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Munich has a reputation for being the more traditional, old-fashioned part of Germany, more interested in lederhosen than new technology. However, as well as tech giants Microsoft and Google who have offices in Munich, many startups choose to make the city their headquarters each year – here are the top nine to watch.
This small team are designing the transport of the future – fast, personal electric aircraft. They paint a picture of a traffic-free commute in the air, in their two-person plane, landing on roofs or balconies thanks to their ability to take off and land vertically. More than just a concept, they’ve built seven prototypes all of which have flown successfully – one of them was even 3D printed! There’s serious interest in the project from around the globe, and they even have the support of the European Space Agency.
One of the few pieces of life admin that often still has to be done in person is verifying your identity, for example when you open a new bank account. IDnow digitises this process; customers connect with an agent via video call, and show their ID and relevant information using their smart phone cameras. The whole process takes less than five minutes, leading banks such as N26 and the Solarisbank to adopt the new technology. You can also sign legally-binding contracts using IDnow.
Founded in 2014, this company wants logistics to work differently – with the help of its robots. What looks like a high-tech filing cabinet whizzes around warehouses to identify and pick the right product. Using 2D and 3D cameras, their TORU machine can even pick an individual item off a shelf rather than just collecting boxes or pallets. It was first installed in a pharmacy, but now Siemens is on board, and TORU has even strutted its stuff for Angela Merkel!
Imagine stepping onto the treadmill at your gym, it recognises who you are, what you did last time and the optimal workout for you today – eGym have built a series of fitness machines that do just that. The machines also connect to fitness apps and trackers gym users might have, and take that data into account when planning your workout. You can check on your progress and plan your next workout from home using the app. It’s been a great success so far, going from ten to 100 employees in just 18 months.
Who’d have thought you could make laser cutters cute?! The founders of Mr Beam envision a laser cutter/engraver right next to your regular desktop printer. Their machine can cut many materials including plywood up to 4mm thick. It launched on Kickstarter and proved to be hugely popular, reaching its €80,000 goal in just four hours and going on to become the second most-funded German Kickstarter project. Thanks to that success, they’re now a team of nine, and are looking to deliver their first batch of printers any moment now.
Often the first port of call for expats when they land overseas, this Munich-based startup is now the world’s largest expat network. Often likened to Facebook for expats, it’s not only online, but also organises networking events in 390 cities. It was started by two old friends from university after various stints abroad made them realise that expats face similar problems settling in wherever they are in the world. With over 100 employees and ten years of operation, it’s the grandad of the Munich startup scene, often hosting talks for newer businesses on how to survive the startup world.
This company make wearable technology for businesses and their employees. The glove has a built-in sensor that allows warehouse and logistics workers to easily scan and track items.It claims to not only improve efficiency, but also the ergonomics of logistics as workers no longer have to hold a separate heavy scanning device. Thomas Kirchner is the brains behind this efficiency-driven invention; the company has been going since 2014 and now has the backing of the likes of Intel.
Think energy supply is just a handful of global players? This green startup set out to change the way people access and perceive what they call “eco-energy”. Their motto is that eco-energy should not be a luxury product, so they set about creating a de-centralized supply of green energy options that wouldn’t cost consumers more than using the conventional supply. They operate on a Toms-style model where for each new customer, they provide a family in Cambodia with access to green energy.
German’s love their cars and even in the country’s third biggest city, many people have at least one vehicle. Inspired by the resulting parking nightmare, Parkpocket have created an app that shows free parking and the quickest route to it. It also works with paid car parks; you set how much time you’ll need, then Parkpocket figures out the cheapest parking spot and you can even reserve your spot through the app. Founded in 2015, the company claims to help drivers save time and fuel by cutting down the hassle of finding a parking spot.