Gründerfonds Ruhr

Our Industries

The Ruhr region is the industrial heart of Europe. Numerous internationally leading companies from different markets have their headquarters here. The economic structure of the region is characterized by a broad mix of industries.

Its excellent transportation infrastructure which includes Europe’s largest inland port in Duisburg, several other ports, and multifunctional business parks, offers outstanding conditions for economic prosperity. In addition, Europe’s third-largest metropolitan area has enormous market potential. Thanks to its dense university and research landscape, there is a growing focus on the life science and healthcare industries. Highly trained skilled workers, high quality of life and affordable housing provide further advantages for innovative start-ups.

Key sectors include chemicals & new materials, energy & industrial sector, life sciences & healthcare, logistics & retail and the digital economy.

Key Industries

A large portion of the most important German/European chemical companies are located in the Rhine-Ruhr region and form an essential part of the economy. Consequently, new impulses and ideas are more than welcomed here in order to strengthen competitiveness and promote the region’s development.

North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s number 1 energy state in Germany and home to many national and international energy suppliers. Numerous start-ups from the environmental and energy sectors are settling in the region thanks to its outstanding infrastructure, optimal research and development opportunities and direct access to qualified specialists.

Life sciences and healthcare enjoy a high level of social, economic and ecological relevance worldwide. Start-ups in these fields will discover a balanced mix of companies, first-class international universities, university hospitals and non-university research institutes in the Rhine-Ruhr region.

Germany is one of the world’s leading export nations. Here, the Ruhr region excels with its favorable geographic location and impressive transport infrastructure, including Europe’s largest inland port in Duisburg and several other ports with multifunctional business parks.

Digitalization is a key driver of innovation and is revolutionizing the business model of numerous industries. The number of digital business models, services and products is increasing rapidly – and with it, the need for innovative ideas and technologies. The Rhine-Ruhr region is also home to many “old economy” companies that have yet to undergo digital transformation and offer significant customer potential for young, digital economy companies.

Our Offer

Win-win: Start-up capital & industry access for founders - Key drivers for the region

As the first private VC fund for early-stage financing in the Ruhr region, Gründerfonds Ruhr has set itself the goal of fully harnessing the region’s potential for young entrepreneurs by supporting them financially and by providing optimal resources and expert know-how to pave their path to success.

Portfolio Strategy & Investment Principles
of Gründerfonds Ruhr

Growth Markets and Industry Focus

The fund’s investment focus is on founders and young companies with transforming ideas in one of our industry focus areas. The company’s registered office or a significant part of its business activities should be located in the Ruhr region. The Gründerfonds invests in companies able to present a realistic path to commercial success or a successful exit based on the business model and growth expectations.


The long-term competitiveness of innovative technology-focused start-ups shall be ensured by mobilizing private-sector risk capital or venture capital and developing sustainable financing structures. Direct investments within the scope of seed as well as Series A or B financing rounds are targeted as investment types. The investment amounts are structured in line with the market.

Professional Support

Portfolio companies are proactively mentored and supported. We provide business expertise and access to our extensive networks of international partners and investors. Our experienced mentors also advise founders on operational and strategic decisions. Advisory or supervisory board mandates are carried out by Gründerfonds Ruhr.

Contact Us

Do you have an innovative business idea?

To get a first impression of your entrepreneurial concept, please send us a business plan or a pitch deck to

This should include an executive summary as well as a description of the scalable business model and product including its innovation characteristics, technology, potential patents, etc. The management team, market and competition analyses, market development strategy as well as growth and exit potential should also be presented.

Please feel free to send us an e-mail. We are happy to get back to you.

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