carolina Arroyo (MLB 2012) was able to secure US$4.6M for her start-up Construex during a seed funding round. The company connects key players in the engineering, architectural, and design industries and aggregates pertinent information.

Prematch is a European-wide sports app that provides fans with information on all active soccer leagues from the local to the regional level. Niklas Brackmann (MSc 2021) and his co-founding partner concluded a successful seed funding round.

- Co-founders Sven Lackinger (MSc 2014) and Maximilian Messing (MSc 2014) concluded a series B funding round for their start-up Sastrify. This virtual platform acts as an SaaS (“Software-as-a-Service”) procurement solution to improve operations management and expenditure.

- During a seed funding round, Leander Maerkisch (BSc 2020) and Benedikt Schneider (BSc 2021) amassed €5.4M for Floy. This company develops AI-assisted software that helps radiologists better identify complex diseases that are difficult to detect. This collaboration allows for early detection and treatment, ensuring optimal results for patients.

Quazy Foods uses innovative biomass fermentation methods to produce resource-efficient proteins and compounds. Their organic, algae-based make-up allows for common synthetic or animal-based ingredients to be replaced, thereby affording customers healthier and more sustainable vegetarian options. This novel approach garnered the company, co-founded by Arvid Seeberg-Elverfeldt (MSc 2012) €800K in a pre-seed funding round.

Lilio Health has developed an arm band that monitors a baby’s comfort and health. Dr. Nadine Wunderlich (EMBA 2020) and Björn Wunderlich have secured €2.2M for the company in a seed funding round.

- Marc Klingen (BSc 2017), co-founder of Langfuse, raised €4M in a seed funding round. His company provides open-source monitoring and analysis services (e.g., Mixpanel) for large language model (LLM) applications.

EQL Finance is a fintech company that offers training in financial management. Co-founded by Eddie de Guia (EMBA 2020), the company recently secured €250K in supplementary funding.

December

Tawny, co-founded by Dr. Michael Bartl (Doctoral Program) is a pioneer in the field of AI-based video analysis. In December, the company successfully completed a funding round, securing an undisclosed sum.

- Payment services provider Sumup secured an impressive €285M in venture capital. The company, co-founded by Dr. Jan Deepen (Doctoral Program) and Daniel Klein (Diplom 2002), also received an undisclosed sum of external funding.

Enpal, which leases photovoltaic systems, received €109M during a funding round. The company was co-founded by Jochen Ziervogel (MSc 2015), Mario Kohle (BSc 2008), and Viktor Wingert (MSc 2010).

Honic, a platform designed for the handling of particularly sensitive medical data, was founded by Dr. Henrik Matthies (Diplom 2006). In December, the company secured an undisclosed sum of capital during a funding round.

Eco2Grow, started by Niklas Radermacher, Paul Appel, and Konrad Ciezarek (all MSc 2022), also completed a successful funding round.

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