German AI Startup Landscape

2020's top AI Startups in Germany


Currently, the US and China are leading in the adoption of AI, so it’s no surprise that according to the yearly CB Insights AI 100 list - 65% of the best AI startups in the world are American. Although Germany is one of the world’s powerhouses of industry, with a particularly strong network of SMEs, it is underrepresented in the number of top AI startups.

In 2018, not a single German AI startup made the CB Insights list. This alarmed the team at appliedAI, Germany's largest initiative for the application of AI technology. appliedAI works to bring together the best in artificial intelligence technology, companies, entrepreneurship, and academia to accelerate the adoption of AI. That is why appliedAI – with the help of 40+ partners from academia, government and industry – set out to create an ecosystem in which AI startups can flourish and help shape the future of AI for the benefit of society. With this in mind the first German AI Startup Landscape was created in 2018 with 132 startups maped. In 2020, this list has grown to include over 200 startups from over 20 industries.

Together with contributors, technology companies NVIDIA and Google, as well as eight leading Venture Capital companies (Digital+ Partners, Earlybird Capital, eCAPITAL, High-Tech Gründerfonds, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Lakestar, Speedinvest, and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners), appliedAI screened more than 1000 startups to find the best AI startups in Germany.


The AI startups included in the landscape are private companies founded after 2009, with headquarters or significant development activity in Germany. They have machine learning (ML) at their core or exhibit a significant usage of ML. The selection process can be summarized as follows:

  • The startups are gathered from the different public (e.g. Crunchbase, LinkedIn) and private (VC network) sources to create an extensive longlist.
  • The startups are evaluated based on data, talent, AI methods, scalability, overall quality and subsequently clustered (see clustering logic).
  • The startups are initially rated (‘valid’, ‘upcoming’, ‘longlist’, and ‘discarded’) by our AI Engineers and Strategists to create a shortlist.
  • The shortlist is independently evaluated and rated by our contributors (jury) (Digital+ Partners, Earlybird Capital, eCAPITAL, Google, High-Tech Gründerfonds, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Lakestar, NVIDIA, Speedinvest, and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners). The feedback is synthesized and the final result is visualized.

Landscape Author

About appliedAI

appliedAI is Germanys largest initiative for the application of AI technology with the vision to lift the whole country into the AI age. appliedAI was formed as a neutral and trustworthy initiative that acts both as a platform and service provider. We take our responsibility in the ecosystem seriously and aim to advance each and every partner to the next level of AI maturity. We work on the technological challenges, both in the application and applied research, from a strategic and innovation standpoint as well as with a perspective on education and people development. Our activities and services are primarily determined by the partners that join the initiative. Our founding partners were among others BMW, Google, Infineon, Linde, NVIDIA, and Siemens.

appliedAI is part of UnternehmerTUM. UnternehmerTUM is one of the largest innovation centers in Europe and a non-profit. As a neutral platform for entrepreneurship and innovation, more than 200 employees serve more than 2500 individuals, >100 startups, and >100 companies per year.



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Dr. Andreas Liebl
Dr. Andreas Liebl

Managing Director