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1stMOVER is a seed fund and incubator for start-ups 
focussing on "mobile internet". 1stMOVER and the strategic partner
Appsrise are located on the 5th floor of the ICT Hub "K-LAN" in Duesseldorf Heerdt close to the new Vodafone Campus. 1stMOVER Start-ups are supported with a 100.000€ seed funding as well as inexpensive office space and daily advice on all strategic & operational challenges.


BioCampus Cologne is one of the largest technology parks in Germany. Numerous technology-driven startups and established companies form a vital cluster for innovation within the heart of Europe. With a total area of more than 25 hectares and 30,000 m2 of rentable space, the Campus offers an excellent environment for knowledge-based industries like life sciences, healthcare, IT and engineering. A comprehensive selection of modern infrastructure (biolabs, cleanrooms, and offices) is added by business incubation, network access and general services, so the BioCampus Cologne is the perfect hub for innovation within the Rhineland. 


DvH Ventures is the corporate venture vehicle of the DvH Medien GmbH (Dieter von Holtzbrinck) publishing companies. We support early start-up companies developing business models around innovative products or services. Founded in May 2014 our current investment focus rests on areas related to our publishing companies, i.e. among others fintech, e-learning, real estate & travel, jobs, and innovative editorial content. DvH Ventures invests with capital, management support, and access to the target groups of the DvH Medien GmbH publishing companies (Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt, Tagesspiegel Gruppe, and ZEIT Verlagsgruppe).​



The AXA Innovation Campus is a new initiative launched by AXA Germany to support innovative business ideas in insurance-related fields. We address innovative people who have a stunning idea but not yet the knowledge or financials to make it big. Here you can turn your idea into reality – in an environment that appreciates your creativity and not only provides capital, but also gives you access to an experienced network of founders.​


With the central location at the heart of Western Europe and excellent transport links, the city of Cologne and the Rhineland provide ideal conditions for companies of every size – including one-man shows as well as global players.

Promoting and expanding the variety of business lines and mix of companies in the region is our passion. To fulfill our mission we love to support start ups in their development from their very first spark of business idea. Discover the place of tomorrow’s start ups!​


METRO GROUP is one of the most important international trading companies. In the financial year 2013/14, it generated sales of about €63 billion. The company operates around 2,200 stores in 30 countries and has a headcount of around 250,000 employees. The performance of METRO GROUP is based on the strength of its sales brands that operate independently in their respective market segments: METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry – the international leader in self-service wholesale –, Media Markt and Saturn – the European market leader in consumer electronics retailing – Real hypermarkets and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.


The regional seed funds, the NRW.BANK.Venture Fund and the NRW.BANK.Kreativwirtschaftsfonds invigorate the early-phase funding in North Rhine Westphalia. Young high-tech firms are supported by funding of up to € 5 million.


The NRW.BANK.Mittelstandsfonds and the NRW.BANK.Spezialfonds provide equity in the amount of € 1 to 7 million to growth intensive mid-cap companies. In addition, Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaft NRW makes equity capital of up to € 1 million available to firms with positive growth prospects. For businesses with above-average growth prospects and a convincing management team NRW.BANK provides contacts to potential private investors within the win NRW.BANK Business Angels Initiative. The NRW.BANK.Venture Center is a specialist advisory unit for technology-oriented up-and-coming business founders from universities and research institutions as well as innovative start-ups. It pools the advisory services of NRW.BANK and combines them with other promotion and advisory offerings in the market. ​


The Rotonda Business Angels are a member-driven organisation composed of Cologne area business professionals who work together to help support high growth economic development in the region. We support the regional economic development by funding growth oriented, early-stage companies with solid business plans and good management teams. We improve investment opportunities by leveraging the diverse experience and expertise of our members and actively support the spread of entrepreneurial mind-set in practice, theory and academia.” ​


The successful transfer of an innovative idea into a new company requires a good entrepreneurial concept and much angagement. For the start-up period the incubator “RTZ” provides entrepreneurs and young technology companies in the field of future technologies with 4,000 m² of multifunctional space with state-of-the-art equipment and a comprehensive range of consulting services and infrastructure including lab rooms for biotec companies, our “FOUNDERS Club” with workplaces for start-ups and personal trainings for young entrepreneurs. The magazine RheinZeiger helps to carry out optimal communication.  ​


As the RWTH center for entrepreneurship our goal is to inspire students to pursue a career in entrepreneurship and to become their own boss. We are supporting RWTH students and employees in all phases of this endeavour - from hosting network events before they even know they want to become an entrepreneur over personal one on one coachings in the business planning phase to connecting teams and financing institutions in the later stages of business growth. ​


Dr. Lorenz Gräf is founder of the startup incubator STARTPLATZ based in Cologne. From the beginning there was the ambition to create a hotspot for founders and entrepreneurs in the Rhineland. In November 2012 STARTPLATZ opened its doors and grew quickly to over 2300 qm and over 90 teams.
In May 2015 the City of Düsseldorf and Lorenz announced the opening of a second STARTPLATZ in Düsseldorf.​


T-Venture is the Venture Capital Company of Deutsche Telekom and was founded in 1997. The headquarters is in Bonn. They are supported and complemented by T-Venture of America, Inc. in San Francisco and Seattle. Investment activities focus on Europe, the United States and Israel.

T-Venture today is one of the leading Corporate Venture Capital companies worldwide. Since its inception, T-Venture has invested in more than 190 companies and accomplished many very successful exits, such as recently the IPOs of Demandware and Ruckus Wireless.​


TS Ventures is the investing arm of Tim Schumacher. Tim Schumacher is co-founder and former long-term CEO of Cologne-based (currently € 130 M in Revenue and 350 employees). He’s now involved in various start-ups, among it, Aklamio, Stuffle, Yieldkit and Ecosia, in some cases as a Business Angel, in some cases very hands-on.​


Venista Ventures is specializing in early-stage investments as well as advancing smart mobile ideas with reasonable know-how. The company invests in startups driven by mobile-centered innovations. Besides providing pre-seed and seed-financing, Venista also provides technical and legal expertise, marketing knowledge and full support necessary for mobile entrepreneurs to guide their ideas from concept to market.

Being a Cologne, Germany-based Company, Venista has a specific approach that draws from its own experience in initiating businesses. For more than ten years, Venista Ventures has been dedicated to driving and enabling mobile innovations. The strong belief is: Developing as well as implementing an innovative, successful business will only work if you have the right combination of idea, team and supporting partners. ​


End of 2015 Wertheim will offer co-working spaces, serviced apartments and event area for all kinds of festivities or cultural presentation under one roof.  Wertheim will be a place to come together for work, to live and to enjoy a variety of activities like art exhibitions, music performances or networking events. 

Since the beginning of 2014 we have regularly organised our network event CREATIVE COUCH. Due to the unconstrained atmosphere question and answer sessions often develop naturally, jokes are being told spontaneously and people get into contact without being under pressure.The WERTHEIM team profits from the continuous training in organisation, event management and presentation. With really every CREATIVE COUCH event we learn something new – and hopefully you too!​


Düsseldorf’s office of economic development sets a main focus of its activities on the individual support of startups and on fostering the startup ecosystem within the city. The goal is to evolve North Rhine Westphalia’s capital into an internationally renowned startup hub. As one of Europe’s leading locations for the ICT, mobile and retail sector as well as the center of one of Germany’s top-4 biotech clusters Düsseldorf is a perfect location for startups to found and to grow their businesses. ​

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