Who is this Gründungsbonus guide for?

Let’s not waste any more time and get right into the topic. Which circumstances do you need to be able to get the startup seed funding program?

First of all, the Gründungsbonus is a Berlin startup funding program, existing to support founders of particularly innovative, creative, or sustainable startup projects in Berlin.

"Legally independent, profit-orientated start-ups, micro-enterprises and freelancers based in Berlin"

According to the official site of the Berlin-based investment bank (IBB).

To state the obvious first: No matter what kind of support you get, the institution supporting you has to see potential in you and your startup endeavour. To specify this a bit more, the IBB has made the following points quite clear.

- Startup businesses that apply must not be older than 12 months at the time of application (young companies in seed stage)

- Founders must hold the majority of shares in the company

- The business model has to be digital, technological, creative, or sustainable

- The startup project must be convincing and have sufficient growth potential.

- Important: The headquarters and the company facilities that are supported through the grant have to remain in Berlin for at least three years after the financing has been completed.

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If you are a Berlin-based startup company, or you’re thinking about founding a startup in Berlin and remaining there for the next three to five years, and you convincingly believe in your growth potential based on facts, Gründungsbonus might be just perfect for you.

What does the application process look like?

You can apply online on the website of the IBB. The whole process from initial application to a decision takes around two months. In periods with many applications, it can take up to six months, and the IBB usually posts a warning on their website. To shorten the application process, it is fundamental to apply accurately. This prevents unnecessary inquiries from the bank.

The Gründungsbonus process can be broken down into four parts:

Online Application


Personal Meeting

Final Decision

As we can't cover the whole process in detail in this article, you can download our free in depth-process Gründungsbonus guide here: xxx

What exactly does the Berlin startup funding program Gründungsbonus cover?

Now that we found out who the Gründungsbonus is for, let’s find out what it exactly covers. You might be astonished!

In general, the Gründungsbonus exists to promote the development, implementation, and market establishment of products, services, or technologies.

These include:

- Material and seed investment costs

- All types of current operating expenditure, such as rental of premises, employees, communication, and advertising costs

- Costs for consulting, IT development, and other external services you may need

- Costs for patent applications and similar

The Gründungsbonus even covers the founders’ and managers’ salaries up to a maximum of 2.000 Euro per month, per person. To keep the proportion of expenses in the right balance, all salary expenses (grants for founders, costs for employees) may only amount to half of the total grant.

———————— Tip ————————

Founders who need further financing options may additionally apply for “IBB MikroCrowd”. This program combines micro-loan with crowd-funding from the online portal Start Next to acquire additional capital.

What exactly does the Gründungsbonus not cover?

All that being said, there are “things” you can’t buy with the grant.

These include:

- Purchasing of land, real estate, company or distribution vehicles
- Costs for financing, interest, rent or taxes.

What do I exactly require to receive the Gründungsbonus?

After we talked about all the details around the Berlin startup funding program Gründungsbonus, let’s have a look at what exactly you need.

- First of all, you will need the usual personal data that you would need for anything else as well, such as name, address, and contact information

- Secondly, you will need your company’s articles of association, which provides information around your company’s constitution and guidelines

- Lastly and most importantly, a perfectly-written effective business plan in German

While the first two points are pretty basic, things get different when it comes to writing a business plan. Of course, you can use online templates and an official translator, but if you want to make sure to get this type of startup funding with up to 50.000€ in total, you might want to get some professional help from experts who’ve been through the process a thousand times already.

As a business consultancy focused on helping English speaking startups and entrepreneurs in Germany, we have helped numerous clients secure the Gründungsbonus and other external funding options available in Germany. Due to the current situation in 2021, we offer a free consultation call to see if it would make sense for you and your business to apply for the Gründungsbonus program. No strings attached. We want to support the growth of valuable ideas and give something back during those tough times. If you feel like you would fit into the Berlin startup funding program, apply here for your free consultation call.

Success Stories from other Companies

We all love stories, don’t we? Especially when it comes to success! It motivates and inspires us to take action and proves all the time that things beyond our imagination are possible.

Do you think that successful business ideas always have to be totally innovative and novel? Not necessarily. The Berlin startup fridai has combined voice control, as we know it from Alexa, with the founders’ favourite hobby. The company fridai started in 2019 with a simple and unusual idea: an AI-controlled voice assistant that supports computer gamers with knowledge and important information. This allows gamers to concentrate on the game without interruptions. Fridai’s AI is constantly learning from the players as they interact with the tool.

Compared to modern digital businesses, an actual product-based start-up has much higher costs to create its MVP (=minimum viable product). So why take out a loan with high interest rates when you can get a government grant of up to €50,000?

Through our support in the preparation of the business and financial plan and in the application process, the company was able to secure approval for the Gründungsbonus. The grant allowed the company to finally invest in the areas of design, marketing and production and focus on the completion of the AI, opening up new markets for their innovative product. This allowed the company to build a more professional brand image and become a success story in the start-up world.

You can read more about different success story here.

Other Berlin startup funding opportunities

If the Berlin startup funding program Gründungsbonus doesn’t fit to your situation, don’t worry. We have more opportunities for you.

Here’s a quick overview of our top 3 recommendations:

The Berlin Startup Scholarship

- Up to 3 Founders receive 2.000€ Euros per month in financial support for 6 months (12 months possible)

- Access to full infrastructure including workplaces

- Intensive coaching from experts in the field

Requirements: Technology-based startup in the planning and market launch phase.


- Grants and loans for technological innovation projects

- Loans of up to 1.000.000€ Euro and grants of up to 400.000€ Euro

- Financing for up to 80%

Requirements: SMEs or non-SMEs in conjunction with research institutes and SMEs. Research institutes only in conjunction with one company.

Berlin Start

- Low-interest loans for people starting up in business

- Up to 1.500.000€ Euro with a fixed interest rate

- 80% guarantee by the guarantee bank

Requirements: Finance start-ups and expansion for such companies that are no more than 7 years old.

Next Steps

You now know everything about the Berlin start-up funding programme Gründungsbonus. Our experts will be happy to support you in your application with a free consultation to save you from making costly mistakes.

And best of all: If you receive an approval for the start-up bonus, you can apply for further financing through IBB in the millions.

How does securing funding impact the growth and success of a startup?

Securing funding can significantly impact startup growth and success by providing resources for product development, marketing efforts, hiring top talent, and expanding operations. It helps in achieving key milestones faster, gaining a competitive edge, and attracting further investment opportunities.