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The Munich Start Up Scene According To Mattermark Data

Beer, Bratwurst and Bavarians. But what's new in the city that brought us Octoberfest: can we measure Munich's success by its start ups?

A different look into the capital of Bavaria: the start up scene in Munich.
To find out I used Mattermark, a great big data tool for private companies. I started using Mattermark  looking at my home town of Cologne. Then, I used it again a few weeks after with Berlin because it got so interesting. And now, it’s almost a hobby. So today I'll be looking at Munich, not only because it's the third biggest city in Germany, but also because I just did an investment there (into a market place for gourmet classes and events called Miomente.de).
Mattermark is a big data tool that puts all kinds of indicators (web traffic, social media presence, mobile downloads, etc) together into their so called 'Mindshare Score' (MS) which helps to quickly identify companies whose online footprint is growing the fastest. It is measured on a weekly basis and averaged over time to provide a trending metric. Mattermark is used by lots of (U.S.) VCs, so it's definitely worth looking at.
Every article I'll pick a city I want to explore through Mattermark. Mattermark provides a list of the top 50 companies and I'll pick a few interesting companies that stand out because of their performance, product or simply because I have some personal experience with them and I feel that they shouldn't be left out. The overall theme is simple: how does a city score when looking at their start ups, what is the climate and which are the really cool, innovative companies?
Playing with Mattermark and discussing companies I like almost feels a bit like cheating. It makes it very easy to cut through the noise and discover interesting similarities and relationships within the ecosystem of a city. For the Munich start up scene, these similarities and relationships seems to boil down to combining, comparing and collaborating (sorry for the many rhetorical c-words. I know it sounds cliché, but it's really coincidental!) 
An overall sense of these themes keeps coming up when analyzing the list that Mattermark has provided. This is, to my opinion, a beautiful conclusion to draw from the coming start ups to be discussed. In an emerging new world, in an ever evolving market where the internet is not longer a key role but a foundation in any new product, we see companies trying to combine the power of data, compare the opinions and skills of many to collaborate on projects that help people on a massive as well as an individual scale. Munich has this trend to its core. 
To demonstrate this inferred conclusion I'm going to introduce you to a few intriguing companies high up in the list of Munich's top 50 companies provided by Mattermark. I'll briefly speak about the #1 Coriant, which really isn't a start up at all but I'll explain why Mattermark thinks it is. Then, it gets interesting with the #2 Cryptonator, #3 tado°, #4 Testbirds and #7 TrustYou.
Further down the list but equally interesting are #13 Stylight, #19 Doido and #33 FromAtoB.
Lets discuss and see what's what! 
Let's agree that Coriant (MS: 280) isn't a start up. Why you ask? 
First and foremost it has like 3000 employees. No, I did not mistype. 
So how then has this company been able to scrape up this many employees in the mere 2 years since its foundation in 2013? Well, data never lies but it does sometimes get confused. On May 6th 2013, Coriant became independent from Nokia Siemens Networks under the ownership of Marlin Equity Partners.
Coriant originates from the Transmission Technology department of Siemens based in Munich, Germany, (Übertragungstechnik - ÜT as it was called in the 1990s). It's big, it does great work and it provided an awful lot of jobs. But it really isn't what we want to talk about right now. I wanted to briefly discuss them for two reasons:
  1. They're top of a list I customized to only entail start ups or emerging companies. Not discussing it wouldn't make sense.
  2. I wanted to make it clear why Mattermark is confused. Simply because it has gathered from its search that it was founded in 2013 made it a winner on this list. Which shows us once again that lists and data need to be reviewed by people in order to be useful to other people. 
End of our humans vs. computers philosophy class. Moving on.
Combine: (#2) Cryptonator  
Cryptonator (MS: 642) is a cryptocurrency exchange rate calculator and conversion tool, which allows instantly converting almost every cryptocurrency into another cryptocurrency or into fiat money i.e. US Dollar or Euro. (source: Mattermark)
The company was founded in 2014 and combines your cryptocurrencies in one insightful wallet. You can manage different cryptocurrencies in one personal account. As they put it: Securely store, easily receive and quickly send Bitcoins, Litecoins, Dogecoins and other digital currencies.
I like the fact that they put the customer reviews right on the homepage of the website. The reviews are good and if you'd like to know whether they match up to the stats I got from Mattermark then lets have a look!
> This chart shows the current Growth Score and Mind Share Score for Cryptonator: 
> This graph shows Cryptonator's estimated monthly unique visitors:
Cryptonator was valued quite good upon its conception in August of 2014 and of course has been declining, finding its balance ever since. As most start ups do. 
This balance might actually be in the making since the turn of the year. Around 2015 you can see some evening out which has been held quite firmly up until now. That's good news. We can further declare this victory for Cryptonator by looking at their estimated monthly unique visitors which has been steady on the rise since January 2015, around the same time that their Mindshare score evened out and stayed in balance. Well done!
Combine: (#3) tado°
We all like smart. We like smart people, smart companies and since the emergence of The Internet of Things we also like smart machines and products. 
I personally like the smart people of tado° (MS: 357), who have given us the smart thermostat. This thermostat developed by tado° uses the location of your smartphone to manage the settings of the heating in your house, company or any other building. Around 60% of all householding expenses go to your heating. That doesn't just cost you a lot of money, it's also a waste of energy. Goodbye financial crisis, hello energy crisis!
tado° combines the power of the internet and technical progress to take the annoying maintenance and management of energy out of your hands. It does all kinds of neat things like getting to know your house and its energy leaks, help you manage settings when you're at work or almost returning home and even notices when something is broken. It also helps you find a repair guy. (Although I know another solution for that as well, discussed further on in this article)
tado° has got a nice workforce of 36 and plenty of cash to help innovate the worlds household heating. Since its founding in 2010, it gathered a cool 12,6 million euro's from Target Partners and Shortcut Ventures in two rounds. 
Internationally, not too much has been written yet on this smart thermostat. The focus has mostly been on products such as The Nest and Eccobee, although this is the first product in Europe that I found that operates independently on the basis of your physical location. Other European contenders, mostly provided by big energy labels, are sometimes able to learn from your habits but seem to be 'less smart' when starting out nor do they implement geofencing as a foundation of their service.
In my opinion, tado° might need to step up their game if they want to conquer the European market completely and be able to compete globally. Expanding their internet buzz, making sure they get listed on top when searching for smart thermostats and finding guys like me who write about cool products are just a few of the steps they need to take in order to market this awesome product to its complete potential. 
To conclude this discussion, one graph on the Mindshare score, Growth score and weekly momentum of the company since June 2013 shows that a stable Mindshare score isn't always reassuring statistic if you want to expand your business. 
> This chart shows the current Mind Share Score and Weekly Momentum for Cryptonator: 
Combine & Collaborate: (#4) Testbirds
Testbirds (MS: 301) offers fast and extensive quality assurance and usability feedback for mobile apps and websites by introducing you to what they call crowdtesting. Testbirds gives access to bug and usability experts whom are selected to present specific target groups across more than 60 demographic choices.
I recall sitting in the Jury of Evobis (now: BayStartup), Bavaria's largest business plan competition about three years ago when Testbirds pitched. Back then I liked what they were doing, and even more important, they have executed well since then.
The concept is very simple and they're competing in an emerging market. That means that the idea isn't particularly new but I can see why they score so high on the Munich index of top companies. Their website is very clear and it's easy to get a view on what they can offer and what you can expect. They're also reasonably priced.
What I like about them most is that they've clearly focused on combining the convenience of the crowd with the benefits of selected focus groups. By specifically selecting their testers from a registered crowd of 80.000 people they can offer the client a community of testers that represents their targeted customer base.
Often, the easy approach is the best. By keeping their services insightful and clear, and focussing on target group relevance they've managed to conquer a good position on the Munich top 50 list with a solid Mindshare score. I'll present two graphs to demonstrate their solid Mindshare position and remind you of my last remark on tado°, where I noted that they need improve their stable position before they get in a rut, with the second graph which shows the development of their Growth score. A well balanced Mindshare score might be reassuring, but in a competing market a rising Mindshare score is a thing of beauty.
> These charts show the current Mind Share Score and Weekly Momentum, as well as the Historical Growth score for Testbirds: 
Combine & Compare: (#7) TrustYou
TrustYou (MS: 329) provides powerful online reputation management tools to hotels, restaurants, destinations and intermediaries worldwide. Is basically works as a Mattermark, but for hotels. 
TrustYou explains it like this: 
"TrustYou’s mission is to positively influence travelers’ decisions. Digesting opinions is now beyond any one person’s ability. So, we aggregate, analyze and distill hundreds of millions of opinions scattered across a vast, fragmented market to make digesting this information simple.

Our SaaS technology is sophisticated; our products are simple. We offer Reputation Monitoring, Reputation Surveys and Reputation Marketing that influence more than 50 million travelers booking decisions."

TrustYou has really nailed it how they picked up on such an important development in traveling; the fact that everybody checks and reviews potential holiday locations through websites such as Tripadvisor and others. By combining all reviews from every platform and making it transparant to the client, they've been able to expand their services and building it to the level of a marketing enterprise: know what people are saying, learn from it and then make your next happy customers leave good reviews on those same platforms that you're monitoring in the first place. Very, very clever.
And all the while, the influencing is subliminal. Meaning that if you were to check Tripadvisor for a location, all you read is the review of a genuinely happy customer. The influencing is subliminal to the level that you've merely responded to previous critics, adjusted to it and then inspired your next customer to give their feedback to it. 
TrustYou is doing well since its conception in 2008. With an estimated 59 employees and a 5 million cash injection from Omnes Capital in 2011 and an undisclosed amount from Holtzbrink Ventures I would say that there's plenty of people believing in their product. And heck, with customers such as Accor, Hard Rock and Mövenpick to name a few, why shouldn't they?
Combine, Compare & Collaborate: (#13) Stylight
Another company that stems from 2008 is Stylight (MS: 257). Their product is so simple that I don't understand why I don't know any other companies doing the same thing, from the top of my head (I'm not too familiar with this branche, please comment!). 
Stylight puts all online shopping destinations under one roof. They present it as if it "has been handpicked just for you", but in reality its even more than that. They're really an online department store that has combined all the other destinations to perform as shop-in-shops. So without even attacking an Asos or Zalando for that matter, they've just made it easy for you to shop at all of them at the same time, bringing them more customers as they go along. 
If I were to shop clothes online (I don't, I hate shopping clothes in general), I wouldn't go to Asos directly anymore. I would totally visit Stylight instead.
Whether you're looking for a specific brand or a specific garment, comparing just got more easy with Stylight. I haven't necessarily found much collaborating yet since the company seems to be able to operate independently from the individual destinations. It doesn't need permission nor cooperation from anybody and they'll sent you to the company's website when you want to pay. But the possibilities are there. The question is what they will become.
Well, so much for the concept. We all know that a good company can falter because of many different reasons even if the idea is a great one. Looking at their stats I would say that they need some new input to make them grow more. 
> This chart shows the current Website's Estimated Monthly Unique Visitors for Stylight: 
> This chart shows the current Historical Growth Score for Stylight: 
Maybe Stylight has put more emphasis on profitability instead of mere visitor growth in the past year? Any insights, then I would love to hear your comments below?
They're still doing good, they're just not in the top 10. Yet.
Remember how I said that tado°'s thermostat even helps you find a repair guy? Well, that's not completely how it is, they have them as part of the company. But sometimes you need another repair guy, or maintenance, or cleaning, or anything else and you want it economical and mostly; nearby
Doido (MS: 222) is awesome that way and they've figured it out for us. Doido originates from 2014 and they're officially still "in beta". Which makes it all the more awesome that they maintain a #19 spot on the Mattermark index. 
As they put it: "doido is the fastest way to outsource your daily tasks to the trusted people from your neighbourhood." 
With Doido you can either become a Doer or somebody who delegates (they haven't found a catchy name for such a person yet. Who has a suggestion?). The Doer registers to an account an writes down what he/she can and is in the market for. Other people (who delegate) do the opposite: they write down what they need. This may be a tax declaration, handyman or help with moving. The key is that the person helping you is nearby and that the job is done informally (for the time being according to the website). 
The idea is not really new and it's basically a marketplace for simple, around the house minijobs. But they're effective in their communication and they make it very easy for both parties to find each other and to come to a deal. And that we can call a succes. And so does Mattermark. 
The Doido website lets us know that currently 1415 people in Munich trust Doido to help them get the job done, and that is pretty impressive for a company with no known employees, no known funding and which hasn't been around for longer than a year. They're supported by well known organizations such as Pirate Summit, Wayra and Start Up Rally
> I like this picture that shows you the most recent tasks and the money that has been paid for it. To get you inspired: 
There's just one thing I'd like to know (maybe you can help me) and that is how this spike happened in April (graph below): 
Especially considering that their social media presence isn't all that big and that they haven't even't posted anything on Facebook in that particular month. 
Compare & Combine: (#33) FromAtoB
Finally a brief discussion on a company that may be closing this article, but which might even be the one that will pervade my own life the most. A simple concept but difficult to practice without the right in-house knowledge, but non the less brought to us by FromAtoB (MS: 183): compare the best, fastest and/or most cost effective way to anywhere. FromAtoB started only this year and was able to find itself on the 33th place already, which is exactly why I feel they deserve the mention in this article. 
So of course, I tried it out to see if they knew the best way to go to Bergen in the Netherlands. I went there for some R&R not too long ago and wanted to know whether I had taken the best possible way of transportation. Of course, I went by car and FromAtoB checks all possible ways of public transportation. Still I was curious.
OK, bummer. Bergen was a bit too far off (I'm relieved, perhaps it will stay quiet that way). But Alkmaar, its neighboring city wasn't and yes, it was way cheaper than taking the car. And FromAtoB provided the information in a very transparant fashion actually.
Their Monthly Unique Visitors rate is declining and that's a shame. Especially since they're so young and need to pick up momentum. I hope they'll pick up and do better. The world needs transparant products which deliver what they promise. So apart from not being able to find bergen, which is also a shame, I support FromAtoB. And as far as traveling across Germany goes, they've got that figured out at least. 
> This chart shows the current Website's Estimated Monthly Unique Visitors for FromAtoB: 
Considering all the companies discussed we can conclude that there is definitely a trend in Munich in companies with a motive to work together, bundle products or services and compare whatever is out there to provide people with the information to make a choice that best suits their tastes and agenda's. 
It's a very satisfying trend I would say, to find companies that aren't necessarily trying to reinvent the wheel but instead trying to improve and collaborate on different fronts. 
Compared to what I wrote in my previous articles on Berlin and Hamburg, Munich has a unique perspective on business and providing services that the market requires. It's different from Hamburg which is very technically focussed. It also definitely differs from Berlin which is very artistically focussed. Whereas Berlin is occupied by creating products in the realm of music, art and marketplaces and Hamburg focusses  more on supporting the mechanisms that make those companies possible, Munich's perspective is on building companies that combine and collaborate services and products and help people reach an informed decision about anything. Whether that's how to improve the marketing of your hotel by having an insight into what people are saying about you or knowing the best outlet for your designer jeans, Munich has got you covered. 
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