The digitization in the area of HR is of particular interest: On the one hand, it affects all of us. On the other hand, this is a particularly sensitive area where a number of critical questions quickly arise: How good is an artificial intelligence at (really) understanding people? What limits does ethics impose, what level of automation is acceptable? How do you evaluate an AI-based Chatbot that conducts the first job interviews? How can we ensure the validity and justifiability of HR decisions that are made with the help of an AI?

Of course, it is not only about artificial intelligence – but these questions arise nevertheless. We’ll be looking at start-ups with (more or less disruptive) ideas on payroll management, time recording, recruitment, job grade evaluation and much more.

Here’s 7 promising start-ups from Germany that are pursuing nothing less than a revolution in human resources management. Focus: Young companies (not older than 7 years). Have fun browsing!


The figures of the 5-year-old start-up are impressive. The company has already grown to almost 500 employees, it has more than 2,000 customers in over 80 countries. Personio has more than 18 000 followers on LinkedIn – I’ve hardly seen such follower numbers before in the start-up sphere.

The company’s claim: Personio provides the “operating system for the personnel area”. In short: An All-in-One software solution for all topics in the personnel area, which includes Job advertisements, digital personnel file, time recording, calculation of vacation entitlements, payroll accounting, documentation of performance reviews and more. Target group: SMEs with up to 2,000 employees – and that worldwide.

Foundation in 2015. In Munich. Website:


This start-up was founded in the same year, but with a different focus: Moberries specializes in making the recruiting process more efficient and cost-effective. Information on candidates is consolidated from different job platforms, using an AI-based filter to select the most relevant candidates. At the same time, Moberries also provides analyses that optimize the application process and help to increase the pipeline of promising candidates.

The start-up already has a large customer base with over 1,000 companies, including blue chip companies. It is remarkable that the software is also integrated into the aforementioned All-in-One-Offering from Personio – and also into the solution from SAP Success Factors.

By the way, Moberries does not only have something to offer for companies. But also for job seekers. The promise: “Create your free candidate profile and enter your skills and work experience there – our AI will do the rest. Best of all: You don’t need a cover letter to find your job!”

Foundation in 2015. In Berlin. Website:


A typical challenge in HR is the so-called job grade evaluation: In the first step, the requirement and activity profile of a position must be determined as accurately and precisely as possible. The second step is to determine the adequate remuneration – and to check whether the salary is appropriate and / or competitive with regard to the overall job market.

The Start-Up gradar provides an easy to use and web-based software for this task. The motto: “Making job evaluation easy. That is our mission.” Here is a short video of the company’s offer (in German):

Note: Start-Ups obviously attach different importance to social media marketing. You can see this especially by comparing the followers of the three Start-Ups presented so far. While gradar has just 118 followers, Personio leads the pack over 18 000, Moberries has some odd 3 500 followers.

Foundation in 2014. In Duesseldorf. Website:


The start-up “Campusjaeger” (equivalent to “Hunter on the Campus”) illustrates nicely that there is still attractive niche markets for professional networks next to the global leader “LinkedIn”. The Start-Up focuses on recruiting at universities – internships, working student jobs as well as the first job as a graduate. Campusjaeger is actually the market leader in Germany in this market.

The company employs more than 50 people, and next year it will cease to be a start-up phase (it will be older than 7 years then). Campusjaeger naturally also drives a content marketing strategy: In addition to an HR blog, there are also video tutorials on questions such as “How much salary do I offer a career starter?”

Foundation in 2013. In Karlsruhe. Website:


In times of a shortage of skilled workers (e.g. IT industry: approx. 124,000 in 2019 according to Bitkom), employee retention becomes more important. Great salary, great company mission and great workspace is certainly helping. Furthermore, employee benefits are also an important ingredient. This is the great mission of Lofino: The start-up enables employers to grant flexible subsidies for mobility costs, health measures, food, internet and more employee benefits with a few clicks. Most importantly, these employee benefits make us of tax incentives!

Foundation in 2018. In Berlin (more precisely: in Kleinmachnow). Website:


Is it possible to evaluate the personality / character of a candidate by analyzing, say, the video of an interview/job interview? The start-up company retorio confirms this claim – and its customers such as Lufthansa or HAPPYCAR would also agree. So, retorio has developed an AI algorithm that analyzes gestures, facial expressions, the language style, choice of words and much more. The co-founder Christoph Hohenberger explains in a 3-minute-interview with TechCrunch how the analysis procedure is designed and how retorio deals with the sensitive topic of data protection (in German).

By the way, there is a 20-day trial period. And besides: retorio is also integrated into the all-in-one software of Personio.

Foundation in 2018. In Munich. Website:


Just as with retorio, BLUQUIST is also concerned with filling vacancies and management positions in the best possible way. And it is concerned about helping employees to optimize their development. How does the Mannheim-based start-up approach this challenge? – Self- and peer2peer assessments create a starting-point for such analysis. This data pool provides insights on personality, motivation, preferences and well-being.

Analysis schemes such as the five-factor model of personality traits or the Reiss Motivation Profile® are applied to the collected data to turn it into useful information for the employees, their superiors as well as the HR department.

Foundation in 2018. In Mannheim. Website:

Promising StartUps in other industries and areas


The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.