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Why The Next Zuckerberg Won't Be German. And Why That's Not All Bad

DIE WELT (Germany)


A Mark Zuckerberg in Germany? A 20-something billionaire? Not likely according to a new study. Your average German IT entrepreneur is 38 with at least 11 years work experience in their field. Less than a tenth are under 25. About half have university degrees.

The information emerges from a study conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) for Berlin-based Bitkom, Germany’s Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media.

"Founding stories like Facebook are the exception here," Bitkom President Dieter Kempf told Die Welt. What’s more, anybody wishing to launch an IT startup in Germany needs a lot of money – on average, 700,000 euros over the first four years in large part to cover R&D costs that typically could grow from 70,000 euros in the first year to nearly four times that in the third year.

Bank financing accounts for about 6%, 5% comes from venture capital firms, 3% from public funds, over 50% is earned, but a good third is put up by the founders.

According to the study, nearly 143,000 IT and Internet startups have been created in Germany since 1995. Top locations (in relation to number of inhabitants) are Munich followed by Berlin, with the Rhein-Main area including Frankfurt coming in third.

Still, there is an upside to Germany's more mature approach to entrepreneurship: the study shows that 60% of the startups are still in business after five years.

Modern Munich. Photo o palsson

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