Investment Thesis: Techstars Berlin – Shaping the Future With Deep Tech

Jun 04, 2023

Deep Tech companies are at the forefront of scientific and engineering innovation, pushing boundaries of the state of art and creating novel solutions. These companies are addressing the most pressing problems humanity faces and will make a meaningful impact on our society and the world as we know it.

At Techstars Berlin, we believe the time has come to build the next generation of Deep Tech companies in Europe and we want to support founders on this mission. Our accelerator program aims to provide Deep Tech founders and beyond a nurturing environment that combines funding, mentorship, resources and valuable networks. Together, we will build a thriving ecosystem, transform the Deep Tech landscape in Europe and strengthen the long-term competitiveness of the European economy.

While we are working with founders in a variety of verticals in Deep Tech, we are focusing specifically on Climate Tech, Robotics, Life Science, AI & Machine Learning, Future of Computing and the Future of Mobility. We will work with founders outside Deep Tech, too. We have in particular a strong interest in FinTech, Web3 as well as Future of Work.

Climate Tech

Deep Tech plays a crucial role in addressing environmental challenges. Planet positive technologies within Deep Tech are in particular dear to our hearts. These startups often help consumers and businesses move toward a net-zero economy. The extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels or raging wildfires we have observed in the past may just be the beginning and climate tech startups contribute to prevent these phenomenons in the future. 

Our focus is not on startups that merely mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, but which contribute to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions with a technology-enabled approach. As an example, these companies could focus on carbon accounting, eco-friendly transportation, green energy, fuel savings, green roofing, hydrogen storage & supply, smart urban mobility, green facades, emission-free buildings, plant-based milk or lab-grown meat. The intersection between climate tech and FinTech is a particular angle we watch closely. 

Check out: Riverse, climeworks, carbon clean, H2 Green Steel, sunfire, Tokamag Energy, Marvel Fusion, SMART-Photonics


The intersection of advanced hardware, artificial intelligence, and automation creates promising innovations. It enables the development of intelligent machines capable of performing complex tasks with autonomy. Areas within robotics that present compelling opportunities for us include autonomous vehicles and drones, industrial automation and manufacturing, healthcare robotics for surgical procedures and patient care, as well as agricultural robotics for efficient farming practices.

Check out: Acutronic Robotics, Open Bionics, Exotec Solutions, Franka Emika, ABB Robotics

Life Science

The convergence of cutting-edge technology, data analytics, and biological sciences have driven innovation in healthcare, diagnostics, and agriculture. Examples of areas that excite us are precision medicine, where genomics and personalized therapies are tailored to individual patients, bioinformatics and AI-driven drug discovery, as well as further development of advanced medical devices and therapeutics that address unmet needs in various disease areas. 

Check out: Healx, Sophia Genetics,, In Ovo, Aromyx

Novel AI & Machine Learning

AI has taken the world by storm. Within the AI & ML space, we seek out companies that do not simply develop application layers on top of existing AI & ML technology but work on cutting-edge further advancements such as deep learning algorithms for autonomous vehicles, innovative natural language processing models for conversational AI, or revolutionary computer vision technologies for medical diagnostics. We prioritize startups that possess a combination of technical excellence, disruptive potential, and a compelling value proposition in their respective fields.

Check out: Aleph Alpha, Stability AI, Exscientia, Telekinesis

Future of Computing

The future of computing encompasses emerging technologies and paradigms that are shaping the way we process and manipulate information. We are active in areas such as cloud computing, decentralized clouds, green computing, quantum computing, edge computing, neuromorphic computing, and advanced chip architectures. 

Check out: IQM, Terra Quantum, Beit, Gemesys

Future Mobility

Advanced technologies and innovations are increasingly integrated into traditional modes of transportation to enhance efficiency, safety, sustainability, and user experience. We seek to foster innovation in areas such as autonomous vehicles, electric mobility, connected transportation systems, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies applied to the mobility sector.

Check out: Wayve, Vay, holoride, holograktor, WayRay, Zync, DeepDrive

Wild Card

While our primary investment areas are outlined above, we are not confined by these parameters. For example, we have a keen interest in Fintech innovations that are happening beneath the surface such as ML-empowered predictive analytics, risk assessment and fraud solutions for financial institutions. We are also actively seeking to work with Web3 founders who are leveraging decentralized technologies to reshape industries and drive innovation. Our focus is on projects that tackle real-world challenges through decentralized finance (Defi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized governance and decentralized identity. Last but not least, we look for founders in the Future of Work space, leveraging technology to enhance productivity, enable seamless remote work experiences, and empower workers with upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

Check out: Chainalysis, Arweave, Banxware, Comply advantage, Paymongo, Receeve, Banqz, Deel, Turing

If your founding team has an idea that doesn’t quite fit into one of the categories above, please contact us anyway. While these areas excite us, you, as founders, are more important than these ideas. 

We are also seeking to invest in founders representing Europe at large. The European tech ecosystem continues to be underrepresented in terms of female founders, founders with a migratory background, and entrepreneurs above the age of 50. We at Techstars are committed to building an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem and will coach and support diverse founding teams during the selection process.

Submit your application for the program here.

About the Author
Martin Schilling

Martin Schilling is the Managing Director of the Techstars Berlin Accelerator. As an angel investor, startup builder and scale-up executive, Martin co-founded and scaled up five companies over the past 15 years. These companies include Orphoz (a subsidiary for McKinsey & Company), a public company in Saudi Arabia, the MARA foundation in Argentina, and the fintech N26. Martin is a co-author of the book, “The Builder’s Guide to the Tech Galaxy – 99 Practices to Scale Startups into Unicorn Companies” and is passionate about seeking out and enabling the next generation of European Entrepreneurs building high-growth businesses.