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10 Startups That Have Made Their Initial Public Offering (IPO)

Forms of investments and strategies

From founding to IPO

By André Jasch
10 minute read

It’s the perfect exit for both founders and investors: a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO). It’s the moment toward which all participants have worked for a long time. The moment shares of the startup are traded publically for the first time is often the long-awaited payday for founders and early venture capitalists.

An IPO requires a lot of preparation: great bureaucratic hurdles create a lot of paperwork. It is not uncommon to write hundreds of emails to banks and lawyers to coordinate the IPO. Finally, the timing needs to be chosen wisely since a crisis on the market reduces the investor’s propensity to buy.

When the entry in the stock market is successful, however, the organization is able to get the capital needed to expand its business. In turn, it must provide its investors with more detailed information on business development than before. Which startups from Germany have already gone public? We would like to introduce you to ten startups that have made it to the stock market.


Trivago is a platform to search for and compare hotels. The search engine gathers and compares prices of more than a million hotels worldwide. The company was founded in 2005 and made its IPO in December of 2016. Trivago was acquired by the U. S. travel search engine Expedia four years earlier, which is why it was not listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange but on the US technology exchange Nasdaq in New York. During the stock market debut, the Trivago stock was traded for $11 and the company was able to earn $287 million. After deducting commissions and fees for the banks that carried out the IPO, $212 million of net proceeds remained. Even today, Trivago continues to do well on the US technology exchange. The share is currently valued at $14.40, a good $3 above the original issue price.



Hellofresh is a food delivery service that delivers cooking boxes with all the necessary ingredients to cook a recipe to its customers’ homes. The Rocket Internet startup – Rocket holds a 47.6% stake in Hellofresh – ventured the jump to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on November 2, 2017 after the first IPO was cancelled in 2015. The price range of the Hellofresh shares was previously stated from €9.00 to €11.50 and the shares were finally placed at €10.25. This brought the startup's valuation at around €1.7 billion – about €900 million less than at best times. Hellofresh continues to be in deficit: In the first half of 2017, losses of just under €47 million were still recorded, with sales amounting to €435 million. Nonetheless, the stock market flushed €318 million into the company's funds. Hellofresh wants to use the money for expansion.


The Naga Group is a FinTech startup that runs a platform for Forex and CFD trading. The social trading app SwipeStox also belongs to the startup from Hamburg. This year, the startup will also launch the world's first platform for virtual objects, so-called in-game items, via a joint venture with German Stock Exchange. The company ventured into the Frankfurt Stock Exchange already two years after its foundation in 2015. In July 2017, The Naga Group was listed in the Scale Segment of German Stock Exchange, a market segment for young high-growth companies that was first launched at the beginning of the year. The startup from Hamburg released one million shares and set the issue price at €2.60. Within three days, the share price shot up to €16. This reminded commentators from manager magazin to Der Aktionär strongly of the exaggerated evaluations of the "New Economy" because the startup company was still highly deficient at that time. Today, the share price has settled at €4.70.


Online mail-order retailer Zalando brought out the big guns at its IPO on Frankfurt's trading floor on October 1, 2014. “Zalando went public with models, confetti, tinsel and a lot of fuss,” commented manager magazin of the debut of the Berlin-based startup on the Prime Standard of German Stock Exchange. Reto Francioni, then head of the German Stock Exchange, personally accompanied Zalando's first listing - the first official share price. At €24.10, this was around 12% above the issue price of €21.50. The rating of the online mail-order company for shoes and fashion thus amounted to just under €6 billion – and was thus above the rating of the airline Lufthansa or the fertilizer manufacturer K+S. The Berlin-based company placed a total of around 11% of its shares (28 million shares) on the market, raising €605 million in fresh capital. This put Zalando among the top 10 IPOs in German history. The IPO of Zalando is also a real success story in the medium term. The share rose continuously in value and is now listed at just under €40.


Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based startup incubator, has made its name by copying successful business models from the USA and implementing them in Germany. The company either raises and launches its own startups, or it buys into startups and accompanies them toward an exit through mentoring and networking. For example, Rocket Internet holds stakes in the online furniture retailer Westwing, the food startup HelloFresh and the mail-order retailer Zalando, in whose foundation Rocket played a major role. On 2 October 2014, just one day after the Zalando IPO, Rocket Internet went public to raise additional capital. The company was listed in the Entry Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. With an issue volume of up to €1.6 billion, it was one of the largest IPOs of an Internet company in Europe since the "New Economy" in 2000. At €42.50 per share, the issue price was very optimistic, which promptly took its toll. The price fell to €37 within a few minutes and was unable to recover until the end of the trading day. Until the end of November, it climbed to an all-time high of €56.60, but since then things have been steadily downhill, partly because many of its startup companies have not developed as expected. Today, the Rocket share is quoted at around €19.


Shop Apotheke is an online mail-order retailer for pharmaceuticals. The German-Dutch company focuses on the sale of prescription-free pharmaceuticals as well as beauty and care products commonly found in drug stores. The company with its seat in Venlo entered the German Stock Exchange in Frankfurt on October 13th, 2016 and was listed in the Prime Standard. Shop Apotheke released 4.07 million shares at an issuing price of €28 per share. The startup was valued at €254 million, accordingly. The company was able to earn €100 million through this issuing, while existing investors received up to €15 million. Shop Apotheke wants to use this capital to tap into markets in southern Europe and thus obtain market leadership throughout Europe. Already in 2015, Shop Apotheke achieved sales revenue of nearly €126 million. The startup continues to grow rapidly and was able to reach profitability this year. Shareholders reward this; the share price is currently just under €44. makes diapers and baby products. The startup from Munich was listed in the Prime Standard at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2015. The company released nearly 11.4 million shares. The IPO flushed a total of €211 million into the company's coffers, of which about half went into the European expansion and the rest benefited the founders and first-time investors. Nevertheless, the stock market launch of was considered a failure. After just one day, the share price was already only €14.95 and thus significantly lower than the issue price of €18.50. In the following years, the share experienced an unprecedented slump and is currently quoted at only €3.19. With savings in marketing and personnel, the Munich-based company wants to once again pull itself around and finally turn a profit.


The Berlin startup Scout24 runs marketplaces for a variety of industries such as real estate, finance, automobiles, and jobs. The most known portals of the Scout24 group include ImmobilienScout24, FincanceScout24, AutoScout24 und JobScout24. Already in 2004, Scout24 made one of the biggest startup exits when the German Telekom bought up all shares of the company for €180 million. The Telekom then sold around 70% of these to the US investors Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone in 2013. Around two years later, the Scout24 group entered the stock market on October 1st, 2015. The Berlin-based enterprise was listed in the Prime Standard of the German Stock Exchange. The issuing price of the shares was €30. A total of 38.64 million shares were issued, although only 7.6 million of these came from a capital increase. The company was thus able to make total revenue of €1.15 billion, of which only €228 million were available to the company to grow and pay off debts. The rest went toward the existing investors in the USA and to the German Telekom. Today, the share price of €33.90 remains stable above its issuing price.


The German Startups Group (GSG) succeeded with its IPO at the second attempt. GSG is a venture capital fund focusing on startup financing and trading in startup investments. In July 2015, the first attempt failed due to a lack of interest and a poor market environment. The second attempt in November 2015 was successful and GSG shares were listed in the Entry Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The issue price was €2.50 per share. By the end of the first trading day, the price had risen to €2.80. Unfortunately, GSG was unable to keep up the trend. On the contrary: the shares are only listed at €1.80 per share today, due in part to numerous profit warnings.


The food delivery service Delivery Hero, which also owns, Lieferheld, and Foodora among others, was listed in the Prime Standard of the German Stock Exchange. The IPO of the startup founded in 2011 demanded a lot of nerve from its founders and investors. The issuing price was €25.50 per share and during the first few days, the share price fluctuated significantly around this value. Since then, the share price has been able to remain above the issuing price for the most part and is currently listed at around €30 per share. Delivery Hero made the biggest IPO of the year with a volume of €996 million. The six-year-old company was thus valued at €4.4 billion – despite red numbers. Last year, the company posted a loss of around €200 million and is thus far from being profitable. Rocket Internet, in particular, is likely to have enjoyed the successful stock market launch, as the Berlin-based startup incubator holds around a quarter of the shares in the food delivery service.

The online jewelry retailer Elumeo made the jump to the stock exchange in July 2015, but Hellofresh's IPO replaced it in our top 10 list. The biotechnology company Brain AG (B. R. A. I. N - Biotechnology Research and Information Network) from Hesse also completed its IPO in 2016.


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Status as of 30.08.2017 17:59



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