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Despite an early success with Zalando, Germany has been slower to embrace the startup culture than the US or the UK. Now, after proof-of-concept, it is making up for lost time. Berlin in particular, with its cheap(ish) rent and high proportion of Americans, is a hotspot in the the startup scene. Here are six to keep an eye out for.
A consignment shop for the 21st century, Berlin-based start-up Watchmaster has created a straightforward platform for reselling luxury watches. Bright pictures, daily deals, and other such obvious nods to filthy lucre is a brash, modern alternative to the watch world’s usual gentlemen’s club vibe.
American and European companies have a legal obligation to source materials mined in conflict areas responsibly, but up until now, it is been extremely difficult to track which sources are warlord- and child labor-free or don’t use profits to fund slavery or further civil war. Minespider, founded by Nathan Williams, uses certification tokens issued to responsible mines to help players further up the supply chain demonstrate that their material is sourced according to the law.
It can be difficult for SME businesses to access the capital they need to grow as quickly as the market demands. Bitbond solves this problem by using a machine learning-based credit check to determine a business owner’s suitability for a loan in under 30 minutes. Since its founding in 2013, Bitbond has loaned 1,700 businesses more than €1.4 million, most of whom are online sellers who run shops on eBay, Amazon, or Etsy.
The age of agile retail is here. Lesara, Europe’s fastest growing tech startup in 2016, relies on automated and real-time data to discover style-specific trends for the customer at the best possible prices. The company operates in 23 countries, has a customer base of one million people and produces their own clothing in China.
Ever wanted to try a new piece of tech for a month before you buy, just to check if it really fits into your life? Grover, the German tech rental startup, is on the case. The site, now available in the US, offers 13 categories of electronic and electronic-adjacent gadgets. Customers are responsible for any damage to the item. Should they love it so much they want to make it a permanent part of their lives, 30% of the rental fee is credited against the fee.
Germans love cake, they love cars, and they love insurance. If you can think of something, there is insurance for it. This makes the insurance market extremely complicated. Handily, the Berlin startup Clark has created an app that helps customers sort through the maze of terms and conditions and find the best insurance for their situation. Users can also users can change or cancel their policies through the app, which is no small thing in a bureaucracy-heavy country that still requires letters for official business.