The power of the brand: startup Germany 2022
Even the numerous and far-reaching crises of recent times have been unable to curb the rapid growth of the German venture capital ecosystem. On the contrary: Ever larger funds, continuing high funding rounds, and an ever expanding ecosystem are feeding the startup spirit and the country’s innovative strength.
Although Germany may not yet have made it into the ranks of the top players in terms of venture capital and innovative strength, young startups are nonetheless also increasingly challenging established markets in the country. However, merely being the “new kid on the block” is no longer enough to successfully position yourself on the market. In times when others quickly catch up on almost every innovative lead and all market participants are dependent on the same advertising networks, it is becoming
increasingly difficult to make out any difference at product and marketing level. In such an environment, the power of the brand and the power of the creatives are becoming ever more important.
And so, in addition to higher funding rounds and valuations, we are also seeing more and more high-quality brand work among young, up-and-coming companies – whether in the form of clever dynamic video ads and out-of-home campaigns or brand partnerships aimed at specific target groups. We have noticed over the past twelve months how the brand as a subject has become very important to a growing number of company founders. The brand work of startups is also increasingly being discussed in the public domain and even the established advertising world is eyeing the activities of young brands with considerable interest.
Following the first Startup Brand Ranking in 2021, we are pleased to be able to publish the second ranking in conjunction with Appinio once again, but this time as Jung von Matt START – our newly founded unit specifically for startups. We want to use the German Startup Brand Ranking 2022 to continue to make the rising stars of the German startup scene visible at an early stage.
In doing so, we are constantly widening our view of the market – and have analyzed more than 200 companies this year. We present the strongest 50 in the Startup Brand Ranking 2022.
This year, we had to conduct two surveys (in June and October) because we observed a high degree of systematic volatility in brand perception benefiting all categories in the summer, which we were able to validate in consultation with experts and on the basis of other data sets. This volatility had returned to normal by the time
we conducted the second survey, but we are now constantly monitoring developments. The data presented here has been generated entirely from the October survey.
There is a suspected correlation between this phenomenon and the development of various crises such as inflation, war, and the pandemic, but this is difficult to prove. We hope to be able to make better statements about the development and possible trends of any variances through continuous monitoring in the future so that we can then incorporate them into the study.
The trend continues: More and more startups are recognizing their brand as a driver of growth and are positively setting themselves apart from their competitors. Some young companies that were already on last year’s list have been able to further strengthen their brands and have once again made it into the top 50. This year, there are also numerous newcomers who have invested wisely in their brands and made it into the rankings within a very short space of time.
A number of thematic clusters are also emerging this year, which, against the background of current trends and events, suggest that the current sociocultural and economic change is a strong driver for challenger brands.
Matters such as digital health, female empowerment, and the economic transformation toward greater sustainability are not only increasingly the subject of public discourse, but are also adding impetus to the brand stories of up-and-coming startups in these areas.
Although the potential of digitalization of the healthcare system is only slowly manifesting itself in Germany, the debate has been gaining momentum for some time. It is evident in the e-health sector that the potential takes on a more concrete form where regulation no longer represents a fundamental hurdle – in the area of quick commerce or telemedicine, for example.
Yet business models are already in the starting blocks in instances where the transformation is still a long way off.
Besides the general interest in digital health, the gender gap is also increasingly coming into focus and FemTech startups are creating new offerings specifically for women, especially in the health sector.
Socially just and sustainable business activity in the interests of neo-ecology is another trend that is becoming increasingly relevant across all industries. This year’s winning brand share, for example, gains distinction with a social business model for consumer goods. And even in markets that are already highly competitive, such as the mobility and energy sectors, young brands are in the ascendant with their forward-looking offerings. The current energy crisis is also playing into the hands of renewable energies, particularly in the private sector – which is why zolar and Enpal, two start-ups in the solar sector, find themselves among the top 50.
Travel is especially in demand following the huge restrictions in place in the course of the pandemic, and the travel startups that made it into the ranking are way above the industry benchmark when it comes to brand perception across all categories.
In short, brand stories that are helping to bring about radical social change and are playing a positive role in the resulting reforms are benefiting accordingly in terms of brand perception.
We will continue to monitor the development of German startup brands in the coming years. Due to the volatility that has manifested itself this year, we will also focus more on observing trends over a period of time more and identifying possible trends.