ScaleupHessen invited multipliers, planned joint activities, interviewed scaleup companies, organised A2F-events, an A2F-guide and peer meetings.
Based on the EU “startup and scaleup initiative”, the Enterprise Europe Network Hessen (EEN Hessen) at the state economic development organisation Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH started ScaleupHessen. Core partners were Deutsche Börse Venture Network, Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain, Hessen funding banks and others. Roughly twenty long scaleup telephone interviews were conducted to verify their needs. We could verify the typical scaleup-specific needs: finding the right finance, C-level knowledge, recruiting and onboarding, internationalisation. Marketing/sales was also mentioned, but not considered to be specific. Internationalisation is a key support activity of the EEN anyway. Joint ideas to advance recruiting were not of sufficient interest to enough scaleups. C-level knowledge (necessitating training, coaching, mentoring) were provided on an individual basis. In addition, peer-to-peer meetings were organised for small-group, trustful exchange of experiences. Most focus was put on the right kind of finance. Four access-to-finance (A2F) events have been organised, called “Matching series A” for startups with a funding need of >1MEUR. Each time, two sets of 6 startups had 15min (10 pitch + 5 discussion) to present their case, with on average 80 participants (50 of which investors) being in the event. An A2F-brochure called “Funding for startups in Hessen – from business angels to stock market” was developed (1st edition: 5,000 copies, 2nd: 2,000 copies) and distributed.

Resources needed

2 days/month, 12 kEUR/a, but not possible without additional network effects/partners

Evidence of success

The BP closed an information vacuum on funding options for advanced startups – 6,000 copies is quite a significant number for the first year. In addition, about every matchmaking event resulted either in funding a startup or the company having found a coach/mentor. The various network effects, such as establishing working contacts into VC or Series BCD- actors or actively networking regional multipliers, come in additionally. The A2F-events usually have 80 participants, 50 of which being investo

Difficulties encountered

Building on the experience of multipliers and scaleups directly are keys to success. Networking with all multipliers is valuable for knowledge input and output distribution. As there is a lot of founders and early startups, due to limited resources a clear focus on scaleups was necessary and helpful

Potential for learning or transfer

Involving all relevant partners with dedicated support activities for scaleups is key to establishing a topic of important reach as well as yourself as a competent actor in this field.
For general economic development, the scaleup funding landscape has many details and language not usually being in the organisation´s portfolio. Thus, partnering and capacity building is key, as well as immersing into the evening events of the regional startup ecosystem. In contrast to startups, scaleups usually already know a lot, have unusually little time and unusually specific needs. General event concepts will probably not work.
Transfer is currently done through the EEN network (i.e. Germany as well as specific European events).

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Main institution
Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH
Kassel, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
July 2017
End Date


Svea Gockel Please login to contact the author.