7 Reasons Why You Should Run a Startup in Munich

March 3, 2020

The number of entrepreneurs who decide to set up their startups in Munich is growing. There is no doubt that Munich’s startup ecosystem is unique and offers exceptional opportunities. In fact, “Silicon Valley of Europe” label stuck to the city, and there are a lot of reasons to call Munich like that. Let’s dive into 7 reasons why you should run a startup in Munich.

In this article, you will learn more about 7 reasons to run a startup in Munich:

  1. Presence of numerous global players, who cooperate and invest.
  2. Excellent location in the centre of Europe.
  3. Lots of tech talents and supportive universities.
  4. Many excellent co-working spaces.
  5. Dynamic meetup groups for entrepreneurs.
  6. Helpful accelerators and incubators.
  7. Events that attract speakers like Barack Obama or Richard Branson. Can’t miss it!

1. Numerous Global Players Presence

Many global players have their headquarters in Munich: Microsoft, Google, Intel, Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Oracle and 30% of DAX companies like BMW, Siemens, Allianz, Adidas. IBM opened its Watson IoT Global Headquarters in Munich’s Highlight Towers. It was IBM’s biggest investment in Europe in more than two decades. Google started a long-term partnership with the TUM (Technical University of Munich), including €1 mln grant for artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning projects. Siemens also opened a headquarters for 1200 employees there.

Young startups have the opportunity to collaborate and do business with international companies representing various industries. Many of the international players also opened their own incubators, accelerators and startup labs where startup owners can learn. They also invest a lot. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of promising startups in Munich. With actively investing global players Munich gives startups exceptional ability to get their first $10m revenue with local players.

2. Location in the Center of Europe

Munich is located in the heart of Europe, within a few hours drive to Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy or Poland. The city is easily accessible and often visited by internationals. Munich is very well-connected to the rest of Europe. It offers an extended rail network and convenient international connections. What is more, the airport in Munich is the second busiest in Germany and 9th busiest in Europe. As a consequence, it’s easy to travel to various European locations. Munich’s location opens a lot of possibilities to find business partners across Europe.

3. Strong Academic Support (+ Lots of Tech Talents)

Munich universities like Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, the Technical University of Munich and Munich University of Applied Sciences shape talents and cooperate with startups in their Entrepreneurship Centers. What is more, TUM created its own incubator to help young entrepreneurs. Universities in Munich cherish innovation. The city is well-known for numerous specialists and innovators from tech, engineering and automotive fields.

4. Multiple Coworking Spaces

Startups also need office space. In Munich, you’ll spot a lot of co-working spaces around the city, like WeWork, Combinat 56, Design Offices Arnulfpark, IDEA KITCHEN, Impact Hub, MakerSpace, and MindSpace. Here you can find 62 co-working spaces in Munich. 

Some of these places offer additional, incubation-like or extra services. MakerSpace by UnternehmerTUM connects prototype creators with large companies like Infineon and BMW. IDEA KITCHEN has a ‘mobile office’ in a car trailer. It has solar-powered WiFi and includes a tent, in case you would like to work near a lake or in a forest. Some places offer 3D printers, all of them have the equipment needed and electronics. Munich co-working spaces base is really well-developed.

5. Dynamic Meetup Groups

Startup meetup groups share knowledge, best practices and bring together like-minded people. They are an essential part of the city’s ecosystem. Joining a few meetup groups helps to get familiar with Munich startup ecosystem and gradually become a part of it.

In Munich, there are a lot of groups for entrepreneurs, which grow dynamically. For example, Startup Grind is an independent startup community in partnership with Google. The group organizes meetups with local founders, educators, innovators and investors. Unternehmer Mastermind is a group focused on networking among entrepreneurs. It sets up a networking meeting once a month. Munich WIForum is a local community of entrepreneurs, investors, university lecturers and supporters who help each other build businesses and get funding. They organize various pitching and fundraising trainings, also online. Here you can explore all of the Munich meetups groups (there are lots of them!).

6. Excellent Incubators and Accelerators

Accelerators and incubators help entrepreneurs find mentors, potential business partners, raise funds, and work out a viable business concept. They also share a lot of knowledge. Without them,a city wouldn’t be the best place to start up a business. Fortunately, the Bavarian capital offers a lot in that area. There are a few excellent accelerators and incubators in Munich.

Many corporations opened their accelerator programs for startups. For example, BMW has the BMW Startups Garage, where they become early-adopting venture clients. That’s a huge opportunity for startups that want to innovate in the automotive industry. Siemens has Next47, an accelerator that supports startups that use deep technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, IoT, robots or advanced manufacturing. Wayra is a startup accelerator backed by Telefonica S.A. They organize a 4-month accelerating program, and after that, members can receive potential investment up to €350 000 and sign a commercial contract with Telefonica.

Munich’s universities also have their accelerator and incubator programs. UnternehmerTUM owns TechFounders, a 20-week international accelerator program. The University of Applied Sciences Munich has SCE Startup Inkubator where they support business ideas from any industry.

7. Exciting Business and Tech Events

Tech and business events gather up whole communities. They let entrepreneurs find potential partners and learn about the newest tech trends. Attending events is a great way to become familiar with the hub’s atmosphere.

In Munich, there are a few tech conferences that are definitely worth visiting. For example, Machine Learning Conference is an event that shows how to use machine learning to understand their data better. This event is great for startup owners who would like to use Machine Learning to enhance their businesses. QCon is an international, well-known conference for senior engineers and architects, known for sharing a lot of easy-applicable solutions. Presentations cover innovations, emerging trends and tools. QCon takes place in London, New York and San Francisco, and for a few years also in Munich.

And what about business events? There is one that stands out from the others: Bits and Pretzels. It attracts well-known speakers and entrepreneurs from all over the world. In previous editions, we could listen to Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Reid Hoffman. And the event’s Oktoberfest Networking is a hit. If you think about running a startup in Munich, going to Bits&Pretzels this year is a must! Here you can check other top startup events in Munich in 2020.

Munich – a Perfect Location to Set up a Startup Business

Munich offers startups opportunities like no other city in Europe. Great location, lots of accelerators, incubators, meetup groups and coworking spaces, access to tech talents and international corporations who love to partner and invest. Munich also offers a high quality of life and entrepreneurs value the city for the healthy work-life balance. Unfortunately, the city is expensive to live in, but still cheaper than London or Stockholm. What is more, in Germany, in general, there are good state-run programs that support startups.

Probably the biggest success story from the hub is Flixbus. It offers long-distance bus rides at low prices through an online booking service. Flixbus achieved global success and entered the US market. 

If you also want your startup to succeed, consider setting up your business in Munich.

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