European Startup Monitor Country Report Germany. Introduction

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1 German Startup Association Author: Lisa Schreier European Startup Monitor Country Report Germany Introduction Though innovative entrepreneurs are one of the largest creators of jobs and stand as catalysts for the small medium enterprises of tomorrow, they somehow still are not given the correct representation or appreciation in political and legal frameworks found in the sustainable economic development of the Federal Republic of Germany and Europe. The results of the German Startup Monitor (GSM) conducted in 2014 underline the need to deal more intensively with this special type of business where entrepreneurs found companies because of their own passion rather than out of necessity due to lack of employment alternatives. These startup founders look for market gaps, develop new technologies, create new business models and optimize processes, and therefore more attention should be given to the beneficial work that they do. Expanding from the work of the German Startup Monitor, the European Startup Monitor aims at creating a stronger entrepreneurial spirit in society and strengthening the innovative power of startups in the European economy. In 2013, German startups created approximately 419,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Especially in such young companies, radical innovations are developed, which contribute to such a surge in the demand for and creation of jobs. However, every third startup fails within the first three years, and in Germany, fewer entrepreneurs have an interest in founding their own company than in any other European country. Within Germany, four regions have been identified as hubs for startups, namely: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and the Rhine-Ruhr region (abweichende Schreibweise, s.u.). 1

2 Germany in comparison to other European countries Measuring the total early-stage entrepreneurship activity (TEA), which refers to the startup activities of the total population, in 2013 Germany was in 22 nd place out of 26 innovation-based economies, the value of 5.3% (number 20 of 24). The "European barometer", which reflects the results of an opinion poll amongst young Europeans between the ages of 16 and 30 came to a similar result. According to this study, 72% of respondents are not interested in establising a company. 2

3 Founders Women in startups are also still dramatically underepresented. Only 10.7 percent of the founders are female, which represents a decline of 2.1 percentage points compared to the previous year. In comparison, startups founded or co-founded by women in Hamburg (11.6%) are more common than in Munich (9.0%) and the metropolitan region Rhine-Ruhr (8.9%) and Berlin (10.7%). While the number of startups founded by women has increased by 4.6%, compared to men, more women have founded a company without a team. On 21.7% of male founders have founded a company by themselves. Age: The founders surveyed are on average 34.9 years old Education: A possible explanation for different founding strategies may be found in the duration of educational training: 81.2% of participants come from a scientific background and have completed at least a Bachelors degree. The regional comparison shows that founders in Munich more often completed a university degree (87.0%) compared to founders in Berlin (83.0%), Hamburg (81.7%) and in the Rhine-Ruhr region (79.9%). About 8.6% of all founders started but did not finish a university degree. The main courses of study for founders are mostly business related; though Munich has many founders who are engineers (11.8%). Salaries: Based on the DSM, a monthly gross income of 2,519 EUR for founders was determined, which is higher than the national average salary. Founders in the Rhine Ruhr area earned the most with EUR per month followed by founders in Hamburg (3,119 EUR), Munich (2,818 EUR) and Berlin (2,637 EUR). An increase in salary can be seen over time. In later stages, the average gross income was 6,5550 EUR per month. 3

4 Economic Indicators Sales development and planning: In the last full fiscal year, almost half of the startups generated revenues of more than 250,000 Euros. 17.1% of the startups generated an annual turnover of over 1 million Euros. 7.6% achieved more than 5 million Euros, but still 10% of the startups did not generate any revenue. In the first 12 months of foundation, every fourth founder did not depend on external investments. The most important sources of capital to finance their startups come from appropriate savings (82.5%), followed by "friends and family" (32.7%), state subsidies (29.1%), business angels (28.2%) and venture capital (21.4%). Incubators (10.9%) and bank loans (10.2%) play only a minor role in startup funding. Human Resources Startups employ an average of 14.5 people (excluding the founder). In addition, if the average number of founders is added, 16.8 jobs are created per startup. Also the comparison of the regional ecosystems is interesting: Founders in Hamburg employ on average 24.3 people, and Berlin startups have on average 23.2 employees, which is less than the average of employees found in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region (approx staff) and Munich (approx employees). The employment effect of startups (without founders) becomes even clearer taking into account the startup phases. Startups in the seed-stage offer an average of 1.8 jobs (N = 193), in the startup stage an average of 5 (N = 397), in the growth stage an average of 26.5 (N = 241) and in the later stage an average of 181 employees. Political and Legal Environment Economical framework conditions to create and strengthen the ecosystem have an important influence on the startup landscape. On the basis of five questions, founders had the opportunity to express their satisfaction with political support. On average, the regional government was evaluated as 'sufficient' same result given to the federal government. In 4

5 response to the question to what extent the policy understands the specific needs of startups, the result was particularly negative. Overall, German founders feel misunderstood by politicians, which is reflected by their poor evaluation rating. These results are supported by the survey of 50 experts in the course of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor country report for Germany. In Germany, when it comes to legal conditions, data protection is an important issue. As the internet is so important for startups, new challenges with regard to the regulatory framework conditions arise for legislators. In fact, 29.8% of respondents refer to the current privacy policy in Germany as difficult. To strengthen the competitiveness, attracting international experts is a topic of importance for German founders. Even though the foundation of the EU made working internationally much easier, there are still serious legal hurdles for 24.5% of the founders to overcome. Cultural Acceptance of Entrepreneurs The German culture tends to not accept the failure of founders. German entrepreneurs are socially influenced not to pursue a second or third chance if their startup has already failed since failure is often associated with weakness and personal fault. This link represents a serious obstacle in their confidence to first found a company. However, German founders are very open to inviting foreign specialists, and the social status of founders in the society is estimated to be high as well since more than half (50.3%) of study participants classified their social status as (rather) high. About a quarter of the respondents (24.5%) considered it as (rather) low. Conclusion Though German founders are 90% male, university educated and found in teams, the share of female founders is expected to grow within the next few years. The geographical hubs for startups in Germany are Berlin (39%), Hamburg (8%), Munich (8%) and the Rhine Ruhr area. For the German startup ecosystem, all kinds of business models and catagories of startups can be found (for example 21.1% in software, 12.3% E-commerce, 10.5% mobile web applications). 5

6 The German society has a low tolerance for failure and the legal and political environment is making the perceived situation of founders difficult. Even though initial financing is sufficient, startups face difficulties in accessing growth capital. However, despite limits in growth and underpresentation in political and legal frameworks, startups in Germany still significantly contribute to job creation and generate significant revenue for the German economy, and therefore more attention should be given to the economic and socio-economic benefits of startup foundation and growth within Germany and beyond. 6

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