Partnered with Future Hamburg Award

Future Hamburg Award: German City is looking for startups to brighten urban future

Future Hamburg Award: German City is looking for startups to brighten urban future

Editor’s note: This is a sponsored article, which means it’s independently written by our editorial team but financially supported by another organisation, in this case, Future Hamburg Award. If you would like to learn more about sponsored posts on, read this and contact us if you’re interested in partnering with us.

Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, is with Berlin and Munich one of Germany’s Top 3 startup locations, with success stories such as XING, About You, or Wunder Mobility calling it home. With this track record, it seems logical that the municipality has decided to turn to startups to help solve some of the challenges standing in the way of our future cities' sustainable growth — such as increasing traffic, rising emissions, and limited space.

To help solve these and other issues, the City of Hamburg has created the Future Hamburg Award, a competition for early-stage startups under five years old that have at least a minimum viable product (MVP) to prove their ideas. This year, the contest runs for the second time and focuses on the industries of logistics, mobility, and green hydrogen.

Startups from all over the world that satisfy the requirements mentioned above can apply until March 31, 2021 on the award's website.

What's in it for the startups?

Getting an award is always great and all, but of course there's much more in store for the winning startups.

“Our idea with the Future Hamburg Award is to offer founders a truly unique opportunity to get access to Europe's premium test fields for new products and to develop their business model in Silicon Valley. Particularly, we will give startups the chance to test their innovation in Hamburg with one of our partners and to get in touch with relevant players,” said Veronika Reichboth, head of the Hamburg Startup Unit and one of the initiators of the Future Hamburg Award.

The main prize for the three winning startups is a three-day tailor-made programme in Hamburg organised by the city's Startup Unit. The agenda is packed with activities around building a high-quality industry network and connecting startups to the right investors from the region. The idea is that the programme would lead the startups to raise new funding and test their solutions with the city and its partners.

In addition to that, this year Hamburg has teamed up with Plug and Play, the major international early-stage investor and accelerator. The team of the first-place winning startup will spend a full month at Plug and Play's accelerator in Sunnyvale, California.

But wait, there's even more: two major players from Hamburg are offering additional prizes, which could be given not just to the three winners but to any promising startups that have applied. The VC firm AM HAFEN CAPITAL will offer an up to six-figure investment, while homePORT by the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) will make its test site available to promising applicants.

Track record

Since this year's edition is the second one, it's already possible to see how things went for last year's winners. The first iteration of the award attracted 120 teams from 26 countries; the three winners were Heptasense from Portugal, Humanising Autonomy from the UK, and LignoPure from Germany.

LignoPure, a producer of natural biodegradable biopolymers, has recently secured €2.2 million in funding from several investors, including Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg (IFH).

“As one of the winners of the competition, we had the unique opportunity to present our business to important investors, and we have been able to build a broad network since,” said Joana Gil, co-founder and CEO of LignoPure.

Do you have what it takes to solve the problems of a modern city and make it smarter? Apply for the Future Hamburg Award before March 31.

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