Following the Cool Vendor World Map, here is the promised zoom-in into the German enterprise startup scene, based on German vendors which were on the Gartner Cool Vendor Reports in 2011 and 2012 (the 2013 reports are still trickling in, so stay tuned for a follow-up post).
Some general observations:
- To all those investors and journalists thinking Berlin is where all the action is: look elsewhere for serious enterprise software innovation- get onto the RegionalBahn and into little scenic towns (think Gräfelfing, Böblingen, Siegen…)
[Correction / note added 19.06.12. - turns out that Böblingen is not really one of the "nice little scenic German towns" but a vibrant industrial city, described as the "Swabian Silicon Valley" and with tenants including HP and IBM apart from several small to midsize IT firms.]
- Only 3 out of the 22 are younger than 2009 (the oldest one, Softpro, turns thirty in August this year!) You can ask: where were they all this time? in most cases, the innovation or “coolness” has probably been around for years, but the founders tend to focus on the domestic market for years or prefer to remain “hidden champions” in true German tradition before deciding to get famous.
- Size / Funding: very few are young, fast-growth VC-funded startups! Most tend to come out of spin-offs from universities (PMD Technologies / University of Siegen), R&D centres (Acrolinx / DFKI) or from bigger firms (e.g. VOIPFuture /Siemens) and have grown steadily over the years.
What’s cool about German enterprise startups?
22 vendors is a small dataset, but even then it is easy to see some common themes around what makes them cool:
- SAP ecosystem: Reboard, Sitrion, VirtualForge
- Green/Energy/Smart City: Ubitricity, Flinc, ifu Hamburg, iPoint Systems
- Security: Brainloop, Softpro, VirtualForge
- Cloud / SaaS: Parstream, Zimory, Parallels and Skyvva; given more than 97% of German companies are SMEs, watch this space!
- Data / BI / Big Data: Exasol, Infodyn. I have been meeting several other startups coming out of research related to data networking, databases, semantic and AI etc. and this is certainly another space to watch.
- Automotive / Manufacturing / Logistics: one would expect much more here, given this is THE German industrial and R&D engine – but we find just one out of 22: 4flow.
All in all, German enterprise startups are a case of missed opportunity: of not being out there and marketing oneself – especially to influencers and analysts. I see this changing with some of the newer startups, but treat this post as a call to action for all the others – analyst relations offers a way to get out there and noticed at less than a fraction of a full-time marketing / PR person.
Here is the list of the 22 vendors with the Disclaimer: we are not responsible for the correctness or currentness of the data; the information / description have been taken from the company website or publicly available website or news articles only for the purpose of a simple overview rather than detailed analysis.
|Company||HQ City||Founded||Cool Vendor in Year||Cool Vendor Category||What’s “cool” about them?|
|Softpro||Böblingen||1983||2012||Imaging and Print Services||The Softpro Group is a world leader in developing and marketing products and solutions for the digital capture, management and verification of handwritten signatures. [Correction added 19.06.13.: Softpro got high marks for its Document Workflow Optimization and Security (ranked 2nd) and for the option for trustworthy e-Signing on tablets (including the iPad) and smartphones.]|
|IFU||Hamburg||1992||2012||Green IT and Sustainability||The solutions from IFU Hamburg uniquely combine key value adding capabilities that allow organizations to analyze, visualize and optimize production processes and products from both a resource and cost optimization perspective. IFU’s solutions and tools are interesting for any manufacturing company that wants to address the issues of sustainability and its economically viable business future by assessing its material, cost and energy flows.|
|Facton||Potsdam||1998||2011||Product Design and Life Cycle Management||FACTON GmbH supplies software for Enterprise Product Costing. Through enterprise-wide unified product costing, i.e. across departments and locations, FACTON® EPC provides high transparency of product costs. Thus, the costs of complex products can be determined at an early stage and throughout the entire product lifecycle. With FACTON, companies accelerate their costing and achieve high cost accuracy.|
|Parallels||Munich||1999||2012||Cloud Services Brokerage Enablers||Recognized for its Parallels Automation software, including Parallels Automation for Cloud Marketplace, Parallels is helping service providers profit from the growing demand in Small and Medium Business (SMB) cloud services. Parallels Automation is a complete operational and business support system that automates all aspects of delivering, managing and billing for service providers, enabling them to offer services ranging from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to Platform and Software as a Service (PaaS and SaaS).|
|Brainloop||Munich||2000||2012||Content Management||Brainloop combines security and compliance in its web-based Document Compliance Management environment, designed for working with confidential information. The cloud-based platform features security policies and compliance technologies like Digital Rights Management (DRM) and watermarks.
It can also include two-factor authentication for the highest protection of sensitive information, with a one-time
transaction authentication number (TAN / PIN) texted to the user’s mobile device to enable him or her to access the
|4flow||Berlin||2000||2012||Supply Chain Management||The supply chain software 4flow vista is the only fully integrated standard software for supply chain design and optimization of its kind on the market. 4flow vista automates and facilitates the often repetitive and time-consuming activities of designing and planning logistics structures and processes. 4flow vista allows for network design, transportation optimization and material flow engineering. In addition to this, the software handles cost-to-serve issues such as total-landed-cost optimization and end-to-end supply chain simulation. Many 4flow vista users reduce their supply chain costs by several million euros each year.|
|iPoint||Reutlingen||2001||2012||Green IT and Sustainability||iPoint enables companies meet their environment, compliance and sustainability requirements in a complex and increasingly tightly regulated production and supply chain environment; whether in the automotive, aerospace, electronics or healthcare industry. The Compliance Agent and Sustainability Data Exchange Hub provide a solution for any manufacturer, who wants to visualize the impact on sustainability and environmental compatibility of components, materials and services used in their production process.|
|Virtual Forge||Heidelberg||2001||2011||SAP Ecosystem||Virtual Forge is an independent software security and research company based in Heidelberg, Germany. Virtual Forge’s employees are leading experts in SAP® application security and programming quality. Virtual Forge CodeProfiler evolved from their unique knowledge, and is the first tool to perform static code analyses as well as compliance and quality tests for SAP applications. CodeProfiler ensures that your business applications meet even the most sophisticated security, compliance, and quality requirements.|
|Acrolinx||Berlin||2002||2012||Content Management||Acrolinx provides Content Quality Software that enables companies such as Adobe, Dell, Cisco, IBM, Philips, and Siemens to make their content easier to comprehend, cheaper to translate, and easier to find. Built on a powerful linguistic analytics engine, Acrolinx helps you analyze, measure, and improve the quality of the content you deliver to your customers. With an academic background at the language technology laboratory of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), their technology is rooted in science.|
|PMD Technologies||Siegen||2002||2012||Imaging and Display Devices||PMD Technologies was founded in 2002 as a spin-off of the Center for Sensor Systems (ZESS) at the University of Siegen, Germany. A fabless IC company, it is the worldwide leading 3D ToF CMOS-based digital imaging supplier. The company owns worldwide patents concerning pmd-based applications, the pmd (Photonic Mixer Device) principle and its realization.|
|Sitrion||Oldenburg||2005||2012||SAP Ecosystem||Sitrion is a pioneer and a global leader in unifying Microsoft and SAP software. The SitrionSuite, a complete business self-service platform, consists of business-ready self-services, productivity applications and tools for extensibility. The SitrionSuite dramatically simplifies working with SAP information and processes in the .NET framework, Microsoft SharePoint, Office and on mobile devices. By redefining the self-service experience in the familiar and well understood Microsoft environment, the SitionSuite drives relevance and adoption of SAP processes for casual users. More than 300,000 enterprise users access SAP solutions via the SitrionSuite.|
|Exasol||Nuremberg||2006||2011||Data Management and Integration||Exasol develops a data management system that enables the rapid analysis and evaluation of data. By implementing the solution from EXASOL, business processes are optimised and secure foundations for decision-making are generated, which give companies a sustainable competitive edge. EXASolution is a relational high-performance database that was specifically developed for enterprise warehouse applications and business intelligence solutions. The database is utilised by companies of all industry sectors for time-critical analyses, comprehensive data research, planning or reporting.|
|Azeti Networks||Berlin||2006||2011||Infrastructure Services||azeti Networks AG is a global manufacturer and supplier of high-performance, unified monitoring solutions. Founded in 2006, with corporate and European headquarters in Germany, azeti also maintains subsidiaries in South America, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. From all business locations, azeti provides commercial and technical support to numerous strategic partners, customers and system integrators. Today, more than 700 companies in 35 countries depend on azeti technology to monitor both their IT and physical infrastructures.|
|Zimory||Berlin||2007||2011||Cloud Management||Zimory delivers software to enable Enterprise Companies, Communication Service Providers and Partners to offer dynamic IT infrastructure services for the enterprise environment.
Zimory offers a Carrier Grade Cloud Computing solution suite; a secure, fully flexible, scalable and interoperable, end-to-end service for private, public and database cloud anytime, anywhere.
|Voipfuture||Hamburg||2007||2012||Communications Service Provider Operational and Business Infrastructure||VOIPFUTURE was founded as a Siemens spin-off in early 2007 in Hamburg, Germany with major investments from Hasso Plattner Ventures and KfW Bank. VOIPFUTURE’s solution for voice quality assurance helps operators and carriers to optimize their routing and network utilization while improving the subscribers’ quality of experience. It covers the entire spectrum of voice quality assurance, including IP interconnection monitoring, network performance optimization and VoIP troubleshooting.|
|Parstream||Cologne||2008||2012||Advancing Data Management Maturity||Parstream offers revolutionary technology for massively parallel-processing based on a patent-pending algorithm. ParStream’s vision is to revolutionize the database market to enable real time big data analytics. To achieve this, ParStream is conducting fundamental research and driving innovation in database technology, allowing users to perform real time analytics on big data at a significantly lower cost.|
|Ubitricity||Berlin||2008||2011||Automotive||ubitricity was founded in Berlin in 2008 to develop new services for households with electric vehicles. We are now one of the few independent energy providers in Germany who deliver renewable electricity to households. In the future, ubitricity will offer its customers who drive EVs the possibility to charge up everywhere (e.g. at work) in total security and confidence, and with one single, simple bill to pay. Customers will receive the benefits of a new infrastructure concept – delivery, metering and billing services for green electricity.|
|Match2Blue||Mainz||2008||2012||Context-Aware Computing||match2blue offers an intelligent smartphone technology with the unique interaction of social networks, audiovisual content and push information in real-time. It has a holistic portfolio of mobile solutions and community-enabling applications that are highly customizable to the requirements of businesses that strive to connect and engage with their employees and/or customers in real time. The heart of match2blue is a matching engine that is capable of hosting millions of profiles and is able to process millions of events.|
|Skyvva||Aschheim||2009||2012||Platforms as a Service||The SKYVVA Integration Suite is a native force.com Integration App covering the entire integration lifecycle – from Data Migration and manual Data Upload to time-scheduled Data Integration to real-time Process Integration.
SKYVVA´s Integration App is natively built on and operated by the salesforce.com real-time Cloud Platform force.com und thus takes advantage of the superior function set, the proven scalabilty and security the same way the Salesforce Marketing-, Sales-, Service Clouds do.
|Reboard||Stuttgart||2010||2012||SAP Ecosystem||Apart from SAP, Reboard is the only German supplier of a cross-platform mobile BI solution. Reboard quickly provides an overview of key data and corporate information to ‘on the go’ decision makers and sales staff. BI reports can be accessed and used via mobile devices, such as tablet PCs and smartphones. What’s more, the application is quick and easy to install for customers – in most cases Reboard can be up and running within just a few hours.|
|Flinc||Ludwigshafen||2010||2012||Smart City Applications||flinc is the world’s first social mobility network which matches drivers and passengers for ridesharing in real-time using desktop, smartphone and navigation technology. By using their desktop, smartphone or navigation device flinc users can easily be matched in real-time with members from their trusted social mobility network and share long or short rides. As a world first, flinc is integrated in navigation software.|
|InfoDyn||Gräfelfing||2011||2012||Information Governance and Master Data Management||Infodyn enables enterprises gain a 360-degree view of their information assets and data flows across all applications and databases, helping them ensure compliance and good governance. The Information Context Suite (IC) from InfoDyn represents the flows of data between various applications graphically and gives an overview of the flow of data and information within a company. Data sources can be traced, meaning that the causes of errors can be quickly found and corrected.|