What do you think about Berlin other than it’s the capital of Germany with a rich history? Well, its intriguing heritage is now complemented by a myriad of companies that start their lives to enter an endless sea of business. Rightfully so, as Berlin now holds the 2nd place among Europe’s startup capitals based on CrunchBase and AngelList data and is only behind London.
Whether it’s a location in the center of Europe or its proximity to Eastern European workforce, Berlin is a magnet for all sorts of talent who come up with innovative ideas to disrupt the market right after launching the product. We’ve collected a list of 6 notable startups that take their roots in the German capital and are ready to present their views of handling day-to-day problems that customers face in a new way.
Mobile banking isn’t a breakthrough, but it’s usually about an extension to an already existing bank. N26 takes another approach, as it’s a fully dedicated mobile bank with its own distribution model and is available in 26 European countries.
What began as a checking account with Mastercard has now evolved into a fully-licensed fintech entity that is competitive against traditional banks thanks to a €10M investment during A-round funding from Valar Ventures, established by one of PayPal’s co-founders. They have now released a branded MasterCard card for all their customers; Maestro, however, is only available for a limited pool of countries.
The idea of a direct bank is about cutting the expenses of having physical departments — this allowed N26 to introduce a fee-free model that varies depending on the country. For example, certain residents of a country can have up to 3–5 free ATM withdrawals per month; if the number is higher, then each withdrawal will have a 2€ fee. Depositing, on the other hand, is free up to 100€, but then there’s a 1.5% fee for higher sums of money. Card emission is also what should be mentioned: the online video chat serves as a verification tool — IDnow makes this process last only 8 minutes.
The mobile app is supported by both Google Pay and Apple Pay, which only adds convenience points when using it. It features push notifications as well as full control over all operations: PIN change, ordering a new card, blocking/unblocking, etc.
P2P insurance is not a stranger anymore and has certainly improved the lives of many customers since launch. But not everyone knows that it took its roots from a Berlin-based startup; yes, Friendsurance was a pioneer in this segment.
The idea is to gather a community of people who pursue the same insurance goal of a, let’s say, car accident policy. Instead of paying a costly premium, their money is put in the same pool where every member has specific conditions depending on the cost, state, and technical specs of each car. So, if there’s a case for a claim, the cashback amount decreases for each member, and if not — a predefined max cashback is returned to its participants. The main benefit is that this policy will never cost more than a premium and gives a large opportunity to save your money if each member drives responsibly.
P2P insurance has seen rapid growth in popularity after blockchain has adopted this technology — now their policies support multiple conditions and the claims are processed automatically upon reaching them, plus the participants’ number and money pool can be adjusted amid an ongoing P2P policy.
We’re here not to exercise in making new terms, but FemTech is a real thing that is gaining popularity when women need a solid app for tracking their biological cycles and keeping fit based on data. Clue is arguably the best solution for this type of purpose — it enables PMS, period, and fertility window predictions by using up-to-date science and the info customers have entered in the app. It also improves over time — the more data you provide, the smarter it gets, allowing to notify its users when certain health events are coming up via an intuitive app calendar and an analysis overview in a separate tab.
Clue is also a great assistant in other health-related issues: hair and skin condition, birth control, pain, sleep, sex, mood, and what should be done based on your body’s data. Whether it’s an injection, patch, or pills, the app is a personal guide on how to handle various situations thanks to analyzing your and other users’ patterns. The menu is easy to customize and can be set up in a personal way both on Android and iOS, plus the Apple-version supports integration with Touch ID, Health app, and Today Extensions.
A built-in scientific base is what also deserves praise, serving as an educational tool for younger users via simplistic tips and remedies. As a result, the app has been used by 10 million people and was claimed as the 3rd best solution for menstrual tracking by Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Taxes, despite being an essential platform for each country’s existence, is something many would like to minimize. Rightfully so, in some US states and European countries, tax rates can reach up to 57.1% of the income, so it’s clear that payers are willing to find a way to decrease their amount, and that’s where Wundertax comes into play. It offers a hassle-free way of recouping tax refunds for workers, soldiers, policemen, firefighters, students, and expats.
They revolutionize tax payments, making convoluted declarations easy to understand via online forms. Moreover, your tax data can be processed up to 4 years back and stored on secure Wundertax servers. Their platform allows for getting a tax estimation in a live mode. Wundertax successfully integrates checks and tax tips to create a 7-step method form that includes personal data, income, expenses, work/study costs, transportation, additional costs (family, training, and household expenses), and data for the tax office.
Not everyone can be an expert in tax deduction laws, that’s why a handy app that does all the work for you, attracted more than $4M in investments during A-series funding to empower customers who would like to have a virtual accountant in their mobile phones.
Clark is a proud representative of a rapidly growing InsurTech industry. Unlike the majority of solutions in this area, it serves as a “robo-advisor” for all sorts of insurance services to help you decide which one fits you the best. You get to choose the product you like, while the app proposes the best options for each particular policy to be improved. By using AI algorithms, it analyzes and adjusts the offer based on your preferences, cost, and conditions for both new and ongoing contracts.
The on-hand consultants are also available, which allows for more detailed info regarding your policy via the app interface. Clark has successfully raised $29M in investments during round B to break a new record for FinTech companies (and $45M total). With both a mobile and desktop version available, the customers’ number has reached 10 million users and is still growing thanks to leading digital banks, including N26 and DKB granting access to Clark’s online services.
How can we optimize healthcare? What if we could simply reduce the time for a doctor’s appointment. For example, Heartbeat enables collecting patients’ data before they even come to a hospital via an online questionnaire. The received responses get transformed into graphs and allow for a quick and precise analysis for doctors in a few seconds. The communication is held via an e-mail or a mobile/tablet app so that medical professionals can have evaluations on which actions should be done: prescriptions, surgery, and other types of medical intervention.
As a result, documentation and preparation for each client become obsolete, and what’s more, Heartbeat enables predictions of one’s medical condition and comparison for countless patients on a larger scale as the knowledge base and statistics increase exponentially. The questionnaire is something you have full control over — you can choose between many default options or integrate your own quiz depending on your patients’ needs. Backed by a €3M injection from Holtzbrinck Ventures, Heartbeat has become one of the leaders in a cutting-edge medical analysis that helps medical professionals in real-time.
Hopefully, this list was useful for you to find new tools to simplify your life for the better. Did I miss some other promising Berlin-based startups that solve routine problems better than these? Let me know in the comments section below.