Successful realignment of business development structures

Hamburg Invest placing focus on industries of the future

Successful realignment of business development structures

9,000 jobs created and secured, nearly 1,200 companies served, and investments to the tune of EUR 660 million: these are the key figures of Hamburg Invest for the year 2017. Frank Horch, Hamburg's Minister for Economic Affairs, explains: "Over the past two years, the Hamburg Senate has transformed the city’s business development corporation into a one-stop agency for investment, while at the same time expanding its staffing level. And these efforts are bearing fruit even at this stage." Rolf Strittmatter, managing director of Hamburg Invest, adds: "We have sharpened our profile as an investment agency and have therefore given ourselves a new name – Hamburg Invest. The city’s business sector has now been provided with one central point of contact in Hamburg. At the same time, we are placing a stronger focus on Hamburg's industries of the future. This has been well received by the companies. Between 2015 and 2016 we have been able to improve our figures considerably, and we are now recording additional robust growth."

With regard to 2018, Mr Horch announced that Hamburg Invest will be geared towards the needs of knowledge-based companies to an even greater extent. As part of these efforts, Hamburg Invest established a dedicated startup unit at the start of the year, which serves as the main port of call for technology- and knowledge-oriented startups. Hamburg Invest is now also in charge of developing, marketing and operating Hamburg's research and innovation parks. "Hamburg is not just a trading city, but also a free port of innovative ideas," Mr Horch pointed out.

To forge ahead with the development, marketing and sales of municipal commercial and industrial spaces, Hamburg Invest is also strengthening its real estate expertise: Birgit Detig, managing director of a dedicated development company that was established on 1 January 2018, will be expanding this new business segment in collaboration with Dr Rolf Strittmatter as chairman.

Birgit Detig (56) is an architect and has many years of experience in designing intelligent land and property development concepts. Most recently, she held the position of authorised signatory with Arcadis Germany GmbH. Moreover, Ms Detig worked with Messe Berlin and with ExpoCenter Airport Berlin Brandenburg GmbH earlier in her career.

The figures in more detail

In 2017, almost 1,200 businesses made use of the services provided by Hamburg Invest. This number has more than doubled compared to 2016 (501). A total of 1,065 businesses obtained consulting services, 123 businesses relocated (2016: 60) or received support with regard to expansion activities respectively (2016: 63). Five companies were supported in their search for a location within the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

Ventures 20162017
Projects  98   123
of which
Relocation  63     60
Expansion  35     63

* including projects realised in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region in 2016 (3) and 2017 (5)

With regard to relocation, the main source markets were China (22), Germany (9), and Turkey (4).

As part of 123 projects realised in Hamburg (2016: 98) a total of 2,151 (2016: 1,660) jobs were created, and 6,840 jobs were secured (2016: 5,062).

Jobs secured5,0626,840
Jobs created1,6602,151

Moreover, the projects resulted in investments of EUR 660.5 m. (2016: EUR 591.5 m).

in million EUR591.5660.5

Realignment of business development structures:

The city’s business development structures have been continuously realigned since 2015. To streamline cooperation between investors and the City of Hamburg, the HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation has been expanded to become a one-stop agency for investments and has been operating under the umbrella brand of "Hamburg Invest" since October 2017:

  • Since the start of 2017, businesses from industry & trade, research & innovation, digital economy & e-commerce as well as services & tourism have been provided with dedicated contact persons with corresponding specialist knowledge. The sharp increase in consulting projects in particular reflects the fact that this service is well received by industry stakeholders.
  • In July 2017 the Hamburg Parliament decided to establish the HIE Hamburg Invest Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG. Being in charge of development, marketing and sales of all municipal commercial and industrial spaces, Hamburg Invest now offers all services for investors and entrepreneurs in one place. The new enterprise went into operation on 1 January 2018, with Dr Rolf Strittmatter (chair) and Birgit Detig as managing directors.
  • 1 January 2018 also saw the launch of Hamburg Invest’s startup unit. Serving as a central contact point for technology- and knowledge-oriented startups, the unit aims to strengthen international marketing for and enhance the visibility of Hamburg’s startup ecosystem. The startup unit is managed by Veronika Reichboth, who previously worked in the same capacity for the nextMedia initiative.
  • A network of research & innovation (R&I) parks is currently being developed in Hamburg. Provided with a scientific anchor institution, these R&I parks will offer commercial spaces for innovation-oriented businesses, research institutions and new enterprises. Each of the parks will have different research and development priorities and will create synergies by reflecting all stages of the value chain. Currently, several R&I parks with a focus on life sciences, laser technology and green technology are in the planning. With the Center of Applied Aerospace Research (ZAL), Hamburg is already home to an R&I park that is geared towards aviation. Hamburg Invest will be in charge of developing, marketing and operating all of these parks.
  • In the area of marketing, one of the focal points will be promoting Hamburg as an innovation and technology location. Following a long break, Hamburg will be present at the Hannover Messe in 2018 with a joint stand, and Hamburg’s presentation at CEBIT will now also be coordinated by Hamburg Invest. To support Hamburg Invest’s marketing activities, Hamburg Marketing has developed, a dedicated online portal.

Selected company profiles

Even in 2017, the realignment of Hamburg’s business development structures was reflected in the type of businesses supported. In the area of relocation in particular, many of the companies advised were technology- and knowledge-oriented businesses.


Hamburg is one of the leading media locations in Germany. Major publishing houses such as Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, and Gruner + Jahr have their head offices here. Meanwhile, Hamburg is increasingly turning into a German hotspot for tech giants too, with global players such as Google and Facebook having their German headquarters in Hamburg. Most recently, the Los Angeles-based camera company Snap Inc. – makers of Snapchat, Spectacles and Bitmoji – have also chosen Hamburg as the location for their German headquarters.

Starship Technologies

Starship Technologies is a robot delivery company that delivers goods locally within a 5 km radius and in the matter of 15 to 30 minutes. The robots drive autonomously but are being monitored by staff who can take control at any time. Starship Technologies was established in Estonia and has its head office in London. Operations in Hamburg started with two employees initially.

apoQlar GmbH

Software company apoQlar are the brains behind Virtual Surgery Intelligence (VSI), a mixed/augmented reality application with integrated artificial intelligence. Using Microsoft HoloLens, a self-contained, holographic computer, VSI is designed to support medical professionals during complex surgery and to help them improve patient education. The VSI software displays CT and MRI scans in 3D and merges these with the surgical site for faster orientation and increased precision. The company is based in the Health Innovation Port (HIP) in Hamburg’s north and also maintains an office in the city centre.


WeWork is a global provider of co-working spaces for both small and large businesses. In autumn 2017 WeWork opened their first location in Hamburg. Situated in the heart of the city at 3 Axel-Springer-Platz, the site provides 7,800 square metres of shared workspace in the Hanse Forum. The company has more than 200,000 members around the world and offers programming and other services in addition to collaborative workspaces. Additional locations in Hamburg are currently in the planning stage.

Hamburg businesses


Transgourmet delivers a broad selection of high-end supplies to large-scale establishments in the catering and community catering trade. This Hamburg-based business is currently developing a new permanent facility with around 4,750 m² of office space and a handling area of approx. 20,000 m² (12,000 m² of which is refrigerated). Once completed, the company Sump & Stammer GmbH International Food Supply, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transgourmet, will move its headquarters to the new location and partially use the available space. Sump & Stammer specialises in supplying groceries to cruise liners, international hotel chains, multinational caterers and ship chandlers. A total of 300 staff will be working on site (around 210 employees at Transgourmet and around 90 employees at Sump & Stammer).


Commercial real estate developer ECE is currently constructing a state-of-the-art logistics centre for logistics service provider Hermes Germany GmbH. The total investment volume amounts to some EUR 55 million, of which EUR 15 million will be allocated to conveyor technology. The facility in Hamburg will include a 9,000 m² logistics hall with attached office spaces and a technical and social building comprising some 2,900 m². About 200 jobs are to be created at this site.