#bytevaria Dec 09, 2021

Start-up investments 2021: 1 decacorn, 6 unicorns and numerous investments in Bavaria (part 1)

Despite the coronavirus crisis, many Bavarian start-ups were also able to raise substantial sums for growth and expansion in 2021. This results in a very heterogeneous overall picture of the start-ups in terms of market valuation, technology approach and industry focus. This underlines Bavaria’s pioneering role as a hub for cross-industry innovation – also and especially in the start-up sector. In this mini-series, we take a look at developments in Bavaria in 2021. Today: Scale-ups (part 1/2)

One of the highlights in 2021, besides the announcement by tech giant Apple that is was investing one billion dollars in Munich as a research location, was the promotion of process mining scale-up Celonis to the elite circle of decacorns, i.e. companies valued at more than 10 billion US dollars. But other Bavarian innovation drivers have also made the leap into the league of the unicorns (valued at over one billion US dollars) thanks to fresh venture capital in the last few years.


Celonis: The Munich-based start-up already achieved unicorn status in 2018. Since the last financing round in June this year, Celonis is valued at over ten billion dollars, making it Bavaria’s first decacorn. Founded in 2011, the company enables its customers to control complex business processes in a data-based and intelligent way. All processes are automatically “x-rayed” to identify weak points. Celonis now operates another company head office in New York and cooperates with SAP, among others.

  • Agile Robots is one of the youngest unicorns in Bavaria, alongside Scalable Capital. Founded in 2018, the company with offices in Munich and Beijing raised 186 million euros in a Series C round in September. The start-up’s AI-supported robots are currently mainly used in industrial environments and in medicine.
  • Flixmobility: With FlixTrain, the mobility start-up, which was already rated as a unicorn in 2016, is also increasingly focusing on rail as a sustainable means of transport. In addition to the core market of Europe, Flixmobility is also active in North America and acquired the US market leader Greyhound in October. Flixmobility is currently valued at 3 billion US dollars.
  • Lilium: Founded in 2015, the mobility start-up became a unicorn after just five years and is currently valued at over three billion US dollars. The approximately 600 employees are working on the concept of an electrically powered air taxi. One prominent investor in Lilium is former Airbus CEO Thomas Enders.
  • NuCom Group: Founded in 2017, NuCom Group is an umbrella company in Munich that focuses on bundling national and international B2C start-ups. The company was able to achieve unicorn status as early as the following year. Valuation: 2.2 billion US dollars.
  • Personio: The software company based in Munich was founded in 2014 and develops a digital solution to facilitate HR processes for small and medium-sized enterprises. At the beginning of 2021, the scale-up made the leap to the top tier with a valuation of 1.7 billion US dollars – the market valuation is now as high as 6.3 billion US dollars.
  • Scalable Capital: Founded in 2014, the FinTech start-up is valued at 1.4 billion US dollars after its latest funding round in June. The online platform, which was officially launched in 2016, currently allows almost 300,000 users to trade shares, ETFs and funds. Insights on the current development can be found in our interview with founder and CEO Erik Podzuweit.


It is not only the number of unicorns in Bavaria that is growing – younger, smaller start-ups are also on course for growth in the Free State. Find out which ones they are and how they benefit from the Bavarian start-up ecosystem in the second part of our series of articles, which will be published tomorrow.


Photo: © Celonis

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