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The Good, The Bad, The News: This Week in Germany. Written by Felicitas Hackmann on 25. March 2016

Kreditech raises $11 million

Hamburg-based loan and financial services startup Kreditech announces a $11 million Series C round, which was led by J.C. Flowers. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Amadeus Capital Partners, Värde Partners, HPE Growth Capital and Blumberg Capital participated as well. That brings the overall investment to about $150 million.
Kreditech offers its service to customers with little to no credit history.
[TechCrunch], [Gründerszene] (German)

Friendsurance raises $15 million

Berlin-based insurance platform Friendsurance wants to reshape the way customers and insurance agencies interact by making it a community effort. What this means is people are put into small groups based on the type of insurance needed. For example, property or legal expenses insurance would be grouped. The groups receive rewards of a cash-back bonus each year they remain claimless. This idea convinced Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures a second time and led to a $15 million strong Series B.

Mesosphere raises $73.5 million

Founded by the two Germans, Florian Leibert and Tobias Knaup, with headquarters in Hamburg, San Francisco and New York, Mesosphere announces a $73.5 million strong Series C round. The startup built a data center operating system. The round was led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise in participation with Microsoft. A Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Fuel Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Triangle Peak Partners also joined.

Chinese game publisher Youzu acquires Bigpoint

Hamburg-based online and mobile gaming company Bigpoint has been acquired by Chinese game publisher Youzu Interactive for €80 million. Bigpoint was founded in 2002 and has opened seven offices around the globe: in Hamburg, Berlin, Lyon, Istanbul, Seoul, San Francisco and Malta.

Glispa acquires MoneyTap

Berlin-based performance marketing firm Glispa acquired Tallinn and Amsterdam-based MoneyTap and relaunches the ad mediation platform under the name Ampiri. Ampiri was originally created by MoneyTap and lets one figure out which ad to use in a mobile game or ad.

German Startups Group invests in Auctionata and increases investments in reBuy and TVSmiles

Berlin-based German Startups Group invested in Berlin-based online auction house Auctionata. The startup, which was founded in 2012, focuses on art and luxury items. German Startups Group also increased its stakes in reBuy and TVSmiles. Further details of the deals were not announced.
[via email] (Press Release)

Berlin’s soccer team tries to win on the digital field

Berlin’s soccer club Hertha BSC wants to become more digital. What might sound strange in the beginning makes more sense when you take a closer look. Earlier this year, the club hired former Twitter employee Paul Keuter and made him part of the management team. Part of his job is to integrate social media, but also to continue working on an online ticketing system. Now, Hertha has also started a crowdfunding campaign on Kapilendo which runs for 60 days. Aaaaand: Goal! Within nine minutes the soccer club raised €1 million.
[Gründerszene] (German)

SoundCloud faces new competitor

Berlin-based music sharing platform SoundCloud has to face a new competitor – and it’s not a small one. Apple Music just announced a deal with Dubset, which claims to make mixed and remixed distribution simple and legal. SoundCloud has had to deal with having its music taken down at times but has now inked contracts with Sony, Warner and others.

A journey through Germany’s start-up scene

Being Europe’s #2 – right after London– for start-ups, San Francisco-based MitchelLake Group took a closer look at Berlin’s (and Germany’s) start-up scene. The piece gives an overview about Germany’s Unicorns, incubators and accelerators, as well as the taxation system.

Zalando is more than just a fashion online shop

While many may still think of Berlin-based fashion giant Zalando as an online shop, the company is actually trying very hard to become a platform where people can connect to fashion instead of just buying. That includes working together with brands e.g. on online and mobile storefronts, payment solutions, and delivery options.

Cisco invests in Berlin for it to become a smart city

Cisco and the Berlin Senate Department for Economics announces a deal over the weekend. The MoU (memorandum of understanding) covers mHealth, cyber security and building a general network infrastructure for the platform. Besides that, Cisco will invests $500 million in Germany’s national Deutschland Digital initiative. Over the next three years, Cisco plans e.g. to push the testing of 5G networks.

eGym raises $45 million

Munich-based eGym announced a $45 million Series C round. The startup offers cloud-connected gym equipment, a software and a training app. Having started in 2012, 1,000 of Germany’s 6,000 gyms already use the product, e.g. Fitness First. The round was led by a new investor: HPE Growth Capital. Existing investors also joined.

Image: Some rights reserved by Georgie Pauwels