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Handelsblatt Global Edition

Humboldt-Innovation (HI), the technology transfer office of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), is an indispensable support unit for academic startups and an active member of the vibrant and international entrepreneurship scene in Berlin.

Handelsblatt is Germany’s leading business and financial newspaper. Since the mid-20th century it has been providing news and in-depth information about Europe’s largest Economy in German. Handelsblatt Global Edition (HGE) strives to provide this service globally in an English-language online magazine.

For more information visit HGE on Facebook

HGE’s new series will be presenting Berlin’s startup scene on 7 selected examples. 

Experience Berlin’s vibrant and innovative startup scene and learn more about the entrepreneurs, their products and daily challenges.

#1 Outfittery

Handelsblatt Global Edition editor Chelsea Spieker visited Outfittery, a men’s clothing specialist that employs stylists instead of salespeople. With an international staff of over 200, the company hopes to change the way men shop by offering a more curated experience. An inside look reveals a solid business model – but also room for improvement.

#2 Panono

Handelsblatt Global Edition editor Chelsea Spieker visited Panono, a company that created a ball shaped camera that contains 36 individual cameras that look in every direction. It takes a full 360-degree panoramic picture in a single shot. Thrown in the air, the camera automatically takes a picture at the highest point, allowing you to scroll through and view every angle as if you were standing right where it was taken.


Handelsblatt Global Edition editor Chelsea Spieker spoke with the cofounder of KIWI.KI, which got its startup bearings in Berlin’s famous Factory incubator.
The firm manufactures sensors which unlock doors from 10 feet away for handless and key-free entry. A review found the firm stands on solid ground, but may face problems of scaling and data security.

#4 Infarm

Handelsblatt Global Edition Editor Chelsea Spieker spoke with the founder of Infarm,
a startup which combines ancient Babylonian hydro techniques with modern LED lighting to grow produce indoors. Vertical farming satisfies mainstream consumer concerns about where products come from, but finding distribution channels for their pricy produce is proving a challenge for this seven-man team.

#5 Ascribe

How can artists be compensated in the digital art world? Handelsblatt Global Edition Editor Chelsea Spieker visited Ascribe, a portal for artists started in 2014 by Canadian entrepreneurs which answers that question. By registering on their portal, artists can keep track of their work online for better customer targeting and higher revenues. It targets a premium market with global expansion potential.

#6 Sonnenrepublik

It’s a product for everyone who has a phone, and it fits in a handbag: It’s your new personal solar panel. Handelsblatt Global Edition Editor Chelsea Spieker spoke with the founder of Sonnenrepublik, a Berlin startup created in 2012 that manufactures portable solar chargers for mobile devices. The markets are endless, but sky-high costs and fierce competition from China may cloud the company’s outlook.

#7 Sygns

Handelsblatt Global Edition editor Chelsea Spieker visited Sygns, a startup catering to a niche market for curated, wordy art installations. While neon signs have become popular and the company has solid funding, it still faces an uphill battle with brand recognition.

Die Kanzlerin direkt

Volker Hofmann, managing director of HI, was given the opportunity to speak with Angela Merkel about innovation and the importance of the Humboldtian model of higher education to foster startups and innovative research ventures, shortly before the “International German Forum”.

Interview with Chancellor Merkel

Volker Hofmann, managing director of Humboldt-Innovation, interviewing Chancellor Merkel.

Our Startups

For an overview of startups spawned by HU students, researchers and alumni, go to:

All HU Startups