The digital cybersecurity hub as part of the Frankfurt / Darmstadt hub

The Frankfurt / Darmstadt digital hub combines two key topics: FinTech and Cybersecurity. They present opportunities with high potential for innovation, new business models and company foundations. Within the hub, Frankfurt stands for FinTech and Darmstadt for Cybersecurity. Both locations cooperate very closely.


The Cybersecurity Focus in Darmstadt

Cybersecurity is the hub topic in Darmstadt. For innovations cybersecurity & privacy play a major role. Especially it is of importance to critical infrastructure, in the financial sector and health care. Supported by IHK Darmstadt and Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt, the new start-up center creates spaces for start-ups, providing co-working spaces, seminar rooms, maker spaces and offices. Young companies will find a lively ecosystem in Darmstadt, with excellent research institutes and successful companies from various industries. The Competence Center for Applied Security Technology CAST connects more than 250 companies from all kinds of sectors. More than 450 scientists are working on the challenges of secure digitalization at the Center for Research in Security and Privacy (CRISP), consisting of Fraunhofer SIT, Fraunhofer IGD, TU Darmstadt and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. Universities and research institutes actively promote spin-offs.  TU Darmstadt participates in the HIGHEST Innovation and Foundation  Center, for example.

The FinTech Focus in Frankfurt

TechQuartier (TQ) is a platform for FinTechs in the metropolitan region of Frankfurt. Since December 2016, TQ has been offering a flexible working environment for start-ups and companies in their growth phase on more than 3,200 square meters. With numerous events, tailor-made services and specific programs for talents, start-ups and established companies, TQ is providing an ideal environment for the development of tomorrow’s technologies and business models. TechQuartier enriches the vibrant start-up ecosystem in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main area with its unique community of 60 start-ups, 30 partner companies and various universities, including Aareal Bank, Allen & Overy, Atos & Wordline, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Börse, DZ BANK Group, EY, Goethe-Universität, Helaba, ING-DiBa, KPMG, PwC, Sparda-Bank Hesse, Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt and WIBank for example.


Darmstadt has a creative, lucrative and rapidly growing cybersecurity start-up scene with technological expertise at the highest level.

“Good Grounds for Founders” was the title of a two-page report about the Darmstadt start-up scene in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on March 8, 2017. Quote: “In fact, for young entrepreneurs Southern Hesse seems to be the ideal hotbed. Numerous renowned scientific institutions are located here: Technische Universität Darmstadt, Universities of Applied Sciences, ESOC, three Fraunhofer Institutes, and Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung GSI. The scientific community is complemented by global players in information and communication technology, the chemical and pharmaceutical sector, and from space and satellite technology, such as Software AG, Merck or Telespazio. Such an innovative environment will provide excellent growth conditions for inventive minds.” With regard to technological start-ups, which are the most important type for Darmstadt, all the key players are pursuing a joint strategy and share their tasks according to their specific strengths.

“For me, Darmstadt has the leading role in IT security start-ups within Europe. Concentrated IT security research meets the economic power of the Rhine-Main area, producing a highly creative, technically sophisticated and thus rapidly growing cybersecurity ecosystem. “

Alex Wyllie, CEO of IT-SEAL

TU Darmstadt is one of the most successful universities for business start-ups in Germany. This is also reflected in the many prizes won by Darmstadt’s start-ups in recent years (for example ITK innovative, Science4Life).

According to, the large number of MINT university graduates is the main reason for many to settle in the Rhine-Main area, since it also facilitates better access to talents. Its economic power, the multitude of companies, the closeness to the financial center Frankfurt and thus optimal access to capital, an excellent start-up network and infrastructure, all of this speaks for the region. Various institutions in Darmstadt are purposefully supporting start-ups, including Technische Universität Darmstadt with its HIGHEST foundation center, IHK Darmstadt, and the Career Center of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. The local start-up scene is doing an excellent job of cooperating with each other, with the spectrum of collaboration ranging from individual consultations to training events to regular informal get-togethers, intended to contribute to better networking among the founders and establishing a start-up culture. The wide range of offers and the close cooperation between the various institutions focusing on the different aspects of the start-up process provide entrepreneurs with support throughout the overall start-up process, beginning with the identification of ideas to the acquisition of funding or capital up to founding the enterprise itself and during its growth phase.

Student initiatives such as the Entrepreneurs Club and offers from regional companies have a stimulating effect on the founding scene as well, strengthening the start-up scene further. HEAG AG, a public transportation company, for example provides start-up coaching by offering support with regard to specific topics (e.g. legal issues, development of brands or communication strategies).  Merck’s Innovator’s Club and Innovation Center also contribute to strengthening the start-up scene with its “Accelerator Program for Young Start-ups”. Another participant is Wirtschaftspate e. V., providing economical mentoring. Having set itself the goal to promote start-ups as well, Entega AG, one of the leading energy and infrastructure service providers in Germany, has developed its own offer with the ENTEGA Start HUB program. Close contact to strategic partners such as Merck, Bosch, Siemens, Conti or Deutsche Bahn, enable start-ups to have access to customers, investors and experts. In order to connect start-ups and start-up projects with established companies, specific pitching and networking formats were developed, for example the HIGHEST club meeting or the annual Start-up & Innovation Day. In addition, the HIGHEST foundation center is closely linked to the Business Angels Rhine-Main and has contacts to the Venture Forum Neckar, thus providing start-ups with easier access to existing pitches.

Cybersecurity ecosystem

Research in Security and Privacy (CRISP) is Germany’s largest competence center for cybersecurity. Most of the renowned innovation prizes went to companies, institutions and persons in Darmstadt. Founded in 1999, the “Competence Center for Applied Security Technology” (CAST e. V.) is the largest network for applied cybersecurity technology in D-A-CH.

The economic sector is working intensively with Darmstadt’s cybersecurity research in multifarious cooperative ventures. The location also functions as a magnet, attracting relevant industrial settlements.

Darmstadt’s cybersecurity is networked worldwide, with the focus on Israel and the USA. Cooperation with the scientific community, delegations visits and target-oriented programs are furthering the establishment and development of international partnerships.

“Darmstadt’s strength is based on the combination of future young entrepreneurs and start-ups with the high demand from strong industries in the Rhine-Main metropolitan area and excellent science.”

Prof. Dr. Mira Mezini, Vice President Innovation, TU Darmstadt

Darmstadt has a lively, technology-oriented start-up scene with a wide range of events and networking opportunities, benefitting the increasing number of start-ups in the cybersecurity sector. Darmstadt offers an optimal environment for cybersecurity start-ups, which in turn is highly attractive for venture capital providers.