Accelerators and Growth Programs in Berlin

Venture capital investments are at a record high in Germany. At the midway point of 2017, investors had invested an incredible €2.16 billion into startups — a figure up about €1.2 billion from the same time in 2016. So what’s an early stage startup on the cusp of growth to do? Get to Berlin, and fast. There are hundreds of growth programs and startup accelerators in Berlin designed to help you with everything from product design to finding investors – and the Landing Pads can help you go global.

Accelerators and growth programs in Berlin:

  1. Techstars Berlin
    Techstars Berlin is a startup accelerator offering a three month mentorship to more than 300 startups and scaleups per year. If accepted into their accelerator, your startup will collaborate with a team of mentors and a Managing Director that can guide you through product development and help you to find your best market fit. With their support, your team can gain traction, hit milestones, and raise initial funding in preparation for the much anticipated final showcase — Demo Day. The annual Demo Day will give your startup the chance to seek funding from 100-200 angel investors and venture capitalists, and Techstars boasts an impressive success rate –75% companies receive funding or become profitable after joining their program.

  2. Axel Springer Plug and Play
    Berlin based Axel Springer Plug and Play is a startup accelerator that invests in early-stage startups through a 100 day acceleration program. In addition to €25,000 funding, the accelerator offers you mentorship, weekly workshops, pitch training, and introductions to investors, all leading up to a Demo Day. Perhaps the true standout of this program is its versatility. Rather than selecting startups based off of fixed requirements, Axel Springer invests in startups spanning across stages and industries, so long as the ideas have high market potential and are technologically ground-breaking. You will offer Axel Springer Plug and Play 5% equity in return for sponsorship.

  3. leAD
    If your startup operates in the sports industry, there’s no program like leAD to help you gain some traction. Created to revive the legacy of their late grandfather and Adidas founder, Adi Dassler, the Bente brothers connect selected startups with an exclusive circle of top investors with special connections to the sports industry. In the 2017 program, 16 sports startups were selected from a pool of 480 to receive a 12 week training in business, leadership and pitching.

  4. ran its first accelerator in 2013 and has since become one of the top accelerators for startups in the Internet of Things or hardware segment. The program welcomes startups of any stage from ideation to completed prototype, but is tailored to startups who want to accelerate fast. In just two weeks, the program connects startups with various mentors and professionals with expertise in manufacturing, distribution and development. Unlike other accelerators, acts as a community first. With a broad network of alumni startups and industry partners, two weeks is just the beginning of any startup’s journey with The program doesn’t take any equity.

  5. BETAPITCH and Investors Day
    Powered by the betahaus co-working space, BETAPITCH is a startup competition held in tech capitals around the world. Finalists compete at BETAPITCH Global in Berlin for a grand prize — €5,000, a free co-working space and a sponsored trip to Silicon Valley to meet key investors. The event is held alongside an Investors’ Day where you meet people who can get your startup to the next level through speed dating, private sessions and panel discussions. The event stands out for its inclusivity, as well as for its collaborative and interactive format.

  6. BNP Paribas International Hackathon
    BNP is one of the world’s largest banks and their namesake hackaton — the BNP Paribas International Hackathon — is an annual event that occurs simultaneously across 10 leading tech cities. The hackathon is open to startups from different fields. In previous years, the banking group has seemed to be particularly interested in startups working in e-learning, consulting, analytics, artificial intelligence, gamification, and Internet of Things. The hackathon presents your team with real world challenges and if you make it all the way to Demo Day, there could be a contract with BNP in it for you. If your startup has a relevant product and wants to get into FinTech, this hackaton is a must. It gives you access to co-creation with bank experts, exclusive access to anonymised banking data and a grant opportunity for your solution to be tested on a large scale.

  7. Startup Bootcamp Digital Health
    Startup Bootcamp’s Digital Health program supports early stage tech founders by connecting them with a large network of industry partners. Your team receives €15,000, free office space, and partner perks to cover you throughout the three month program. Startup Bootcamp offers you a unique advantage to entering the German market!

  8. Grants4Apps by Bayer
    Bayer’s Grants4Apps is one of the most well-established grants for digital health. The program supports five startups focused on innovative healthcare solutions each year. Selected early stage startups get €50,000 in funding and mentorship from Bayer executives. If your startup has already grown past the point of an accelerator, you might also consider joining their Dealmaker program, where you’ll be invited to attend match-making events and have the chance to close a deal with Bayer.

At Austrade, we offer market ready startups and scaleups a 90-day residency in the betahaus co-working space in Berlin. This comes along with business advice and introductions to investors, mentor networks, and strategic partners. 

Apply now for the Berlin Landing Pad.