Cologne’s startup ecosystem

Cologne's startup ecosystem consists of more than 600 startups and scaleups. It offers excellent support and infrastructure for emerging and early-stage enterprises to start and grow their business.​ 

​Cologne is the fourth biggest city in Germany and the biggest in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The state is one of the national hotspots for startups: with the most inhabitants, the most commercial enterprises, the densest infrastructure, the largest university landscape, and the highest number of startups per year. North Rhine-Westphalia is quite simply the place tostart and scale your business. ​

Cologne offers the most software developers inEurope after London, Paris and Amsterdam.​ 

​Representing the entire startup ecosystem in Cologne, KölnBusiness is dedicated to unlocking the full potential of this powerful network – you could be part of it too!​ 

Our startup ecosystem at a glance

Facts and figures


  • 700+ Startups
  • 60 percent early or seed stage
  • 62 percent with B2B
    customer focus



  • 24 higher education institutions
  • 12 research centers
  • 4 Clusters of excellence
  • 100,000+ students



  • 10 incubators / accelerators
  • 29  co-working spaces and business centers
  • 4 technology centres



  • 250+ active Business angels
  • 15 venture capital funds
  • 370+ funding rounds since 2019



  • GamesCom


City initiatives

  • Digital Hub Cologne
  • Bio Campus
  • InsurLab Germany
  • Mediengründerzentrum NRW


Why Cologne?

  • B2B Hotspot – The region is one of the biggest industrial regions in Europe​ 
  • Biggest catchment area in the EU – 17 million people in a 100km radius
  • Great infrastructure – three airports, second largest inland port, Germany's largest and most efficient transshipment centre
  • Digital infrastructure – No. 1 in Germany​ 
  • 21 ​higher education institutions, 100,000+ students, 14,000 graduates/year 
  • One of the largest and most innovative science and research hubs in Germany and Europe
  • Trade fair city​ 

Learn more about Cologne

 - KölnBusiness

Startup Map Cologne

The Startup Map Cologne gives you a transparent overview of the startup ecosystem in our dynamic city. The open data platform includes all relevant information about all players in our ecosystem. It also enables startups to be seen, investors to find opportunities and cities to use the data for analysis.​

Explore the Cologne Startup Ecosystem

The Cologne Investors Guide

Investors meet startups in Cologne.

Capital is a key factor in turning an initial idea into a long-term successful business. Due to the innovative business models that drive most start-ups, the traditional route of bank loans is often limited in the early stages. This is where venture capital plays an important role.
More than 15 venture funds are based in Cologne. They invest in a variety of industries and regions. This investor guide provides an overview of a selection of startup investors, most of them venture capital funds, but also some business angels and local banks that support the startup ecosystem.


Download for free

Coworking Space Map

Overview of various coworking spaces in Cologne.

Welcome to Cologne!

Congratulations! Now that you are seriously considering Cologne as the right location for your startup, our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way. ​From finding the right office or talent, to connecting you to potential partners and investors, we have a range of targeted services to suit your needs.

Meet our Startup Unit