Geospin: seven-figure sum in seed funding for Freiburg-based machine learning software startup
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), together with Thüga AG, is investing a seven-figure sum in software startup Geospin. The University of Freiburg spin-off is developing a B2B software-as-a-service solution for the analysis of geodata using machine learning methods. The solution makes it possible to link up internal company data with external geodata to produce real time predictions of when and where clients’ products or services are in demand. Geospin’s clients include HTGF fund investors Thüga and Bosch as well as Siemens, Volkswagen, Deutsche Bahn and Union Investment. The fresh capital is to be used for the further development and market launch of the software.
Geospin enables companies to objectively identify geographical success factors and apply them in a targeted manner. The software unites the internal data of clients with more than 700 external pieces of information on the surrounding area, including weather, traffic, demographics, social media and points of interest such as restaurants and public institutions. Specialised machine learning and deep learning methods are used to analyse this data. “Thanks to our software, it is now possible to analyse the hidden structures and dynamics of a city. We can then make these findings available to companies or cities to assist them in their strategic and operative decisions,” says founder and CEO Dr. Sebastian Wagner. The developed methods are already being used in various sectors such as mobility and smart cities. The software is used, for example, to project usage rates of a charging station for electric cars at a specific location. Network operators, cities and municipalities are thus able to optimally plan their future charging infrastructure.
The idea was developed by founders Dr. Sebastian Wagner, Dr. Johannes Bendler, Dr. Christoph Gebele, Niklas Goby and Dr. Tobias Brandt at the Information Systems Research department at the University of Freiburg. Under the guidance of Prof. Neumann, they were able to demonstrate – at a very early stage – the great economic potential of (mostly public) data sources. Data is said to be the key resource of the 21st century, but it is still not being effectively utilized by cities or companies to address the challenges and opportunities of global digitalisation. The founders quickly identified this trend and attracted the interest of a diverse range of companies in machine learning methods for geographical issues.
Dr. Maurice Kügler, the Investment Manager responsible for Geospin at HTGF: “With its software, Geospin addresses a highly relevant market. The team has already successfully achieved product market fit. In the next phase, the team can finalize the solution’s productisation and initiate widespread market entry. We are excited to accompany Geospin along this path.”
Over the last few months, Geospin’s founding team has impressively shown that there is great demand for their solution on the market. Geospin’s clients already include a number of renowned companies such as HTGF fund investors Thüga and Bosch as well as Siemens, Volkswagen, Deutsche Bahn and Union Investment. The founders want to use the fresh capital to significantly expand their sites in Freiburg and Hamburg.
About Geospin GmbH
Geospin was founded as a spin-off of the Information Systems Research department at the University of Freiburg in March 2016. Over years of research in the field of smart cities, the founders developed specialised, geographical machine learning methods. In addition to publications in relevant specialist journals and talks at renowned international conferences, their research work has also been honoured with various awards. After receiving an EXIST grant, Geospin was able to fund its development into a company with a double-digit number of employees spread across two sites in Germany.
About Thüga AG
Munich-based Thüga Aktiengesellschaft (Thüga) is a holding company and consulting firm with strong local roots. Founded in 1867, it is a minority shareholder in around 100 German companies in the local energy and water industry. The respective majority shareholders are cities and municipalities. Together with its partners, Thüga forms the largest municipal association of local and regional energy and water supply companies in Germany – the Thüga Group.
Their common goal is to help shape the future of municipal energy and water supplies. With its roughly 240 employees, Thüga is developing and expanding the group, supporting municipal companies through consultation and service firms, and thus helping its partners to remain competitive. The latter oversee the active market development of their local and regional brands: In total, 17,200 employees across Germany supply 4 million German customers with electricity, 2 million customers with natural gas, and 0.9 million customers with drinking water. Revenues in 2016 amounted to EUR 19 billion.
Dr. Detlef Hug
Tel. +49 (0) 89-38197-1222
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a powerful engine that drives the success of high-tech start-ups. With EUR 892.5 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million – HTGF I; EUR 304 million – HTGF II; and a targeted volume of EUR 316.5 million HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already financed almost 500 start-ups. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF focuses on high-potential start-ups active in the sectors of software, media, internet, hardware, energy and automation, life sciences (medical technology, diagnostics, biotechnology) and chemicals. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.5 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,200 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in almost 90 companies.
Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER, and Wilh. Werhahn KG.