Cologne-based EdTech start-up DeepSkill receives seven-figure pre-seed financing, including from High-Tech Gründerfonds and Kienbaum

July 7, 2022

  • DeepSkill is the EdTech platform for emotional skills and holistic personnel development. The start-up uses an innovative content-building system, intelligent algorithms, and data-based knowledge transfer to develop employees in a targeted manner and achieve sustainable transformational success.
  • The capital will be used for platform development and the expansion of the tech, sales, and content teams.
  • With regard to the recent success, Thomas Leidinger, who played a crucial role in building the statistics portal Statista for ten years, is called in as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Cologne, Germany, July 7, 2022 – DeepSkill, has now received a seven-figure sum as part of pre-seed financing. The Cologne-based EdTech start-up founded in 2020 by entrepreneurs Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke is a digital platform for holistic human resources development. The early-stage investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) joins forces with the Cologne-based consultancy Kienbaum and other investors such as Ina Schlie, co-chair of the female investor network encourageventures e. V., and Anna Kaiser, co-founder of the recently sold start-up Tandemploy, to invest in the Cologne-based start-up.

The investment enables the next development steps of the platform as well as the expansion of the tech, sales, and content teams. The start-up convinced the investors with well-known customers such as Mazars, Ströer, and Mediq Germany and steadily growing revenues.

Particularly, the strong market interest in the developed solution, as well as the experienced, complementary founding team of DeepSkill, convinced us.

Dr. Maurice Kügler, Investment Manager at HTGF

DeepSkill impressively documents what digital transformation can mean for HR, namely the intelligent use of technology benefitting human progress. And that is crucial, because the approach of holistic HR development is one of the essential keys for the working world of the future, in which we need to shape learning organizations more than ever in order to survive in a VUCA world. We are very much looking forward to this future-oriented collaboration.

Fabian Kienbaum, Chief Empowerment Officer of Kienbaum

DeepSkill was founded in 2020 by tech manager Miriam Mertens and content expert Peter Goeke. The start-up’s mission is to bring emotional skills, i.e. deep skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and mental strength to the companies’ management floors and into the broader workforce through holistic personnel development. The aim is to establish a people-centered leadership culture and to actively help shaping a more human working environment.

The customized learning and coaching programs generally last for three to twelve months. The learning content is conveyed via individual and group coaching sessions, partly in live sessions, and via gamification and e-learning content. The start-up uses intelligent algorithms and data-based knowledge transfer to develop participants in a targeted manner and achieve lasting transformation successes, particularly concerning sustainable implementation in everyday life.

Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke, co-founders of DeepSkill (Picture: Rheinproduktiv)

We are delighted that HTGF, Kienbaum, and our other investors believe in our mission to bring emotional skills to the broader workforce through smart technology. With the investment, we will further expand our platform and drive our growth.

Miriam Mertens, co-founder and CEO of DeepSkill

First top personnel: Thomas Leidinger, who helped build the statistics portal Statista, joins DeepSkill as Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Thomas Leidinger, who played a crucial role in building up the statistics portal Statista over ten years, joins DeepSkill as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as a result of the investment. He will be responsible for building, operating, and further developing the program configurator and the digital learning platform and establishing the tech team.

I am excited to use my expertise and experience to help DeepSkill reach its next growth phase. I am very optimistic that together we can take the learning platform to a new level and bring emotional skills to even more customers and learners.

Thomas Leidinger, CTO of DeepSkill

Thomas Leidinger, CTO of DeepSkill

About DeepSkill
The Cologne-based EdTech start-up DeepSkill is a digital platform for holistic personnel development. Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke have founded the startup in 2020 out of the conviction that emotional intelligence is the key to professional success in the future. Personalized learning and coaching programs, which are partially conducted in live sessions and accompanied by experienced coaches, help professionals, managers and employees to develop emotional skills, i.e. deep skills, such as empathy, cooperation and mental strength and to transfer them into everyday life. The aim is not only to strengthen individuals in their professional and personal development, but also to make entire organizations more humane, productive and sustainable. The goal: to establish a human-centered leadership culture in companies and to actively help shape a more humane working environment.

Since its founding, the start-up has been on a growth trajectory. The team now comprises 16 employees and consists of experienced coaches, HR developers and digital experts. Its clients include Mazars, Ströer and Mediq Deutschland.
For more information, visit

Peter Goeke, CMO & CPO

Press Contact
Drei Brueder Kommunikation und Beratung
Dr. Marie-Christine Frank
+49 173 4825735

About Kienbaum
Kienbaum is the first personnel and management consultancy of European origin and is represented by 26 offices on four continents. The national subsidiary in Austria was founded in 1957 as the first international office of the German family-owned company and operates internationally with a consulting focus on Executive Search, Compensation & Performance Management, Board Services, and Management Diagnostics/Assessment Services. Further information at

Media Contact
Kienbaum Consultants International GmbH
Kerstin Wandt
Edmund-Rumpler Straße 5
51149 Köln
T.: +49 221 801 72 – 689

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With around EUR 900 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 670 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected more than EUR 4 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,900 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 150 companies.
Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, 1+1 AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, FOND OF, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.

Media Contact
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Stefanie Grüter, Head of Marketing & Communications
T.: +49 228 82300-188

Investor Contact
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Maurice Kügler, Investment Manager
T.: +49 228 82300-174

Stay up to date

Subscribe now and receive the latest press releases on investments and other news from High-Tech Gründerfonds. We inform you about important developments at HTGF and provide you with interesting news from our portfolio. Whether it’s a successful exit, a new exciting investment or HR news – you’ll be the first to know!

More Press posts

25. September 2023

traceless materials secures €36.6 Million Series A to build first industry plant for bio-circular alternative to plastic

The financing round was led by UB FIGG and SWEN CP’s Blue Ocean fund. traceless materials secures the funding to expand the production capabilities for its innovative biomaterial technology to industrial scale. Hamburg, Germany - September 25, 2023. Bioeconomy startup traceless, which produces a natural biomaterial as an alternative to plastic, announces the completion of a €36.6 million funding round. The Series A funding round is led by private equity fund UB Forest Industry Green G
15. September 2023

Successful exit for HTGF: adivo joins Zoetis to bring the benefits of species-specific antibody therapies to pet owners worldwide

adivo’s team and platform will strengthen Zoetis’ capabilities in therapeutic antibody drug discovery for companion animals. High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) was among the first investors in a seed round in 2018 together with OCCIDENT and MorphoSys AG and closely supported the successful development of adivo. Dr. Kathrin Ladetzki-Baehs, Founder and CEO of adivo: “I look forward to seeing what our team can achieve as part of a leading organization with global reach while continuing
14. September 2023

​​​​​viboo closes CHF 1.5m seed round to fully commercialize its predictive energy efficiency platform to decarbonize buildings

High-Tech Gründerfonds, Swisscom Ventures and Rainmaking Impact have invested CHF 1.5 million into Swiss climate tech start-up viboo.  The seed round showed strong investor interest and confidence in viboo’s innovative energy-saving solutions for buildings.  viboo will use the funding to scale up the commercialization of its proven Predictive Control as a Service platform, capitalizing on the upcoming heating season to make a significant impact in decarbonizing buildings.