JvM presents


in collaboration with APPINIO

Related Expertise:Brand, Brands, Start-ups

Jonas Bailly & Paul Brenndörfer
Managing Director JvM HAVEL & Strategic Lead JvM START

The startup brand as a business opportunity

For a few years now, comparatively young companies have been mixing things up in the rankings of the world’s most valuable brands. Amazon, Google, Tencent, Facebook, Alibaba compete with established brands for the leading spots in the top 10 of the most relevant brand rankings. What do all the companies have in common besides a strong brand? They all began as startups.

Learning from strong brands

The large-scale brand rankings do not just draw on consumer surveys; they also analyze the companies’ financial figures. And each year, it is clear that companies with a strong brand achieve higher returns, are more robust, and recover from setbacks more quickly. A subject that is now also relevant early on for startups. Because, whether quick commerce or HealthTec: When the product is not distinct, leading to equality of arms, the brand makes all the difference.

The brand as a growth driver

Throughout our 30-year agency history, we have continually supported entrepreneurs who consider their brand to be an essential component in their growth strategy. This includes Germany’s best-known startup Zalando, whose founder recognized the value of the brand early on and invested in it. Against this backdrop, we asked ourselves: Which company founders invested cleverly in their brand early on? Which startup brands are strong in Germany today? Which brands can be role models and provide inspiration for the startup scene? And how do startup brands set themselves apart from established brands in their category?

Download Article (PDF, 22379 KB)

With the startup brand ranking, we provide the answers to precisely these questions and identify the rising stars in the German startup scene. By comparing startups with established players within a category, we also show that young brands should already be considered as serious competition. Because in areas like identification and appeal, startups are performing just as well or even better.


- Tabular top-50 ranking - Comparative analysis of startups vs established brands - Quotes from some of the strongest brands


More and more startups recognize their brand to be a business opportunity, positively differentiate themselves from their competitors, and drive their growth. Because their brand’s appeal creates demand. Demand that, up to now, has had to be bought again and again in performance marketing. At a time when Google is doing away with cookies and Apple’s new approach to app tracking has led to almost all users rejecting it, the efficiency of these measures is reducing, making brands all the more important.

We are pleased to be following developments in the German startup scene with the startup brand ranking over the coming years, too, and identifying the strongest brands.

  • Online survey via Appinio on brand perception of a total of 132 companies (82 start-ups, 11 grown-ups, 39 established brands) 

  • n = 7,538 split into five groups per 23–25 brands, internet-representative (18–65)

  • Definition of start-ups: maximum of 10 years old, head office in Germany, min. one founder still in the company, focus on B2C 

  • Selection of start-ups via Crunchbase and Dealroom, as well as business ranking and expert survey; creation of shortlist using search traffic, web traffic, social reach, employee numbers, funding, and turnover 

  • The top-three established brands correspond to the best-known brands in the respective category in Germany as per YouGov BrandIndex (version: 06.2021)

  • The ranking is established using a score that takes into account the brand’s visibility, with an equal consideration of emotional and rational factors 

  • The age of the company is also included in the score in order to position the success of brand development in relation to the required time and therefore to better reflect the situation of the start-up brand

  • The highest possible score is 1,000

  1. air up (837,9)

  2. Vivid (827,8)

  3. Gorillas (827,5)

  4. Trade Republic (820,4)

  5. Flaschenpost (809,0)

  6. Flink (808,0)

  7. ABOUT YOU (806,4)

  8. ANKERKRAUT (801,6)

  9. ooia (798,5)

  10. Everdrop (798,3)

  11. TIER Mobility (796,1)

  12. VAHA (795,9)

  13. Spring (791,8)

  14. Tomorrow Bank (791,2)

  15. Femtasy (790,9)

  16. yfood (789,0)

  17. FRIDAY (787,1)

  18. The Female Company (785,4)

  19. Kitchen Stories (772,3)

  20. MOIA (769,6)

Details and the complete Top50 can be found in the publication as PDF.


Thanks to: The quotes from these brands and the full publication can be found in the PDF.


Jung von Matt 2020