Especially after the turn of the millennium, Berlin has made a name for itself as an “incubator” for numerous Internet startups. Some of them have long since outgrown the early-stage stage and are market leaders. This is also reflected in our list of “hidden champions” from the capital: The presented companies belong to the largest companies in Berlin.
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1. AUTO1 Group SE, Berlin/Munich: 2.83 billion euros in sales
AUTO1 can be considered a pioneer in the digitalisation of car retailing. In 2012, two daring founders came up with the idea of making used car trading possible via the internet. Within a few years this has developed into one of the largest platform operators in this sector. The model has since found numerous imitators. AUTO1 Group currently operates three platforms: Wirkaufendeinauto.de (platform for car purchasing with “on-site” inspection), Auto1.com (B2B business) and Autohero (online car dealership). The legal domicile of the company is Munich, but the business is managed from Berlin. AUTO1 Group employs more than 4,400 people. The IPO took place in February 2021.
2. HomeToGo GmbH: 73.3 million euros in sales
HomeToGo is also a Berlin-based eCommerce business model. It is a digital marketplace for holiday homes and apartments. A trio of founders launched the company in 2014. Previously, they had already gained experience with the development of the flight search portal Swoodoo and the holiday home portal Casamundo. In the following years, HomoToGo was able to profit from the trend of booking holidays via the Internet. Today, the HomeToGo websites and apps present around 14 million holiday home offers from over 30,000 providers. The “Locations” cover 23 markets in Europe, America, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. HomeToGo has been listed on the stock exchange since September 2021.
3. kfzteile24 GmbH: 159 million euros in sales
Compared to other Internet startups, kfzteile24 is almost an oldie. The Berlin-based company was founded back in 2001. It initially started as an eBay shop for car parts. Long ago, kfzteile24 left this stage and went its own way. Today, kfzteile24 is considered the German market leader in online trading with car parts. Its market share is around one eighth. The company employs around 550 people. In Berlin, kfzteile24 is not only present online. In addition to the head office, three branches with workshops are operated. There are two logistics locations in Neuseddin and Ludwigsfelde. From here, around 10,000 parcels with car spare parts are sent out every day.
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