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Up and Coming: 12 German HR tech startups to watch

12 German HR tech startups to watch

Photo: spring Messe Management GmbH

Is employee onboarding still managed manually at your company? What is the best way to create recruitment videos fast and easy with your smartphone? How can companies track current skills gaps and identify areas for improvement easily through an app? How can you connect your employees with opportunities to take part in team-based challenges or fitness competitions?

In today’s business reality, companies always need new ideas and approaches, and now more and more often they do not come from the largest solution-providers in the industry. HR startups, many of them providing traditional companies with solutions to the above questions, have become the lifeblood of technological and service innovation over the last 5 years. From advanced recruiter-bots to alternative approaches to attracting and keeping the best talent, we love getting to know the up-and-coming startups who are pushing the envelope of the HR world a little bit differently, and a little bit further.

The German HR tech ecosystem

Startups? What are they? They are entrepreneurial ventures, newly emerged businesses that aim to meet a specific need of a well defined marketplace by developing a scalable business model around a service, product or process. Germany, and in particular Berlin, is proving to be a magnet for startup founders and investors and lately. In 2017, German startups have enjoyed a record investment year, as money being ventured into the sector leapfrogged to 4.3 billion Euro.  According to the latest estimates, around 6000 startups are operating currently in Germany. Of the 6000 active startups, several hundred are bringing innovative solutions into the human resource space.

Who are they? For instance, meet Personio, the Munich based up-and-coming startup focusing on recruitment, which closed an impressive 12 million dollar in Series A funding in 2017. Other German HR startups that received global recognition in the last years include HeavenHR (6,7 million dollar), Softgarden (3,3 million EUR) and COMATCH (8 million EUR). On the other hand, not all startups receive such an impressive injection of capital. It is encouraging to see the continuous growth of HR tech company Small Improvements, which offers a performance management site. With an estimated yearly revenue around 15,9 million dollars, Si managed to become one of the most successful HR startups without VC funding in Germany. Very impressive, indeed!

“The startup village is a gem” - Reiner Straub, @haufe, about the largest #HR #startup village of Europe Click To Tweet

Already at the previous editions of the Zukunft Personal Europe, we met a lot of exceptional HR startups that have great potential in shaking up the HR space. These new companies have come up with new ways to customize and automate unique HR functions to improve efficiency, performance and engagement. So, as we are only 4 months away from the biggest HR showdown of 2018, we wanted to take a look at the most notable tech startups, in Germany, that aim to respond to persistent HR challenges through technological innovation.

The ones to watch, in no particular order:


Function(HR) provides flexible software solutions, which include the entire people analytics process from data collection and integration to analysis. The 2017 winner of the HR Innovation Award, in the category of software & hardware, has put the bar high and its team, lead by Daniel Mühlbauer, will certainly rise to meet it. To know more about Function(HR), and the work of Daniel, go follow his blog: Nerd Words for HR.


Another HR Innovation Award winner from 2017, in the category of training and development, the Munich-based Everskill, provides companies with an innovative solution for transferring their soft training skills into the everyday work-life of employees.

Talentcube UG

Talentcube, an innovative video-recruiting platform developed in the heart of the Bavarian region, Munich, supports companies in their recruiting process for them to screen candidates in the run-up to the job interview. Talentcube was awarded at the 2017 HR Innovation Award in the recruiting and consulting category. Around two thirds of HR professionals use, by today, video interview platforms in the recruiting process, so we eagerly look forward to seeing where does this development takes Talentcube in the future.


One more champions of the 2017 HR Innovation Award, in the section of HR services & operations, Selfapy caters organisations with a therapy support tool that helps them recognize negative patterns of thoughts, and train new behaviour. Founded by three passionate young women Selfapy is making mental health care accessible. 2017 was a milestone year in the history of Selfapy, as it received a seven-figure sum investment from a group of business angels, and its stress courses were certified to be reimbursed by national health insurance.


Simply put: Google for recruiting. Talentwunder connects recruiters to 1.6 billion profiles across 53 social media networks, and by using social signals and predictive analytics foresees candidate’s willingness to change jobs. Pampered with industry recognitions, such as the HR Innovation Award (2016) or the HR Award (2017), Talentwunder is one of the most hottest HR tech startup currently in the German scene.


Provider of a health maintenance app, Humanoo aims to improve long-term physical and mental wellbeing. The digital health platform has recently, at the beginning of 2018, raised a seven-digit amount of funding, and its certainly one of the most ambitious Berlin-based HR tech startups in terms of its mission and future objectives.


Personio offers cloud-based HR management and recruiting solutions for SMEs and startups. Determined and innovative; the Munich-located startup has recently secured a series of international funding which it plans to use for further developing its software-as-a-service and become a leader in the HR software space for SMEs.


Softgarden, an online recruitment software, covers the entire recruitment process from posting professional job ads and recruitment analysis to onboarding. Softgarden’s goal is to make the entire recruitment process transparent and efficient for companies and candidates alike, or in the own words of the company: as easy as shopping on Amazon.

Small Improvements

Small Improvements is a performance feedback platform that helps employees and companies grow and succeed. Small Improvements covers ongoing feedback, performance reviews, 360 degree feedback, and goals and objectives. And, the million dollar question now is: How did the Berlin-based startup bootstrapped its way to success without VC funding? You’ll find the answer here.

Jobify – job matching

Professional job board. The Munich-based startup is ready to take on and revolutionize the job search market. Winner of the 2017 Founders Fight at the Zukunft Personal Europe, Jobify is exactly the startup you have to keep an eye on.


Headquartered in Berlin, HeavenHR, is a cloud-based HR management platform for SMEs. From onboarding to payroll, HeavenHR connects all separate HR processes into a single and easy-to-use platform.


COMATCH is a Berlin-based online marketplace matching freelance top management consultants with companies that need external support for their projects. The network, which has received an 8 million EUR funding at the beginning of 2018, comprises of 4300 profiles from over 60 countries.

The above list is a mixture of young talents who seem destined for greatness. You will be able to meet many of them in September in Cologne at the Zukunft Personal Europe.


Zukunft Personal Europe Startup village

Photo: spring Messe Management GmbH

Since 2014, our first visit at Zukunft Personal, the startup village has tripled in size, with close to 100 exhibitors, who have been carefully selected from almost double the applications. Back then visitors may have not understood where these tech startups fit into the HR ecosystem. The increasing investments and impressive growth in this sector now means that companies and employers are actively engaging with these innovative service providers. But with fame comes great responsibility. One cannot deny that the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal is casting a shadow on the HR tech and startup sector. Their potential clients are now much more aware of the risk that using people data irresponsibly can lead to a significant backlash by employees, customers, the Works Council and the public.

HR startups therefore need to prepare for new and more pertinent questions from visitors and the jury of the HR innovation Award, as public awareness about possession and processing of people related data and data is maturing. These are unavoidable bumps on the road of the integration of the HR sector with new technologies and they help the startups further improve their services and products and to match it even better with the needs and requirements of their clients and the regulators.

With an expected number of 18.000 visitors, hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors, pitches, panels, workshops, awards and battles; the Zukunft Personal Europe is the largest and most exciting conference for HR startups on the continent. Whether you are coining an idea or already got funded, the Zukunft Personal Europe is for you. Apply for the HR Innovation Award, or get a booth at the startup village to get recognized and show your latest products.

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  1. What about https://www.leapsome.com ? They look very interesting!

  2. Thanks for such a good knowledge about HR system. I really like the way you have explained about the topic. Will look forward to more blogs like this. Thanks once again.

  3. Hi Zoltan,
    thanks for the great overview of the German HR startup ecosystem!

    May I suggest adding Userlane from Munich to the list?(https://www.userlane.com)

    Userlane provides a navigation system for software, allowing users to operate any software application without prior knowledge. Userlane’s interactive guides steer people through processes in software and show them how to accomplish tasks in real time.

    This way, both user onboarding and software training become simpler, faster and stress-free for everyone involved.

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