Cloud computing is a big success. And the momentum of success is yet to continue. In an interview with the German economic newspaper Handelsblatt in July 2019, CEO of public cloud provider Amazon Web Services, Andy Jassy explained that only around 3 percent of all IT tasks are handled in the cloud as of today. “In ten or 20 years, most companies will no longer have their own data centers. In future, only tasks that require proximity – in a factory, for example – will be handled locally.”
As is well known, the public cloud market is dominated by US manufacturers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM), also Chinese providers (especially Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud) also play in the Champions League. The European players are far behind. It remains to be seen whether the European GAIA-X initiative will allow to catch up.
Given the enormous growth dynamics it is all the more exciting to take a look at the Start-Up. I will present 7 promising start-ups from Germany that have clearly focused their business model on the growth market of Cloud Computing. Focus: Young companies (not older than 7 years). Have fun browsing!
Luckycloud is a niche provider headquartered in Berlin. I emerged from a very popular collection of learning resources during university times of the founder. Today, even companies like the German Railway Company (Deutsche Bahn AG) use the service. You can store, edit and send pictures, music and documents. Why did Deutsche Bahn become a client? – Because Luckycloud uses a specific encryption (so-called “symmetric encryption”), where data is only released after matching with two keys (one private, one public). This creates a high level of IT security, which is particularly important for sensitive documents (e.g. from HR department).
Foundation in 2015. In Berlin. Website: www.luckycloud.de
German Edge Cloud
The company name says it all: A German company that offers cloud services (e.g. data evaluation with AI) “on the edge”, i.e.: on computing capacities directly on site (instead of in data centers that are accessed via Internet). However, this mini-computer can also be connected to the “cloud” (for example to Siemens Mindsphere): This allows to combine both the advantages of an “edge cloud” and of the “public cloud”.
The offer aims primarily at German medium-sized manufacturing companies. The advantages of “on the edge” are numerous: no delays in data transmission, no risks in the event of a loss of connection to computing capacities that are connected via the Internet. Furthermore: No costs for expensive line capacities.
The start-up company sees a decisive advantage in the fact that companies retain their data sovereignty with this approach. The operators decide where their data stays. And operators decide which data will be shared beyond the “edge cloud”, for example with a Siemens Mindsphere instance in the Public Cloud. The latter approach allows for optimal synchronization in Supply Chain Management (with suppliers) and for data exchange with other production sites.
The start-up company ”German Edge Cloud” is a subsidiary of the “Friedrichhelm Loh Group”, which includes the switch cabinet manufacturer ”Rittal” (2.6 billion sales). The start-up works closely with a subsidiary of the Bosch Group and the Fraunhofer Institute.
Foundation in 2018. In Eschborn. Website: oncite.io
Kubermatic empowers IT teams worldwide to modernize their infrastructure and enter the cloud native era. The company’s products and solutions fully automate Kubernetes and cloud native operations across datacenters, multi-cloud, and edge environments. Their core open source software Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform scales up to thousands of Kubernetes clusters across any infrastructure. This is a daunting task.
The two founders Julian Hansert, Sebastian Scheele and another 60 employees are in high demand by Blue Chip companies of corporate Germany: Bosch, Daimler, Volkswagen, Allianz, Lufthansa, HILTI, REWE, Otto Group or Siemens. Chapeau! The start-up also organizes the well-established event Container-Days in Hamburg.Here’s the event site.
Foundation in 2016. In Hamburg. Website: www.kubermatic.com
The three founders – Kraus, Gottschlich and Rudolph – have set themselves a goal that is easy to convey in the elevator pitch: Simplify cloud management for large companies. In short: reduce complexity. The platform Meshcloud bundles the administrative processes both of public cloud infrastructures and the private cloud. This includes identity management, project management, billing and much more. The target group: large companies as well as larger medium-sized enterprises.
A little bit of fun is required – even if Start-Up is a 24/7 job. On the website you can find the nice reference to “Adopted sheeps” right on the Home Page: “The cloud – a sheep without legs. And sheep are our passion. That’s why we adopted Heidi, Philipp and Kimya that happily live in the far north of Germany.” With these founders you will certainly meeting for a beer … or a cider (popular in their city).
Foundation in 2016. In Frankfurt am Main. Website: www.meshcloud.io
These tech experts are 100% apologists of Open Source. The start-up is focused on setting up Kubernetes clusters on enterprise-scale and optimizing operations. Kinvolk has developed two 100% open source products of their own: Lokomotive-Kubernetes (a Kubernetes distribution) and Flatcar Container Linux (an OS for containers). The development team is known for solving tricky challenges, their expertise stretches to processor level: Based on this, Kinvolk can deduce which workloads should run best on AMD processors or ARM processors.
The customers of Kinvolk are also among the who-is-who of the digital industry: CISCO, BlaBlaCar, GMX, Nasdaq, finleap, Microsoft, CoreOS and many more.
Foundation in 2015. In Berlin. Website: www.kinvolk.io
Successful business models in the market for cloud computing do not necessarily require any products of their own; the need for consulting competence and technical expertise alone creates an opportunity for new business models. The start-up Cloudical falls into that category: Founded in 2017, the company has grown to 40 employees in just 3 years.
The company has made a name for itself with the composition of the so-called VanillaStack: This is an open-source Enterprise Kubernetes Stack, which combines the best open-source cloud frameworks in one package to facilitate the entry into cloud computing.
Foundation in 2017. In Berlin. Website: www.cloudical.io
The cooling of data center servers consumes vast amounts of money and energy. But couldn’t this waste heat be put to good use instead? – That’s exactly what Cloud&Heat does: Server cabinets are regarded as heating systems, and the company sells off the generated heat to those in demand of heating (e.g. heating of office buildings). Specific server racks were designed for this purpose. Thin water channels are running through the racks, the water transports the heat (and cools the servers). Customers are primarily medium-sized companies and also large corporations that operate their own data centers. For example, Innogy or the Commerzbank subsidiary Commerz Real.
The young company has already won the German Data Center Award three times. The changeover from conventional cooling to the cooling concept of Cloud&Heat is currently rarely economically viable for companies. But the more regulation against climate change comes into play, and the more coal-fired power plants are taken off the grid (whose waste heat is currently being used), the more demand for the smart solution from Cloud&Heat will increase.
The company is already 9 years old and thus doesn’t meet the criterion of a start-up anymore (up to 7 years). I made an exception, because on the one hand Cloud&Heat has received Series B financing in its 7th year (I take this as an important indicator), on the other hand it is important to me to make such business models better known in view of the enormous challenge of climate change.
Foundation in 2011. In Dresden. Website: www.cloudandheat.com
Promising StartUps in other industries and areas
- 7 promising start-ups in the automotive industry
- 7 promising start-ups about the Factory 4.0
- 7 promising German StartUps in Marketing
- 7 promising German StartUps in the Health Industry
- 7 promising German StartUps in Logistics
- 7 promising German Start-Ups in Clean Energy & Eco Tech
- 7 promising German Start-Ups in Cyber Security