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techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

Tech Companies in Munich: The Guide to Munich’s Tech SceneWhile Berlin is the capital of Germany, Munich is its economic heartland. TheBavarian capital has the highest purchasing power of any German city and manylarge German companies and global corporations are headquartered here,including: * BMW * Celonis * Siemens * Allianz * Audi * FlixbusBut what does Munich have to offer software developers?To figure that out, we created the Munich Tech Map, a guide to jobs andcompanies in the city for software developers. We mapped 200 tech companies(both startups and corporates) based in Munich, classified them by industryand further divided them by their programming languages. We also talked tosome locals in Munich’s developer scene and soon discovered the city has a lotto offer software developers.## Munich’s Economic DominanceAccording to Deutsche Startup Monitor, 31% of startups in Germany are locatedin Berlin, compared to 11% in Munich. If you take Bavaria, the state to whichMunich is the capital, as a whole, that number jumps to 16%.While Berlin is home to the most startups in Germany, Munich’s strength is itsmix of old and new industry. The reasons for Munich’s economic strength areboth cultural and historical: following WW2, many firms moved production fromEast to West Germany. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany againunderwent a sustained period of deindustrialization; large rundown East Germanindustries were sold off to West German companies by the German Treuhandagency, created in 1990 to privatize state-owned East German assets.While Bavaria flourished, Berlin floundered. And despite over €2 trillion offinancial transfers from the former West to the former East, huge disparitiesstill exist between the regions, in measures such as labor productivity, GDP,and income. Maps comparing the regions confirm this fact.For software developers interested in working in Munich, Bavaria’s dominanteconomic position has a number of implications. First, wages are higher herethan in Berlin, but so is the cost of living. Second, there is a broaderchoice in types of companies and industries to work for, but fewer startups.To give a rough analogy, Munich is to Berlin what New York is to SiliconValley.Despite fewer startups, Bavarian automotive, finance, and media giants basedin Munich are eager to cement Germany’s reputation not just as a traditionalengineering powerhouse, but also as a world leader in software engineering,which makes Munich a rather exciting place for software developers to be.## Mobility in MunichEvery fourth German car is made in Bavaria. Munich is home to BMW and variousother suppliers. Audi is based 50 minutes away in nearby Ingolstadt. Close to200,000 people in Munich are employed in the automotive industry, whichgenerated €110 billion in revenue in 2014. The shift to autonomous driving isa big topic in the city, and one which dominates strategy of major carmakers.At a December meeting of BMW, Munich’s most famous carmaker, the company’s CEOHarald Krüger, admitted that Apple, Google, Uber and Lyft were “very dangerousplayers” in the car market. Krüger was talking days after BMW had posted itsbest-ever earnings, which largely came from record sales in its BMW, Mini andRolls-Royce brands. Despite its bumper profits, BMWs shares were down by afifth, reflecting concerns of shareholders about the encroaching influence oftech companies.In the same meeting, Krüger added that Germany’s background in engineering andautomation made it the ideal location to respond to trends, “We in Germanyhave the best conditions for a new era of mobility,” he said, adding that thecar industry was not being transformed, but was simply “on the move”.BMW is currently extending its reach into tech and startups. DriveNow, thepay-by-the-minute car-sharing service launched in 2011 is owned by BMW, andnow operates in 11 European cities. The US version, ReachNow, which launchedin three pilot cities in 2016 and has 32,000 members. The company also has aVC arm, iVentures, which operates a $530 million fund, investing in sharedmobility, virtual reality, in-vehicle digitalization, and cloud technologies.BMW Startup Garage is BMW’s Venture Client and is also based in Munich. It isfocused on automotive technology and urban mobility. For startups in theprogram, BMW buys a first unit of the startup’s technology, provides officespace and supports in manufacturing of a prototype, as well as access toskills through BMW’s innovation centres.Daimler is also investing in startups in Munich. Daimler Mobility invested inFlixBus, a long distance bus company with an online booking platform, whichsince the end of the railroad monopoly and the privatization of the intercitybus market in Germany, has been offering bus tickets at very low prices.Sixt, a car rental company with about 4,000 locations in over 105 countries,is also encouraging entrepreneurship within the company. According to BoyanDimitrov, Director of Platform Engineering at Sixt, one of the biggesttechnical challenges has been the shift to a new mindset about building cloud-native software: “Running applications in a cloud environment is something newfor us, because we are used to operating our own data centers and therefore weare used to managing our applications in a certain way. Now when we arebuilding applications on the cloud we have to think more about how they behavein an environment which we do not fully control. Its been a steep learningcurve to figure out how to build automated and resilient software that relieson self-healing.”## That thing, that thing, that Internet of ThingsMunich’s combination of high-tech industries, knowledge-intensive services andtraditional production make the city a fertile breeding ground for emergingInternet of Things companies. While the phrase IoT irks many developers forits overly generalized and somewhat inexplicable applications, the term isuseful as a catch-all phrase to describe the connection of everyday objects tothe internet, allowing them to send and receive data.In December 2015, IBM opened its Watson IoT Global Headquarters in Munichwhere a team of 1000 developers, consultants, researchers and designers areworking on cognitive computing. This is IBM’s largest investment in Europe inmore than two decades. “The Internet of Things will soon be the largest singlesource of data on the planet, yet almost 90 percent of that data is neveracted upon,” said Harriet Green, general manager, Watson IoT and Education.“With its unique abilities to sense, reason and learn, Watson opens the doorfor enterprises, governments and individuals to finally harness this real-timedata, compare it with historical data sets and deep reservoirs of accumulatedknowledge, and then find unexpected correlations that generate new insights tobenefit business and society alike.”According to IBM, there are more than 9 billion connected devices operating inthe world today, generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data daily. Makingsense of data embedded in intelligent devices is creating a significant marketopportunity that is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020. A number ofstartups in Munich are attempting to capture this market.ProGlove developed the first smart glove used for industrial purposes. JonasGirardet, CTO and one of the company’s founders, described the growinginterest of corporates in Munich’s startups, “I think the last years there hasbeen a shift in thinking on high management levels about how to speed up theinnovation process. Now large companies really want to work with startups,especially here in Munich where there is a technology hub provided by thenetwork of startups, universities and corporates” He continued that innovationis key to maintaining Germany’s position as a driver for manufacturingprocesses. ProGlove received support from corporate clients in developingprototypes and use cases for their product.Similarly Konux are developing smart sensor systems helping industrialcompanies to reduce maintenance costs with artificial intelligence. Kinexon’stechnology is being used to improve manufacturing and logistics processes andproducts in navigation of driverless transport systems, asset tracking,process mapping and worker safety management.Another IoT company to emerge from Munich is Bragi. The company launched in2014, following a successful $3.3 million Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Ayear later, it launched Dash, the first completely wireless smart headphones,which can be used to listen to music, track your heart rate and oxygensaturation,, among other features. Dash is a powerful microcomputer with morethan 150 micro components, 27 sensors and a 32-bit processor. Bragi switchedfrom Bluetooth to a technology called Near-Field Magnetic Induction, or NFMI,which uses a low-power magnetic field to transmit data.For startups operating in IoT in Munich, the efficient supply chains are ahuge benefit. CTO of Bragi, Toby Martin, commented, “The list of requirementsto make the Dash is enormous; it was far far more complicated than weanticipated when we started. But when we were struggling with electronics,with the materials, the optics and the components, we always found thatsomewhere near Munich there was a company doing precisely what we needed andthere were happy to help us. And certainly in the wider community of Munichcompanies there was a sense for community.”The dominant programming languages these IoT companies in Munich are hiringfor are C++, Node.js and Python.## Virtual Reality MunichMetaio are the pioneers of Augmented Reality (AR) in Munich. Their purchase byApple in 2015 catapulted Munich to the forefront of AR worldwide. While exactfigures on the number of companies operating in AR and Virtual Reality (VR) inMunich are scarce, there is a vibrant community and some strong emergingplayers.Like IoT, the development of AR and VR in Munich is tied to a mix of excellentuniversities, strong corporate support and dynamic community initiatives.The city is home to Technische Universität München, where world-class researchis being conducted under the guidance of Professor Klinker. Likewise, theBayerisches Filmzentrum offer coaching and support for content creators on the360°/VR track of the First Movie Program, as well as workshops, labs,masterclasses and events. Automotive companies, such as BMW, and mediacompanies, like Pro7 and Sky are working on AR and VR applications. Last year,Audi launched its VR experience in selected dealerships, to give customers anidea for the look and feel of their potential new purchase.According to Dirk Schart, co-organizer of the VR and Mixed Reality Meetups,companies like Google are also supporting the local scene by sponsoringmeetups. This confluence of community, corporate support and technical skillshave given rise to a number of AR/VR companies in Munich. RE’FLEKT, forexample, was founded in 2012, and creates AR and VR technologies, such as facetracking, which they are developing for the augmented windows of Elon Musk’sHyperloop. Other startups and agenices include Innoactive, Dexperio, andCoSpaces.Munich is also a prominent media hub and the center of southern Germanfinance. While TV and production dominates in Cologne, publishing rules inBerlin and Hamburg, and advertising leads in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt,Munich’s media sector is known for its diversity.According to Munich’s Department of Labour and Economic Development, there are8,100 companies in media in Munich, with close to 30,000 employees. The cityis home to ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, one of Germany’s biggest media groups, andBurda Media, a publishing company which owns over 400 magazines, includingGerman editions of of Playboy, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, and Burda Style.Both companies are actively involved in startups.The influence of media in the city can be seen in the MarTech and AdTechstartups which populate the startup ecosystem.Many large financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies andother providers of financial services are located in Munich. Allianz andMunich Re, two large insurance companies, are headquarted in Munich.Finanzchef24, an online broker and comparison portal, is one of the city’sbiggest succeses – it has raised over $17 million in three rounds sincefounding in 2012, positioning it as one of Munich’s best financed startups.Other succesful FinTech ventures include online fundraising platform, Altruja,mobile payments provider, Boku, online payments provider Paymill and onlinebank Fidor Bank. The majority of FinTech startups use PHP, Java and Ruby intheir tech stacks.For IDNow, Munich was a no-brainer in terms of location for their business:“We saw Munich as the ideal city to build our product,” says SebastianBärhold, the Co-Founder of the FinTech startup, “Even though there is a highersalary level here compared to other cities, we are willing to pay that inorder to get the quality of talent we need. Thanks to Munich’s universitiesthere is also no shortage of skilled labor.”Many looking at Munich’s tech development wonder if the influence of bigindustry in Munich is more of an advantage or disadvantage for startupslocated in Amsterdam? A number of successful startups have emerged fromMunich, notably eGym, Hetras, Holiday Check, Metaio, WestWing and Windeln.Gabriele Böhmer, editor of Munich Startup, explained that while corporates canbe powerful partners for startups, big industry players are also toughcompetition for top talents. However, she concedes that overall “it is more ofan advantage than disadvantage, not just for startups, but for both sides asbig companies are in need of innovation.” For software developers, this isclearly an advantage.The question for software developers in Munich then should be how to choosebetween startups and corporates? For David Drews, Product Manager at Aboalarm,it comes down to preference: “Working for a startup is a cultural questionthat talents have to ask themselves. At Aboalarm, we are a super young team,the average age is in the mid-20s, which keeps the workplace dynamic andagile.”## What programming languages are most in demand in Munich?Of the 200 companies we featured on the Munich Tech Map, 165 of those hadpublicly available information about their tech stack. We used data from thecareers websites of the companies featured, from GitHub, from Angel.co andfrom company profiles on Honeypot.In order to calculate the most popular programming languages in Munich, welooked at the frequency of mentions of a particular programming languageacross all companies. Thus, if a company mentions Python and Ruby within itstech stack, then each is counted once. The frequency of mentions of eachindividual language was then calculated as a percentage of total companieswith their tech stack publically available.Here is what we found.The three most popular backend languages in Munich are Java, PHP and Python.We found that 38% of companies used PHP in their tech stack, 30% used Java and14% used Python.We did a similar calculation for the most popular frontend frameworks. Fewercompanies had their frontend frameworks listed publically, just 74 in total.From those companies, 55% mentioned Angular, 27% mentioned React and 9%mentioned Ember and Backbone.## Moving from developer to founder in MunichIf you are a developer looking to become a founder, Munich is a great place tobase yourself. The city is dotted with corporate-backed incubators offeringgenerous incentives to start tech companies.Play is Sky Deutschland’s incubator. For those who qualify for the program,Play will give you €25,000, office space for six months to develop aprototype, and access to engineering skills. Wayra is Telefónica Deutschland’sstartup accelerator, whose investments include Neokami, Foodora andParkpocket.While not directly owned by a large company, TechFounders, an accelerator, isbacked by industry partners, such as Bosch, BMW Group and Siemens. The 20-weekaccelerator program brings tech startups together with industry partners andventure capitalists and requires no fees. Best of all, TechFounders takes zeroequity.On the company builder side, Venture Starts, whose portfolio includesHundeland, Miraflora and Vitafy, focus on building eCommerce and Digital Mediacompanies.The Bavarian government has a number of initiatives supporting local talent.BayStartUP is the Bavarian institution for company formation, financing andacceleration. It is supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Economics as well asby private sponsoring partners. GründerRegio M is an initiative of the scienceand business region of Munich fostering knowledge-based spin-offs and start-upcompanies linked to higher education institutions.## Life in MunichMunich’s location – close to Italy and Austria – makes it a great location foroutdoor enthusiasts. Toby Martin, Head of Software Engineering at Bragi, saidMunich is a great place for developers to be: “What we find is when we recruitfrom other countries, we find that is easy to attract people to Munich becauseof the place that it is. Munich can be a difficult place to move to becauseit’s expensive. One-person flats are very expensive and hard to find. But oncepeople have settled in they enjoy the vibe.”Harald Wagner, Head of Business Plan Competitions at BayStartUP, a supportnetwork for entrepreneurs in Bavaria, reaffirms Munich’s relaxed atmosphere isone of the highlights of the city, mentioning, “I believe a big plus forMunich is not only the bustling tech scene, but also the BayerischeGemütlichkeit (coziness) and Biergarten Flair, which are factors that keepmany people in the city.”Ultimately, Munich’s appeal for software developers is the variety of jobsoffered in the city, a bustling tech spirit and a relaxed atmospherse in thecity.…Oh and there is always Oktoberfest.

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