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Germany has always been a country of inventors and innovators. No wonder that technology has become one of the most important industries in Germany. Almost 100,000 tech companies are based in Germany, and thousands of new startups are launching every year. Public and private investments in R&D amount to €83bn – that’s 2.9 percent of GDP, making Germany the fourth biggest R&D nation after the US, China and Japan. The thriving German startup community is living proof of this innovative environment.

Founding a startup has never been easier for German entrepreneurs than today: By automating some of the most resource-intensive parts of building a business, from processing invoices and communicating with customers to accepting payments online, third party tools today play a big role in making it easier for founders to grow and scale their business.

Stripe has partnered with Techstars, Factory Berlin, TheFamily, Paua Ventures and BuildersNetwork to find out more about this ecosystem of tech tools, and about how German startups benefit from it. Between February and March, 2017, we conducted a survey amongst German startups, and more than 200 of them shared their insights with us.

The results are striking: 90 percent of participants of the study agreed that new tools and technology have made it easier to launch a startup today. Tool availability is in fact for them the number one factor that has made it easier to start a business – way before government support, for example. Three quarters of startups use more than five third party tools, and two thirds of respondents went as far as saying that their startup couldn’t exist in its current form without this ecosystem of third party tools.

In addition to that, 80 percent stated that tools have also made it cheaper to run a startup. That’s particularly great for a country like Germany, where 84 percent of founders still use their own savings to fund startups – cost efficiency is of utmost importance.

The five most important business areas German startups use third party tools for are:

  1. Team collaboration & communication: 58% of respondents ranked this area highest, with Slack and Trello being the most frequently mentioned providers.
  2. Hosting & data storage: 48% (AWS, Google Cloud Platform)
  3. Analytics: 43% (Google Analytics, Tableau)
  4. CRM: 42% (Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive)
  5. Payments: 29% (Stripe, Paypal)

The main benefits of third party tools that respondents mentioned most frequently are increased productivity and reduced operating costs – this is directly related to the specific German startup need of cost efficiency. Quicker product development and faster time to market are additional advantages that were frequently mentioned.

44 percent of founders in Germany consider their product to be globally unique, so they need to focus very much on product development, and get as many non-product related business tasks out of the way as possible. We consider this the main reason for the strong use of third party tools and technology: The German startup community is running on an infrastructure of third-party tools that cater to the two specific German needs: cost-efficiency and product focus. Stripe is a part of this infrastructural ecosystem, and is happy to do its part to make German entrepreneurs thrive globally.

Keep on building!



Felix Huber Felix Huber
Felix Huber has been Head of Northern Europe (DACH, Benelux, Nordics) at Stripe since May 2014. Prior to that, worked as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, where he oversaw numerous telecommunications and high-tech projects. Before that role, he worked at Google and fotocommunity, the leading platform for photography in Europe. Felix graduated in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, USA.