This is not a psychedelic vision, even if you sometimes have to rub your eyes to believe it: the Berlin biotech Atai Life Sciences, a German specialist in hallucinogenic mushrooms, made a stormy entrance to the Nasdaq, the technological index of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, June 11. Its founder, Christian Angermayer, has convinced investors of the potential of psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”, to treat depression, schizophrenia or addictions. Atai, which has raised $ 225 million (189 million euros) from investors, is now valued at $ 2.3 billion.
Atai’s success closes an exceptional quarter for the German start-up scene. In February, the used car specialist Auto1 broke into the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with great fanfare. And, in recent weeks, the pace of fundraising has accelerated: in quick succession, the neobank Mambu, the recruitment specialist Personio, the delivery company Gorillas, the logistics experts Sennder and Forto, the fintech Trade Republic, or the wealth manager Scalable Capital have entered the circle of “unicorns”, companies valued at more than $ 1 billion. Since the beginning of June, Germany has even its first “decacorne”: the Celonis group, based in Munich, has exceeded the valuation of 10 billion dollars.
According to a report by KPMG, Germany experienced a record venture capital investment record in the first quarter. Over the period, the volume amounted to $ 3.1 billion (including $ 1.5 billion in Berlin), exceeding the level recorded the previous year in the same period by $ 1.9 billion. It is certainly much less than in London, but the upward trend testifies to the maturity of the technological ecosystem and the growing interest of investors for models developed across the Rhine. The country, long dominated by its traditional industry, has been trying for a decade to catch up, to become a leading technological site in Europe.
“I saw, in Paris, a boiling”
“In Germany, valuations are rising for service software, e-commerce or logistics companies, explains Ashkan Kalantary of KPMG. Valuations are getting higher and higher as these business models mature very quickly. And they have been proven to work well in real life conditions. ” Despite these successes, some players in the German technological ecosystem regret that the political interest in start-ups is still far too timid across the Rhine. This is the opinion of Christian Miele, investor and president of the German start-up federation, believing that France is doing better than Germany in this area. While in Paris, he was impressed by the welcome given by the French President to a hundred representatives of the European start-up scene on Tuesday, June 15, on the occasion of the launch of the “Scale-up Europe” initiative. “.
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