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Startups in the Larger Rhine-Main Area Raised More than 300 mn € in 2021

Funding in Greater Rhine-Main tracked by RhineMain.vc

Everything changes, also Rhine-Main VC

At the end of 2021, we decided to end the partnership for RhineMain.vc. We will keep trying to bring you updates. For the time being RhineMain.vc will become a project of Startuprad.io

Invitation to the Venture Capital Forum (VCF)

In 2022, we want to be an accelerator for financing in Frankfurt-Rhein-Main as part of the Venture Capital Forum. In this format, quarterly events will be held at which European VCs will pass on their valuable experience to founders and, with the flow of information, hopefully also strengthen the flow of money into the region.

You can register here for the event on May 5th, 2022: https://www.eventbrite.de/e/venture-capital-forum-may-2022-tickets-308889505827.

Learn more here:

Let’s Talk Funding, the bad news

First up, the bad news. We must revise the numbers from the H1 2021 downwards, some deals went under, after announcing. This includes most prominently Volocopter, which wanted to go public with a 200 mn Euro SPAC deal towards the end of the year. They announced their intention in Q1 2021, and we included it in our data. In November they had to call off the deal.

Many of the early crowdfunding backers of Volocopter were not happy with the decision. They thought the IPO would be a big payday for them and now they are back with their early deal of 1% interest.

We are sure the leadership of Volocopter did not take this decision lightly and there have surely been a back and forth for quite some time, until they made this — surely — gut-wrenching decision.

Note: In the meantime, Volocopter raised funds at a unicorn valuation and the numbers will be part of the 2022 RhineMain.vc publications.

Let’s Talk funding, the good news

Second, the good news: Startups in the greater Rhine-Main Area (including cities like Mainz, Frankfurt, Darmstadt, or Mannheim) raised in total 320 mn Euros, or 363 mn US$. This is pure funding for the startups. We will also provide you with an overview of startup exits, IPOs, and a deeper look at Frankfurt’s first unicorn in separate articles.

2021 Q1

We found in Q1 eleven funding deals. Of these several are not public knowledge. In total the deals we tracked raised 201,9 mn Euros (229 mn US$). Notable deals include Clark.de (69 mn €) and Bryter (60 mn €), as well as Captiq’s 30 mn € bond deal, Wingcopter (18 mn €) and the medtech Creative Balloons (15 mn €).

You can learn more about some startups, who raised funds in their respective interviews here:

Clark (69 m € / 85 mn US$), which later in the year went on to become the first unicorn in Frankfurt.

Wingcopter (18 m €) is also a very very interesting startup, combining several technologies to build drones (yes, a hardware startup). These drones can lift off and land as you would expect from drones, but also fly like fixed-wing aircraft. They use those capabilities mostly for humanitarian services to transport drugs or blood samples in remote areas in Africa or Pacific atolls. They also excluded any military applications of their technology in our interview. Learn more here:

Energy Robotics (2 m €) is a software startup. In combination with robotic hardware from other producers, they enable robots to make extensive autonomous inspection tours e.g. on unmanned drilling rigs or industrial complexes in order to look for leaks.

2021 Q2

In the 2nd quarter, we found twelve venture capital and venture debt deals. They raised in total 14,47 m €. Notable deals are Palturai (4 mn €) and Africa Green Tech (4 mn €).

Admittedly the total funds raised are a lower bound estimate, some startups disclosed only “seven digits funding”, where we assumed it to be 1 mn €. The same funding could turn out to be 9 mn €, but we are sticking to the lowest sum we get from public sources.

We could only track 18,47 mn € in venture funding, compared to 343 MN € in Q2 2019 and 368 MN € in Q2 2020. Admittedly BioNTech has been playing a large role in these quarters with their ramp of their products and preparation of their NASDAQ IPO. If we are controlling for their impact, the Q2 2021 is still the lowest total in funds raises, we have tracked so far. This may be due to corona. We hope there is a catch-up later.

You can learn more about Palturai, the Google of Business Data here:

2021 Q3

In Q3, we found — again- 11 deals. This seems to be a magic number for the regional startup scene. Keep in mind that the preparations of these funding rounds still took place under corona conditions. Notable deals include Focused Energy (13,3 mn Euros), Protagon formerly known as CrowdDesk (8,5 mn Euros), and Finlex (8 mn Euros). Here Wincopter again announced funding where investors included Uber Co-Founder Garrett Camp but did not disclose the funding amount.

Focused Energy is a project headed by two professors (Markus Roth from TU Darmstadt and Todd Ditmire from UT Austin). They are working on nuclear fusion with laser and target technology.

You can learn more about Protagon (formerly CrowdDesk) here, which is also the tool used by Sono Motors in their spectacular crowdfunding campaign in 2020, raising 50 mn Euros.

Interview 2020 (introduction to Funding-as-a-Service)

Their announcement — during the first Corona wave — to give the entry-level of their software free of charge

And Jamal El Mallouki, Protagon’s co-founder, is also chairman of the German CrowdFunding Association. We talked to him about the upcoming changes to crowdfunding in the European Union, likely a driver for their fundraising.

2021 Q4

It seems that in the final quarter the regional startup scene rebounded, and we could find 19 deals, which are not all public knowledge. The startups involved raised 61,4 mn Euros in funding (70,5 mn US$). Again, we have Wincopter with undisclosed fundraising from Japanese DRONE FUND.

Other notable deals include

Qualifyze formerly ChemSquare (12,1 mn Euros)

Bloomwell Group (8,6 mn Euros)

Thing-It (7,5 mn Euros) develops a proptech platform, on which is a technology platform for buildings. Learn more here, in our interview on their Series A round.

Finanz Guru (8 mn Euros) is a company, founded by twin brothers. They are known to have high-profile investors.

BITA (6 mn Euros) enables its clients to calculate tailored capital market indices. You can learn more about the founder and the startup in the interview here:

&Charge (undisclosed) helps online shoppers to protect the environment and you can learn more in their interview here:

Q4 2021 was also the time Frankfurt got its first fintech unicorn. You can learn more about it here:

Also, 2021 was a year of exits for the regional startup scene. We will bring you an additional article about them soon. We estimate the total sum of the exits to be around half a billion Euros.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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