Rocket Mittelstand Award Nominees: Meet the Role Models of Today’s Digital Mittelstand

The air is light up on top and only 500 companies share it: The eclectic club of so-called Unicorns– startups with a valuation of more than 1 billion USD – is small. In Germany it is even smaller. According to CBInsights currently 13 German startups can call themselves Unicorns – a fairytale creature that is said to be impossible to find. But they are not alone in their entrepreneurial journey, “MiniCorns” and “SooniCorns” are reaching for the stars as well to join the Unicorn on top of the startup universe.

Meet the three trailblazer that are – or will be – representing Germany in the Unicorn Club in the future and are nominated for the Rocket Mittelstand Award:


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Celonis and its Co-Founder Martin Klenk

Companies such as 3M, Airbus, L’Oréal, Lufthansa, BMW, Siemens and also Uber, trust this Munich-based startup: Celonis, the market leader in AI-enhanced Process Mining and Process Excellence software, is harnessing the power of
process excellence software to help its customers improve the efficiency of their finance, supply chain, IT, sales, and customer service functions. Process Mining delivers significant business value by allowing companies to discover inefficiencies, identify actions to streamline processes in real time and continually monitor them to ensure optimal performance and improved customer experience.
In 2018, Celonis quietly joined the Unicorn Club by raising $50 million in Series B funding from existing investors Accel and 83North at a $1 billion valuation. Then in 2019, a Series C funding round of $290 Million USD confirmed a skyrocking valuation of $2.5 Billion USD – a valuation based on solid growth, a cash flow positive company from the very start, happy clients and a dedicated product development.
Though, the company started small: Alexander Rinke, Bastian Nominacher and Martin Klenk were working with the student consultancy Academy Consult and undertook a project with Bayerischer Rundfunk to optimize their internal IT processes. After this successful project, they started Celonis. Step-by-step, the team developed the Celonis’ product line from “Celonis 1” to “Celonis 4” with a bold vision: The creation of a Superfluid Enterprise.
From Day 1, Martin Klenk, CTO and co-founder of Celonis, shaped the success of the B2B startup. He’s been responsible for the product development from the first prototype to the current version and today, heads Celonis’ development and innovation department. Martin has specialized in databases, algorithms and new big data technologies, and continuously drives innovation and new capabilities in Celonis’ products – a true “Unicorn maker” and strong contestant for the Rocket Mittelstand Award 2020.

Corrux and its Co-Founder Laura Tönnies

Barely two years old, Munich-born startup Corrux soon reached a “MiniCorn” status and is now fast growing into a Unicorn. With $3+ Million USD funding, the small team is on a mission, and has the financial power, to further empower players in the heavy industrial equipment space to grow profit margins and streamline operations by improving existing processes through digitization. Customers and partners love Corrux: Osam awarded them its IoT Award, Vodafone welcomed Corrux in its worldwide Uplift program. Soon, Corrux will be expected to knock on the doors of the Unicorn Club.
Founded by Laura Tönnies, the team is still small yet driven. Laura Tönnies is the face of Corrux. She manages operations and customer experience. Studying Mathematics and Philosophy made her curious by nature, she says. Another bonus: Laura has been around asphalt and concrete all her life, coming from a family of general contractors and civil engineers.

micropsi industries and its CEO Ronnie Vuine

“Automation is what makes better products cheaper. It’s also incredibly hard to get right. With MIRAI, our AI-powered robot control system, we’ve set out to enable engineers to automate more tasks, increase reliability, and reduce implementation complexity. Engineering integrity is important to us at micropsi industries. Our product may be fancy, but it needs to deliver like any other part of the machine,” says Ronnie Vuine, CEO and cofounder of micropsi industries.
micropsi industries is a robotics software company. Its artificial intelligence allows industrial robots to learn from humans and, based on what it learned, act in dynamic environments, coping with variance in production. In a nutshell, MIRAI gives industrial robots hand-eye coordination. Founded in 2014 by Ronnie Vuine and four others, the company is now made up of 26 people, most of them experienced entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists with cognitive science or machine learning backgrounds. micropsi industries has offices in Berlin (where it’s based) and Brooklyn. With its AI technology, micropsi industries is for sure in pole position to enter the Unicorn Club soon.

„It’s my first time at Hinterland of Things, but I grew up in Hinterland,” says Ronnie. “Hinterland where things are made, Hinterland where people deliver first and brag later, Hinterland where the kid next door learns Latin and Python and it’s no big deal.“