This is the OMR50 for 2024

OMR presents Germany's most-influential players from across the digital economy

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It's back: The OMR50. Every year, the OMR Editorial Staff sifts through all the news, all the movers and all the shakers in the digital marketing economy to compile a list of the top 50 players. 100% accurate & 100% subjective. These are the people behind the stories, trends and highlights of the past year. From absolute newcomers, to seasoned industry vets, you'll find them here. And if not, there's always next year. Without further ado, we are now pleased to present the OMR50 for 2024 in conjunction with our friends at Horizont.

1. Susanne Klatten, Entrepreneur and Investor

In Germany, running the family business is both fetishized and a myth central to the Fatherland’s founding. Take an idea, take the requisite risk, start a company, generate wealth, establish a dynasty. It’s the dream of many German entrepreneurs and has been for generations. Susanne Klatten has dedicated herself to ensuring hers is not the last and that family entrepreneurship remains in good hands moving forward. "The BMW heiress is perhaps the most important engine of the German start-up scene," German financial publication Handelsblatt once said of her, adding that she acts "as silently and smoothly as one of the company's own six-cylinder engines."

Cheese notwithstanding, the sentiment is true: Klatten, who sees herself as an entrepreneur, was one of the initiators of German incubator UnternehmerTUM in 2002, which is closely aligned with Technical University of Munich (TUM), and has seemingly churned out a new startup on a weekly basis. Of course, not all of the startups progress past potential and vision, but with Flix Mobility, Tado, Celonis and Personio, the list of successful enterprises at UnternehmerTUM is objectively impressive. One of the most-impressive things about UnternehmerTUM (a play on words between entrepreneurship and TUM) is that 5000 young entrepreneurs cut their proverbial teeth in Munich every year—making it a flywheel of sorts for Munich as a tech location.  

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Entrepreneur and investor Susanne Klatten (Image: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images)

Little is known about how much Klatten, Germany’s wealthiest female, has already reinvested in the development of the next generation of family businesses, it is also impossible to quantify her contribution to the rise of Munich’s tech profile. But as Klatten and UnternehmerTUM continue to expand the relevance of Munich as a start-up hub, her impact cannot be understated—same goes for her ambition: to elevate Europe’s standing to that of the US of A. This includes not only cultivating in-vogue to attract scads of VC money, but also translating them into sustainable business models as "practical" AI.

2. Christian Müller & Rolf Schumann, Co-CEOs Schwarz Digits & Tanja Rückert, CDO Bosch

When high-profile German politician Robert Habeck made the trek to southern Germany to congratulate Aleph Alpha founder Jonas Andrulis in person on his latest round of funding—a cool USD 500m—it signaled just how crucial the German government views establishing a global AI player from Germany. That round of funding was led by an investment consortium that included several large German corporations, such as the Schwarz Group (Lidl, Kaufland), Bosch, SAP and Burda. Nothing short of retaining autonomy from the US behemoths seems to be at stake.

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Co-CEOs Schwarz Digits: Christian Müller and Rolf Schumann

Schwarz and Bosch even led the funding round. "The continued development of generative AI will be decisive for Europe's technological sovereignty," said Bosch Board of Management member and Digital Director Tanja Rückert. The Schwarz Group also believes that "[t]his strategic investment will further strengthen the German and European AI position with regard to the development of sovereign AI."

The retail giant has invested in two companies: the "Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence," which plans to set up a campus for "the largest ecosystem for artificial intelligence in Europe" at the company's headquarters in Heilbronn, Germany and the new digital and cloud division Schwarz Digits. As reported on by German daily Die Welt, Habeck welcomes the companies' willingness to invest, while simultaneously stressing the need to establish a viable entity before its too late. "Congratulations to the investors who have decided to make a profit. "We really need to step on the gas to avoid being left behind."

3. Ayliva, Musician

Ayliva is considered one of the most promising newcomers of the past year. It was just three years ago that she posted her first Tiktok video, a snippet teasing her debut single "Deine Schuld" (Your Fault). It went viral. Her most-viewed Tiktok, notching 16.7 million to date, provides a glimpse into the genesis of the track. In it, Ayliva, whose real name is Elif Akar, plays an aggressive voice message from her ex-boyfriend, who pushes hard for her not to release the song. Fortunately for music fans in the Fatherland, she didn’t listen.

"Deine Schuld" was followed in June 2022 by a performance as a support act on Alicia Keys' world tour in Berlin and Mannheim. The video single "Sie weiß" (She knows) with German rapper Mero was released in early 2023. The song spent two weeks at number one in the German singles charts. Her second studio album "Schwarzes Herz" (Black Heart) reached number one in August 2023. She also set a pair of streaming records: With 7.6 million streams, she became the most streamed female act in Germany in a single day and the most streamed female act in Germany in a single week with over 40 million views

4. André Christ, Founder LeanIX

It took LeanIX founder André Christ three arduous long years before he could drum up sufficient support among investors and secure funding. His journey began during his time at DAX-listed Deutsche Post DHL, where Christ, a business IT specialist, saw first-hand how projects were delayed because no one had a clue as to which software was being used for what. It was a theme common to countless large corporations. The solution Christ and co-founder Jörg Beyer developed was Enterprise Architecture Management after founding LeanIX in 2012.

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LeanIX founder and CEO André Christ

It wasn’t until 2020 that LeanIX really popped up on anyone’s radar, as Goldman Sachs, among others, invested in LeanIX, which subsequently sent the valuation of the start-up skyrocketing to several hundred million US dollars. By this time, Christ was in charge of the company on his own after Beyer had departed. Today, LeanIX has around 1000 customers, including around half of Germany's DAX 40 companies. In 2023, SAP acquired LeanIX for a reported sum north of USD 1b; Christ remains on board post exit.

5. Ulrich Prediger & Holger Tumat, Founders Jobrad

The Jobrad story is wild. 15 years ago, Ulrich Prediger wanted a company vehicle from his employer—not a car, but a company bike. Spoiler: there wasn’t one. Sensing a business opportunity, he got started. His passion blinded him of ignorance. Looking back, he said, he would never have dared to start the venture had he been aware of the legal hurdles preventing the concept at the heart of what would become Jobrad.

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Jobrad pionieers Ulrich Prediger and Holger Tumat

Fortunately, he did, as Prediger and co-founder Holger Tumat succeeded in making bicycles eligible for tax breaks, knocking off up to 40 percent off the sticker price. Thanks to the e-bike boom, the job bike concept is as well with the Freiburg-based company handling up to 1,500 requests every day. They cracked the billion-euro revenue mark in 2022—despite numerous competitors copying the model. There are no signs of the concept slowing either.

In 2023, Jobrad once again exceeded the previous year's figures. In addition, Prediger and Tumat are currently expanding their company. Jobrad is helping the still very analogue bike industry with digitalization. And in the new Jobrad incubator, bike-related products and business models are being developed to bring to market.

6. Jan Leike, Superalignment Co-Lead OpenAI

A German holding a key position at the—no THE—most in-vogue company on the planet, Open AI, is reason enough to put Jan Leike on the list of Germany’s top 50 influential digital actors. Since last year, Leike has headed up the "Superalignment" team since alongside Open AI co-founder and Head of Research Ilya Sutskever.

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Jan Leike OpenAI

The team’s mission? To prevent the "misalignment." Cool. What misalignment really means is the undesirable, dangerous "alignment" of potential super AI capabilities. The solution? "Scalable Oversight," i.e. an AI program as intelligent as a human, which can then automatically research how to control a potential super AI. In addition to conducting its own research, Open AI says it also provides independent researchers with a total of USD 10m in research grants.

Just 36 years old, Leike’s résumé to date is impressive: studies in Freiburg, PhD in Canberra, postdoc in Oxford. He then moved to AI company Deepmind, which was acquired by Google, and now to Open AI in 2021. Last year, the US magazine "Time" ranked Leike among the 100 most influential people in the field of AI.

7. Tina Klüwer, Department Head for Key Technologies and Innovation, German government

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Tina Klüwer

Germany’s independence in the field of technology is a topic that will only gain in importance in 2024 and beyond, Tina Klüwer recently wrote on LinkedIn. She continued by stressing that she is now in exactly the right place to help ensure that Germany becomes a key tech research hub—and turns that research into viable innovation.

Klüwer was appointed head of the "Research for Technological Sovereignty and Innovation" department at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) last December. A very qualified appointment as Klüwer spent several years as Director AI at K.I.E.Z., the Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurship Center in Berlin, and as the founder and managing director of a company for AI tools in customer support, which has since been sold.

8. Johannes Reck, Co-Founder & CEO Getyourguide

On April 2, 2020, the Robert Koch Institute recorded 73,522 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Germany, while at the same time the virus was beginning to unleash its full force stateside. All of which was of secondary importance to Johannes Reck, whose wife was giving birth.

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Getyourgide founder Johannes Reck

Reck just went through the most nerve-wracking weeks of his life, as the virus nearly completely nullified tourism. Planes were grounded, hotels closed—and the travel experiences that Rech offered via the Getyourguide platform were suddenly no longer a business model. The start-up, which had just been valued at billions, was suddenly in crisis.

Asian investors had already warned Rech about the virus in February, so, fortunately, the team had prepared plans to temporarily scale back the workforce for the majority of the 700 employees at the time and radically cut costs. The plan was in place until April 2020. Getyourguide is now back on the road to success, sales have risen rapidly and the company has been consistently in the black since June 2023. An IPO is likely to follow.

9. Verena Pausder, Chair, German Startup Association

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Chair, German Startup Association Verena Pausder (Image: Patrycia Lukas)

The German Startup Association has a new boss: together with a team of nine, entrepreneur and investor Verena Pausder was recently named chairwoman of the German Startup Association. The two-year term is something well suited to her skillset. “I’m always half political in everything I do and at the same time I have great respect for really becoming a politician," she recently stated in the OMR Podcast. She sees the startup association as a good compromise for getting involved, representing interests in the startup scene, while also considering the political climate key to getting progress on a given issue. Her agenda includes making it easier for top talent to come to Germany, creating more diversity in the startup scene and promoting deep tech startups in the long term.

To this end, she has put together a board team with which she intends to tackle these issues: "I looked at how we can cover the areas that are important for the start-up scene: AI, deep tech, how do we get innovation out of universities faster? How do we get more growth potential, especially in the later rounds?" she explains. 

10. Zarah Bruhn, Founder & CEO Socialbee

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Socialbee co-founder Zahra Bruhn (Image: Hans-Joachim Rickel)

Actually, Zarah Bruhn had designs on becoming an investment banker after studying business administration. As things turned out, she founded a social start-up. Socialbee helps refugees get a start on the job market. The company not only works with job seekers, but also with companies such as Beiersdorf. Bruhn launched Socialbee with her fellow student Maximilian Felsner in Munich in 2016. The change of heart came a year earlier, when she volunteered to help welcome refugees at Munich Central Station during the refugee crisis.

Socialbee not only focuses on simple jobs in the logistics sector, but also wants to prepare people with previous experience for marketing jobs. More than 1,300 people have found suitable positions. In the OMR podcast, Bruhn recently said that the aim is to become the leading European company in the space. It’s not Bruhn’s only gig either, as she’s been the Commissioner for Social Innovation at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research since 2022. The position was newly created by Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) and Bruhn is tasked with helping to improve the framework conditions for social entrepreneurship.

11. Ski Aggu, Musician

Ski Aggu is a proper phenom. Since notching a viral hit in October 2022 with party track "Party Sahne" (party cream)—which has subsequently been certified gold—he's been flying high. A mainstay in Spotify's Top 50, number 1 singles and records and sold-out tours are just a few of his accolades. He's also amassed quite the engaged following, as evinced by its role in securing the rights to a sample of a well-known bit by legendary German comedian Otto. Not only did the community succeed, but Otto himself voiced and showed his support, appearing in both the music video and performing alongside Ski at Splash, Germany's biggest hip-hop festival.

You’d be hard pressed to find another artist who captures the Berlin lifestyle and zeitgeist of Gen Z as authentically as Ski Aggu does with his lyrics, music videos and social media appearances. Hailing from the Berlin Hinterland of Wilmersdorf, Ski's West Berlin style meshes quips, technique and a laid back flow on lyrics that showcase his genuine lust for life.

12. Hanna Asmussen, Lisa Dahlke & Franzi Löw, Founders Localyze

For a start-up that helps companies send staff abroad, Corona was not exactly a welcome challenge. Now, however, Hanna Asmussen, can admit that there was a silver lining in the pandemic. Today, people are much more aware of how complex the topic of global mobility is— from questions about visas and work permits to the practicalities of relocating. Localyze, a start-up founded by Asmussen, Lisa Dahlke and Franzi Löw in Hamburg in 2018, has developed a platform that maps and helps organize the process every step of the way.

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Localyze founders: Hanna Asmussen, Lisa Dahlke, Franzi Löw

The SaaS start-up was profitable for the first time in 2021 and raised EUR 35m the following year. The founders then switched directly to expansion mode. The US market was opened up in 2023, with the next continent to follow in 2024.

13. Susanne Daubner "Tagesschau"-Presenter

Susanne Daubner has been presenting the most important news at 8PM on the Tagesschau for more than 20 years. However, she’s also become an internet sensation as well. Her soberly presented contributions on the youth words of the year have become a meme, with videos achieving millions of views, for example when she explains the word "cringe" and says with a serious face: "Cringe is the feeling you get when I say: Bro, how fly is the Tagesschau when it uses hip words." She’s become an internet celebrity, although the 62-year-old doesn't have any significant social accounts herself.

14. Torsten Reil, Founder & CEO Helsing

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Torsten Reil, Image: Helsing

For the better part of two decades, Torsten Reil has been working with AI. Not always in as serious a capacity as today, but two decades are two decades. In 2001, the Oxford university dropout founded Natural Motion, which virtualized natural motion sequences for gaming and Hollywood and had a part in many blockbusters such as "Lord of the Rings" and "GTA V". A 527 million dollar exit to Zynga then happened in 2014.

In 2017, Reil left the company and prepared the next venture: Helsing. It is now about anything but games. The start-up co-founded by Reil has been working in Munich since 2021 to increase the combat effectiveness of older tanks, jets and warships using AI. Perfect timing. Since a funding round in autumn 2023, Helsing has been considered Europe's first arms unicorn.

15. Lena Hackelöer, Founder & CEO Brite

Lena Hackelöer is the founder of fintech Brite, which caused a stir at the end of 2023 by raising USD 60m in funding. Founded in 2019, the company enables payments within seconds—without needing to login or use an app. Hackelöer knows her way around the fintech sector; Klarna lured her to Stockholm while she was studying in France.

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Brite founder Lena Hackelöer

This allowed her to be involved early on in the development of what was once Europe's most valuable start-up. She accompanied Klarna's rise for more than six years, where she built up the company’s global B2B marketing efforts and was also responsible for the Sofort brand before leaving. She then got a taste of the stock market at the financial company Qliro, which, like Brite, is based in Stockholm, where Hackelöer resides.

16. Alex Blania, Founder Tools for Humanity / Worldcoin

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Worldcoin co-tinitiator Alex Blania

Alex Blania initiated the Worldcoin project together with OpenAI founder and AI pioneer Sam Altman. Their shared vision is to create a global digital currency to solve the identity problem on the internet. Using so-called orbs, people can have their irises scanned so that they can prove online that they are human. In return, they receive a digital passport called a World ID.

17. Rasmus Rothe & Adrian Locher, Founders Merantix

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Merantix Founder Adrian Locher and Rasmus Rothe (Image: Jan Scholzel)

The hype surrounding anything and everything AI has caused boatloads of action on the VC scene. In 2016, Adrian Locher and Rasmus Rothe founded Merantix, a VC firm, which was specialized in AI start-ups is changing its strategy. Previously active as a venture studio and incubator for AI companies, the Berliners have now launched a EUR 100m fund. Half of the money is reserved for companies from Merantix's existing portfolio, and a further quarter is to flow into the company's own start-ups according to a familiar pattern. However, Merantix has set aside 25 million for external investments. Not a small amount of money, considering that the current Merantix fund is only 35 million euros large.

18. Jessica Jeworutzki, Founder & CEO Brammibals Donuts

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Jessica Jeworutzki, founder & CEO Brammibals Donuts

With Brammibals Donuts, the first vegan donut chain in Europe, Jessica Jeworutzki and her partner Bram von Montfort have fulfilled a dream—and built up a successful business. With bakeries in Berlin and Hamburg, the founding couple now employs a team of 120 people at ten separate locations in the aforementioned German metropolises. Jeworutzki's mission: to positively change the perception of vegan food. The concept is catching on. According to Jeworutzki, their start-up was already profitable in its first year and now generates sales in the millions. 

19. Julia Willecke aka Julia Beautx, Influencer & Actress

As a schoolgirl, Julia Willecke, aka Julia Beautx, wrote in almost every friend's book that she wanted to be a singer or actress. At the age of 14, she started publishing videos on Youtube. Ten years later, she reached her goal. Willecke recently made a name for herself in the ZDF mini-series "Gestern waren wir noch Kinder" (We were still kids yesterday). She was initially only intended for a supporting role, but was so convincing during casting that she landed the lead role. Willecke's also has a successful podcast, which launched in mid-2022. The first live show sold out and will now go on tour around Germany this summer.

20. Marcel Remus, Real Estate Broker and founder Marcel Remus Real Estate

Marcel Remus started out very modestly. As a show rider and riding instructor with an hourly pay of ten euros. Today he turns over millions. Remus is one of the youngest German estate brokers on Mallorca. In 2023, he sold 27 properties worth an average of EUR 5m. For over a decade, Remus has made appearances on German TV shows. Despite his TV celebrity, Remus still goes on cold calls himself, calling it “Business Jogging." He also uses channels such as Instagram, where he has 140,000 followers, to attract potential customers.

21. Tim Stracke, Founder and Chairman of the board Chrono24

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Tim Stracke, founder and chairman Chrono24

Seven years after founding the company, Tim Stracke took over the luxury watch platform Chrono24 together with partners—and subsequently built up a German unicorn. In the last financing round to date in 2021, the marketplace was valued at more than USD 1b. Joining Stracke as an investor is soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The watches are offered by private individuals or dealers, and Stracke and his team ensure that supply and demand match. In January 2024, previous CEOs Stracke and Holger Felgner handed over the reins to former Zalando CEO Carsten Keller, but Stracke remains loyal to Chrono24 as a major shareholder and Chairman of the Board. 

22. Elisabeth L’Orange, Founder Oxolo

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Elisabeth L’Orange, Founder Oxolo

"Produce affordable product and explainer videos from your computer without having to book a studio." That is Oxolo's value proposition. The Hamburg-based start-up uses generative AI, where users can select "artificial humans" as presenters and change details on the fly. According to the company, its 250,000 customers include Deloitte and Rothschild, but also many SMEs, from Amazon retailers to law firms. Elisabeth L'Orange founded the start-up together with serial entrepreneur and investor Heiko Hubertz (Bigpoint, among others) and is the company's external face as Chief Commercial Officer. In October 2023, Oxolo raised EUR 13m in funding from DN Capital and others.

23. Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and their co-founders, The Icon League and Baller League

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Toni Kroos and Mats Hummel (Images: The Icon League, Baller League)

Streamers and soccer. It’s a combination that’s reached a new level after the launch of the Kings League. In 2023, various players have also formed in Germany to develop their own interpretation of an indoor soccer league with a built-in entertainment factor. The first to enter the ring was professional soccer player Mats Hummels, who launched the Baller League together with media manager Thomas De Buhr and film entrepreneur Felix Starck as co-CEOs. At the beginning of November, another German soccer star, Toni Kroos, announced The Icon League together with streaming giant Elias Nerlich. 

24. Dina Reit, CEO SK Laser

Dina Reit is a family entrepreneur and CEO of SK Laser, which manufactures laser machines that can mark, engrave and/or cut surfaces. That sounds like a good old German SME, except that Dina Reit does without the hidden modifier in Hidden Champion. More than 40,000 accounts now follow her on Linkedin, where she shares insights from her daily life. And if you follow her on Instagram, you can see how she lasers Christmas decorations - suspended from a grounding cable.

25. Patrick Dietz & Fabian Huber, Managing Directors Unibev

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Unibev Managing Directors Fabian Huber and Patrick Dietz

Influencer drinks are as ubiquitous to German supermarkets, kiosks and gas stations as chewing gum. Yet one company that helped kick-start the trend was only founded in 2020: Unibev. The managing directors behind it include Patrick Dietz, head of the fruit juice producer of the same name, and Fabian Huber, as well as Steffen Posner, owner of music label Chimperator, and Christian Hymer, heir to the eponymous motorhome brand. With BraTee, Capital Bra's iced tea, the Unibev team coined a new genre and has since proven time and again that it has the right instinct for the extremely dynamic beverage market.

26. Alica Schmidt, Model & Track Athlete

When Alica Schmidt sets off on her 400-meter run, it's not just athletics enthusiasts who are watching. Over the past few years, the 25-year-old has built up a personal brand that goes far beyond the confines of sport. Almost five million people follow her on Instagram and over two million on Tiktok, making Schmidt the German athlete with the widest reach. When she's not competing in national and international competitions or training for them, she sometimes appears on the catwalk for Hugo Boss at fashion shows. Her focus for 2024: the Olympic Games in Paris. And if things go reasonably well there, her follower numbers and brand deals are likely to reach gold medal status.

27. Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer, Co-Founder & CEO Egym

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EGYM Founder Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer

While Corona nearly bankrupted the smart fitness start-up, the summer of 2023 saw the Munich-based company announce a financing round EUR 207m. Egym offers networked fitness equipment and the corresponding software, which can also be integrated with third-party training equipment. This involves apps and diagnostic tools that can be used to track and optimize customers' training. Egym also operates Wellpass, a solution for company mobility that is used by 2.5 million people. Business is booming: Egym planned to double its turnover to around EUR 240m in 2023 and now wants to expand—primarily in the USA. The Munich-based company's medium-term goal is to go public.

28. Janusch & Thomas Lisson, Founders JTL

Brothers Janusch and Thomas Lisson started programming and selling games as students in the 90s. After graduating from high school, they then developed a merchandise management system for a friend who was selling car parts on eBay as a side hustle. It is well received and is recommended to others. JTL initially grows with the success of Ebay, then with Amazon. Today, 50,000 SMEs use the ERP software. Entirely bootstrapped, the Lissons from a small German town, generated over EUR 20m in revenue and EUR 4.4m in profit in 2021. Now the private equity firm HG Capital has acquired a majority stake in JTL for EUR 200m, according to the e-commerce blog Wortfilter. The two brothers previously each held 50 percent of the company.

29. Kajo Hiesl & Vladislav Gachyn, Founders Goldies

For many, there is no topping their Smashburger. Fast food tester Holle (number 45) has also called Goldies in Berlin the best burger in Germany. Founders Kajo Hiesl and Vladislav Gachyn started out in high-end gastronomy and worked for three-star chef Sven Elverfeld at Aqua in Wolfsburg until 2017. In 2017, the duo then launched Goldies—initially only serving fries and now with the smashburgers that are so popular today. Although there were only three locations in Berlin, the Smashburger's flat-pressed patties quickly became a hit. They are now working on a franchise model for all of Germany.

30. Jana Crämer, Authors

In her book "Jana, 39, ungeküsst" (Jana, 39, never been kissed), author Jana Crämer talks openly about a taboo subject: the fact that she has never had a boyfriend—although she is 39. And it's also about her eating disorder. Binge eating eventually led to her weighing over 180 kilos (396 lbs), resulting in bullying and body shaming. Crämer hated her body. Therapy brought about a turnaround. She lost almost 90 kilos and says today: "The only thing you have to be ashamed of is a shitty character." The book became a "Spiegel" bestseller and Tiktok named her "Booktok Author of the Year 2023." Crämer visits schools, writes as a blogger and author and encourages other people. On social media, she is completely open: a naked picture of her has been shared and commented on thousands of times.

31. Vivien Wysocki & Larissa Schmid, Founders Saint Sass

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Saint Sass founders Vivien Wysocki and Larissa Schmid

Wear once, get a run, dispose of and replace. The two Saint Sass founders wanted to break the tights cycle with high-quality products. Vivien Wysocki and Larissa Schmid also gave them statements such as "See you in hell," "God is a woman" and "Allergic to idiots." Founded in 2022, they now have a seven-figure turnover. On social media, the founders of the Berlin brand focus entirely on Instagram and have built up a considerable reach with around 80,000 followers, who they take behind the scenes at the start-up. Their next goal: the US. They already have one prominent customer: Kendall Jenner has ordered three pairs of tights. 

32. Kevin Andreas Teller aka Papaplatte, Twitch Streamer

Kevin Andreas Teller aka Papaplatte has broken several streaming records in recent years. With 46 million hours (!) of watch time on Twitch in 2023, he "only" came fifth among the most-watched German streamers. Nevertheless, in the past year he has proven more than almost anyone else what you can do with an active community. When users were able to design a 1000 x 1000 pixel area for Reddit event r/place, motifs of Papaplatte and his fans were everywhere. With the help of his community, he also solved a kind of treasure hunt for the TV show "Joko & Klaas Live" - the prize money: EUR 1m. And he took part in "7 vs. Wild" on the side. Can Papaplatte top that in 2024?

33. Niklas Tauch & Nils Fischer, Founder Liefergrün

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Liefergrün founder Niklas Tauch (Image: Janine Graubaum)

Anyone in Germany who has ever ordered something from H&M or Zara has most likely had the parcel delivered by Liefergrün. Other customers: Hello Fresh, Adidas, Dyson. Liefergrün, founded three years ago, delivers parcels to end consumers for the "last mile" using electric vans and cargo bikes. Software developed in-house trims the route of the delivery drivers for efficiency: "The stop density is more than five times higher than with express delivery services," founder Niklas Tauch told Handelsblatt. Thus, Liefergrün is able to reduce emissions by 87 percent compared to the current industry standard. The startup raised EUR 12m in its Series A funding at the end of 2022.

34. Belinda Zühlke, Social Media Marketer Aevor

"Belinda, stop filming!" - "I'll film when I want to! If you want someone who has respect for you, you should have hired millennials!" Social media marketer Belinda Zühlke has made her employer, backpack brand Aevor, a household name on Tiktok with such quips. The basic principle: a The Office style telenovella, in which Zühlke documents her day-to-day work and disagreements with her boss and millennial Felix. The shtick has resonated with audiences and led them to remember the backpack brand. "Can we attribute that? No," says Aevor boss Nils Eiteneyer. "But we still have the feeling that it brings us something."

35. Evgenij Zaroznyi aka Boxtoxtv, Youtuber

Until a year ago, Evgenij Zaroznyi was still an unknown tractor mechanic from North Rhine-Westphalia. Today, his YouTube account BoxToxTV has over twelve billion views and more than 16 million subscribers. Zaroznyi comes from Russia, but has lived in Germany since he was twelve. But that doesn't matter for his slapstick videos: Zaroznyi interacts with TV scenes on a giant television next to him. The humor is sophomoric, which, together with the English titles of the clips, is likely to be the key factor in his ridiculous reach story. However, he owes his first taste of social media success to his wife: her Tiktok clip of their baby's "Gender Reveal Party" became a viral success with 300,000 views when Zaroznyi was still working on tractors.

36. Jenny Böhme, Blogger & Founder familienkost.de

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Jenny Böhme, founder familienkost.de (Foto: Paul Glaser)

"What's for dinner today?" It’s a question that has nagged Jenny Böhme every single day since becoming a mother in 2011. Soon after came her second and then her third. "I didn't feel like cooking at all, but it was very important to me that the children ate something healthy," says Böhme. First she started a blog dedicated to baby recipes, before she then launched Familienkost.de. With both, she now reaches a total of six million page views per month. Familienkost.de in particular has an extensive reach: according to the SEO tool Sistrix, the site has doubled its visibility on Google in the past year. Böhme has now self-published eleven books and employs two members of staff.

37. Benny Zaczek, Founder Salesviewer

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Salesviewer founder Benny Zaczek

Benjamin Zaczek decodes anonymous website visitors with his company Salesviewer and helps companies boost B2B sales. He founded the Bochum-based company a few years ago and has since built it up without any external backing. The idea originated from the idea of how to make Zaczek's advertising agency, which he founded in 2004, better known nationwide. The solution was software that was initially called CP Explorer. In 2011, 20 test customers were asked to test the software in secret - only to realize that they had already recommended the tool to 140 people. Zaczek realized that this could work. Today, companies such as Stepstone, Arvato and top-flight German soccer club VfL Wolfsburg are among Salesviewer's customers. 

38. Paulina Krasa & Laura Wohlers, Podcasters "Mordlust"

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Mordlust hosts Paulina Krasa and Laura Wohlers (Image: Nico Wöhrle)

Their success is criminal: in their true crime podcast "Mordlust," journalists Paulina Krasa and Laura Wohlers get to the bottom of real criminal cases from Germany. Since their launch in 2018, the two women have recorded almost 140 podcast episodes. In each episode, they focus on two cases, exploring all their different facets and backgrounds—both criminal and psychological. They talk to experts and invite celebrity guests on the show. Paulina Krasa and Laura Wohlers inspire millions of listeners every month, as well as the audience at their live podcast events. The killer duo will also be going on tour again in 2024 and it is already completely sold out. 

39. Antonia Staab aka RevedTV, Streamer

RevedTV, irl Antonia Staab, was one of the most successful German-speaking Twitch streamers for a long time. In August 2023, she published her last stream—for the time being at least. According to her own statements, she wanted to use the break from streaming to take care of her health, as the 23-year-old suffers from chronic headaches. Since then, however, RevedTV has not disappeared from the scene, but remains active on Tiktok (around 835,000 followers), and Instagram. On YouTube, she Antonia posts reaction videos, competes with other Youtubers in challenges and tests Tiktok gadgets. Her followers love it, and her videos have been liked more than 42.5 million times. 

40. Sebastian Glöckner, Coaching Creator

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Udemy-Star-Creator Sebastian Glöckner

When Sebastian Glöckner wanted to find out how to program iPhone apps on the Internet a few years ago, he came across a much better idea: online courses. Two normal guys selling a course for 69 dollars. "Wow, that's brilliant," he thought at the time, Glöckner told OMR. Then he started creating courses for Excel and project management in his spare time and uploading them to the eLearning platform Udemy. Today, he is the platform's most-successful creator of German-language content and sells 96 courses. With nearly 250,000 people having booked a Glöckner course in the past ten years, he's earned a solid six-figure sum. Not bad for a hobby.

41. Uyen Ninh, Youtuber

What does Germany look like through the eyes of a Vietnamese student? Ask Youtuber Uyen Ninh. A resident of Germany for the past four years as a student in Berlin, she occasionally deals with serious questions, such as how different the image of women and the expectations attached to it are in Vietnam and Germany. Then again, she humorously pokes fun at German idiosyncrasies, presents her difficulties in learning German, shows her enthusiasm for electric shutters or lets her German boyfriend cook her "typical German" meals for a day. With over 1.6 million followers, Uyen Ninh is successful on YouTube and her videos also generate clicks in the millions on Tiktok. 

42. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg & Gregor Gysi, former politicians

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Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg and Gregor Gysi (Image: Tobias Ortmann)

At first glance, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Gregor Gysi could not be more different: One a noble baron from Bavaria who sat in the Bundestag for the CSU and even served as Minister of Defense and Economics. The other is a lawyer from Berlin, who grew up in the GDR and later became one of the defining faces of the PDS and its successor party Die Linke for decades. But the two have a lot in common: an interest in politics, in dialog and, of course, the fact that people are still interested in what they think and say—at least that’s is shown by the podcast produced by Podstars by OMR, "Gysi gegen Guttenberg," which has featured prominently in the German podcast charts since its launch.

43. Anna Thoma aka Anna Antonje, Creator

Six million new followers in just one year: probably no other creator has been able to increase their own reach on Tiktok in the past year like Anna Thoma alias anna.antonje. It all started with the idea of making so-called ASMR videos with food that is healthier than the fast food that is often seen in videos. A clip in which Thoma eats a watermelon with a rind eventually went through the roof. Now she regularly reaches an audience of millions with videos in which she tests trendy vegan foods and recipes. This audience is probably spread all over the world, as she largely limits herself to ASMR-compatible onomatopoeic utterances such as "Mmmhh!" and "Oohh!". 

44. Fabian Beste, Simon Hecker & Christoph Mahlert, founders 4.Screen

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The 4.Screen founders: Fabian Beste, Simon Hecker and Christoph Mahlert

Car manufacturers want to earn money with software in the future. But so far, only others have really succeeded. Take 4.Screen, for example. The start-up founded by Fabian Beste, Simon Hecker and Christoph Mahlert uses the navigation map to display advertising. They call the new channel in-car marketing. It's mostly about coupons and discounts: free coffee in the supermarket, discounted car washes, discounts in parking garages. The customer list includes Shell, Esso and Total gas stations, McDonalds, Burger King, grocers Kaufland and Rewe and Pizzahut. According to co-founder Hecker, 4.Screen works with the majority of car manufacturers. The platform is live in vehicles from Mercedes, Audi, Skoda, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota. In Europe, over 8 million people are reached every day.

45. Holger Schweitering aka Holle21614, Youtuber

For some, kebabs are just one of the many fast-food options available on every street corner in Germany. For others, including Holger Schweitering aka Holle, kebabs are a delicacy. That's why the Youtuber from Germany launched the kebab ranking. He not only inspires his well over 300,000 subscribers—his ratings also determine success or failure in the kebab game. When a new restaurant takes first place after his test, long queues form as a result. Holle's "Michelin Guide for Gen Z" has probably been extremely lucrative for some restaurateurs. His recipe for success: honesty and authenticity. 

46. Jean-Paul Laue & Patrick Schnitzler, Founders Klima&So

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Patrick Schnitzler and Jean-Paul Laue, founders Klima&So

Some blind spots conceal a business idea—like social media being a major CO2 polluter. A stark figure from the pitch video by Berlin start-up Klima&So: a single 20-second viral video on Tiktok causes more CO2 emissions than three and a half typical Germans would in a year. How? Because the required technology, from the server to the smartphone, consumes a ridiculous amount of electricity. Co-founders Jean-Paul Laue and Patrick Schnitzler calculate how much for creators and advertisers with Klima&So—and offer climate neutrality, including a watermark seal for Tiktoks and Insta stories, in exchange for money that goes towards, for example, tree planting projects.

47. Danny Tran, Creator

When watching Danny Tran's videos, you often find yourself saying: There’s no way that’s true. The creator lets perfume dangle from adhesive tape, sprays objects with water, waves textiles around or lets cookies rotate on sticks - and viewers only find out at the end whether the individual scenes can really be put together to create an ingenious product video or result in a total fail. The native of Darmstadt, Germany has collected more than 40 million views on Tiktok. It all started in 2021 with a video in which he parodies the "I asked a stranger if I could take a photo of him" trend. Danny Trans' self-confident shots end up in blurred photos or photos with the wrong focus. A fail - which fueled his stellar career.

48. Shirli aka How2Shirli, Tiktoker

The single "9 bis 9" by Mira, Badchieff and Bausa was released on May 5, 2023, but after entering the charts at number 79, the track disappeared directly from the top 100 a week later. Nobody thought it would be a big hit. Then, a few weeks later, Tiktok comedian Shirli used a much faster version of the song for one of her videos. It wasn’t only a hit for her three million followers: "9 to 9 Sped up" quickly went viral on the platform; Mira, Badchieff and Bausa released the track as the "Shirli Version" on Spotify & Co. The song has had almost 30 million views to date. And helped the original to a belated but huge chart success and six weeks at number 1. 

49. Malte Zierden, Influencer

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Malte Zierden

With 740k Instagram followers and 1.1 million followers on Tiktok, Zierden could in fact be considered an influencer. However, he sees himself as an anti-influencer who does not primarily use his reach for advertising purposes, but for education. His current passion: animal welfare. A fundraising campaign in his community has raised 200,000 euros for the construction of an animal shelter in Greece. Zierden's social media career began with a cleft palate operation, which he documented realistically and bloodily on Instagram and Tiktok. What remains is the sharp pronunciation of the letter "S," Zierden's trademark, as well as many thousands of followers who follow him and his sidekick pigeon Oßkar, who lives on his windowsill.

50. Alex Richter, Butcher & Influencer, Spezi-Metzgerei

While Tiktok success for craftsmen is not entirely a rarity, Alex Richter still manages to stand out. The master butcher embraced his meme-ness and has generated 1.5 million likes so far. He shouts his trademark phrase "Moin aus der Spezi-Metzgerei" (Welcome to the Spezi Metzgerei) at the beginning of each clip, before focusing in on the star of the show: The meat. Richter’s butcher shop has become a place of pilgrimage for many, with a handful of fans making the trek to the shop in Lower saxony daily for a selfie and a sausage.

This is the end of our OMR50 list of 2024. Will you be on it next year? If you want to take a look who was part of it in the years before, check out the lists from 2023, 2022, 2021 and 2020.

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Scott Peterson
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