US$583M in Venture Capital Secured by WHU’s Start-Ups in Germany

Next generation of founders receive eager support from alumni

Although Germany saw a significantly lower amount of venture capital allocated for 2023, start-ups founded by alumni of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management have a tight grip on their position within the entrepreneurial scene. Last year, around 8.7% of all investments made in Germany went toward these companies.

The numbers don’t lie: The start-ups (co-)founded by at least one student or alum of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management have secured a collective US$583M in venture capital. This reflects 8.7% of the total US$6.7B invested in start-ups in Germany (8.1% in 2022). These companies were involved in about 4% of all venture capital transactions (5% in 2022)—a remarkable figure given that WHU’s student body comprises around 2,000 active enrollees. “WHU has an extremely committed network of alumni who are willing to support, mentor, and invest in the school’s new generation of entrepreneurs,” said Professor Dries Faems, Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technological Transformation at WHU. “As these impressive numbers illustrate, this unique entrepreneurial ecosystem is able to have a significant impact on the German investment scene.”

In his study, based on data provided by economics- and business-oriented news portal Crunchbase, Professor Faems analyzes the capital transactions (i.e., pre-seed, seed, and venture capital funding rounds) involving German companies over the past year. Notably, the analysis shows that 2023, with investments totaling US$6.7B, was just as difficult a year on the German entrepreneurial scene as the year prior, when investments totaled US$10.5B. Additionally, this year only saw seven funding rounds during which a sum of more than US$100M was invested at once; in 2022, there were 19. Berlin maintains its position as the uncontested hotspot for entrepreneurs in Germany. In fact, in the country’s capital, 19% of all venture capital secured went toward start-ups (co-)founded by WHU alumni. North Rhine-Westphalia, however, is becoming more and more relevant for WHU’s start-ups, particularly during the earliest phases of their development.

That start-ups rooted at WHU continue to leave their mark on the start-up scene in Germany is in part thanks to the WHU Entrepreneurship Center. The center aims to support and inspire the WHU community in its efforts to realize commited, purposeful, ethical, and sustainable entrepreneurship. It offers a wide range of academic and practical learning opportunities, including courses, workshops, trainings, and hands-on programs.