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EXIST Start-up Germany

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) supported the two year pilot programme “EXIST Start-up Germany” which aimed to connect technology oriented entrepreneurs from Israel with Germany's academic entrepreneurial landscape. EXIST was a partner of the programme. The pilot program was successfully completed in June 2017 und is currently under evaluation. Further details about the future of this programme will be published on this website as soon as possible.

View Logos 50 years and EXIST Startup Germany

By improving funding conditions for the EXIST-Business Start-up Grant and EXIST Transfer of Research, Germany has created outstanding start conditions on an international level for early phase university-based start-ups, which are not available in this form in Israel. The digital agenda and high-tech strategy of the federal government reinforce the necessity of networking with international partners, supporting international cooperation as well as developing new mechanisms of international cooperation and transfer.

The support of innovations with systematic know-how transfer in a European and international context is given high significance in globalised competition. Businesses and entrepreneurs have to be and are more flexible now in their choice of locations for research, development and business than they were in the past. Their value chains are becoming more and more international and complex. Developing and establishing a start-up programme for Israeli entrepreneurs to strengthen Germany as a business location is thus a first step towards strengthening international perception of existing initiatives and towards supporting the transfer of results in innovative business models in Germany.

Berlin-Mitte Berlin
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The first two rounds of the programme were held in Berlin. The area around Germany's capital, Berlin, is growing into one of the most meaningful eco-systems for start-ups in Europe and is currently experiencing an influx of entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world. The universities and universities of applied sciences and arts of this city by getting support for their start-ups, availing of established incubators and networks of mentors, are also part of this growth. According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking (2015) Berlin has the highest further growth expectation (regarding the number of startups, venture capital investments and exit-evaluations) in the world. An average seed-round in Berlin is about 550,000 US-Dollar, Series A amounts 5,5-6,5 million US-Dollar. Such well-known companies like Rocket Internet, Soundcloud, Zalando, 6WunderKinder or Sociamantic Labs were all founded in Berlin.

The third programme round was held in two locations: in Berlin and in Munich.

Bavaria’s capital city Munich is one of Europe’s top science and technology hubs, boasting a strong start-up community, industry led cooperation, significant flows of venture capital, and multiple start-up accelerators. Numerous global players and leading German technology companies such as Microsoft, Google, Intel, as well as 30% of DAX companies like BMW, Siemens, Allianz, and Adidas have headquarters based in Munich, making it easier than ever for start-ups to partner and do business.  Public and private investments are spent for R&D from private funds and € 77.3 million for cutting-edge research from public funds. This results in 15,000 patents a year and helps jumpstart around 580,000 small- and middle-sized enterprises. On top of that, Munich is a “Top-5 Life Quality” city globally and Germany’s most livable city according to the Mercer Research 2016.

Munich Munich
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Berlin and Munich can also learn a great deal from other start-up eco-systems such as Israel, for example. Israel ranks as one of the most dynamic countries in the world when it comes to the development of technological start-ups. Tel Aviv, the centre of Israeli start-up events, is regarded as being second only to Silicon Valley in California in tech start-ups worldwide. The density of start-ups per capita is the highest in Israel worldwide.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic and Israel, the possibility of EXIST grant funding is offered to Israeli academics from June 2015 as part of a pilot project.

EXIST Start-Up Germany is aiming to successfully include Israeli entrepreneurial teams and entrepreneurs in the existing EXIST network structures in the capital city of Berlin and in the industrial giant Munich and to support them to the fullest extent in finding German co-entrepreneurs and applying to the EXIST programme. Participation was done in four stages: online application, online shortlisting, start-up tour in Germany and selection of teams for the EXIST application phase. Selected teams and entrepreneurs were provided the following support:

  • Getting to know the start-up ecosystem on-site in Berlin or in Munich during a start-up tour
  • Matching with the suitable university as well as suitable mentors and coaches in the region
  • Preparing an EXIST application together with contact persons from a participating university
  • Matching with German co-entrepreneurs
  • Lump sum travel costs as a part of preparing the application.

The pilot project was coordinated in two innovation driven regions of Germany:

In Berlin by the Centre for Entrepreneurship of the Technical University of Berlin involving all universities in Berlin and Potsdam;

In Munich by the MUC SUMMIT GmbH and the Ludwig-Maximilian-University Entrepreneurship Center involving broader range of the entrepreneurship centers, universities, and accelerators in Bavaria.

Particularly when applying for the EXIT Business Start-up Grant, the entrepreneur teams were given the necessary guidance and support from the EXIST start up programmes at the Berlin and Munich universities.

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