Cologne – Germany’s third tech city

Set in one of Europe’s most important economic and industrial centres, Cologne is building a new reputation. With the third highest startup density in Germany after Berlin and Munich, and a tech ecosystem that has doubled in value in the last five years, Cologne is diversifying. We’ve explored the startup and venture capital ecosystem, in partnership with KölnBusiness.

Report - Startups and venture capital in Cologne

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2.4x in five years

The Cologne startup ecosystem has seen significant growth in the last five years, with the combined value of startups in the city more than doubling since 2016. A significant chunk of the value comes from ESL, the world-renowned esports company founded and still headquartered in the city. ESL are putting Cologne on the gaming and esports map, and despite multiple global offices, continues to host some of its biggest events in their hometown stadium.

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Cologne, a startup city

Despite Cologne being perhaps best known as an industrial city in the Rhine-Ruhr region, and home and champion of German Mittelstand companies, it is also increasingly home to startups. Cologne has the third highest number of startups per capital in Germany, after Berlin and Munich.

Consistent investment, but still room to improve

VC investment into Cologne-based startups has been consistent in recent years, though there is still also significant room for improvement. A high percentage of Cologne’s capital comes from local investors compared to other German and European cities. If startups can start grabbing the attention of international capital, we could see a step change in development for the Cologne startup ecosystem.

Report - Startups and venture capital in Cologne

Get the complete report

All the data from the report is available to explore on the open-access startup database, in partnership with KölnBusiness, powered by Dealroom.

Explore the Cologne startup database