The German Startup Awards will be handed in eight categories and one special category to outstanding personalities of the German startup ecosystem. The nomination phase will start the 29th of September and will end the 29th of November 2021.

The category stands for startup founders with outstanding and exemplary founding histories, characterized by ups and downs as well as the founders intrinsic will to fight for their visions and ideas. Therefore, our founders of the year are an example and an inspiration to others.

Selection criteria

  • The nominated person must have founded at least one successful startup in Germany.
  • The founded company is a startup according to the criteria presented below.
  • The nominated person is characterized by it’s sense for innovations, strong resilience and commitment. Within the founding process, the nominated person went through challenges and came out of them as a stronger personality.

Not only founders of later stage startups go through ups and downs, also the founding process itself can be challenging. The category ‚Newcomer of the Year‘ honors founders who launched their startup successfully in the years 2020 and 2021.

Selection criteria

  • The nominated person founded it’s first startup in the years 2020 or 2021.
  • The founded company is a startup according to the criteria presented below.
  • The nominated person stands at the very beginning of it’s entrepreneurial career and achieved it’s success by showing courage, vision and operative strength.

The category ‚Social Entrepreneur of the Year‘ celebrates founders challenging the great problems of our time. Climate change, poverty, education for all – there is no challenge our Social Entrepreneurs can’t meet. They connect entrepreneurial success with social and ecological responsibility and work hard to make the world a better place.

Selection criteria

  • The nominated person founded at least one startup contributing to the solution of social issues and/or to the development of social innovation.
  • The founded company is a startup according to the criteria presented below.
  • The nominated person proves by it’s entrepreneurial and social behaviour, that the social and ecological responsibilty is prior to the economical outcome of their startup.

To be successful, founders need a good a idea and a lot of resilience, but they also rely on partners who share their vision and who support them. The category ‚Investor of the Year‘ honors investors who support their founders financially but also by sharing their courage, expierences and passion.

Selection criteria

  • Within the last 5 years, the nominated person did invest in at least one startup.
  • The financially supported companies are startups according to the criteria presented below.
  • The terms of the investment provided a fair balance between investor and founder at any time.
  • The nominated person supports it’s beyond the financial investment, e.g. in terms of mentoring, and recruiting, and plays an active role in the development of the startup.

General criteria:

The companies founded or supported by the nominees must be startups and meet the following criteria based on the definition of the German Startups Association:

  • Startups are younger than 10 years and
  • have (or strive for) a significant employee/sales growth and/or
  • are (highly) innovative in their products/services, business models and/or technologies.

Julian Angern
Gründer und Chief Product Officer

Kurosch Daniel Habibi
Founder & Co-CEO

Rouven Dresselhaus
Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Henrike Schlottmann
ProjectTogether gGmbH

Dr. Nina Patrick
CEO & Co-Founder

Zoé Fabian
Managing Director
Eurazeo Growth

Robert Lacher
Founding Partner
Visionaries Club & La Famiglia

Julius de Gruyter

Jessica Holzbach
Founder Stealth Mode; prev. founder of Penta

David Hanf


Gesa Miczaika

Auxxo Beteiligungen

Nicole Büttner
Co-Founder & CEO
Merantix Labs

Zarah Bruhn
CEO & Founder

Christian Hassel
Bereichsvorstand Wealth Management & Private Banking
Commerzbank AG

Lina Behrens
Managing Director
Flying Health

Judith Muttersbach-Dada
La Famiglia GmbH

Fabian Kienbaum

Jens Fiege
FIEGE Gruppe

Anna Herrhausen
Managing Director
Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft

Finn Age Hänsel
Sanity Group

Claudia Oeking
Managing Director, Director External Affairs
Philip Morris

Marcus Lemli
Savills CEO Germany & Head of Investment Europe

Florian Nöll
Head of Corporate Development & Innovation
PwC Germany

Tina Müller
Douglas GmbH

Johan Filip Axenpalm
Head of Policy Campaigns & Programs

Contact us

Catharina Fichelmann /// Project Lead

Niclas Vogt /// Press officer

Franziska Teubert /// CEO Partner Management

Event Organizer

As the representative and voice of startups in Germany, the Startups-Association speaks up for a founder-friendly Germany and works towards a flourishing German startup ecosystem. The association represents more than 1.200 members.

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