In just a few weeks’ time in early 2019, Alibaba made some big investments in German startups. In January, the Chinese e-commerce giant paid a reported EUR 90 million to purchase Data Artisans, a Berlin-based software startup that provides distributed systems and large-scale data-streaming services for enterprises. Then, in February, Alibaba was among a group of investors that helped the company KONUX raise USD 13 million in an extension of an earlier Series B financing round.
Founded in 2014 by three students at the Technical University of Munich, KONUX has developed intelligent sensors that are attached to railway switches and use artificial intelligence to detect at an early stage whether they need to be serviced, thereby preventing railway cancellations and delays caused by switch malfunctions. The Munich-based startup currently works with the German railway company Deutsche Bahn and Swedish Rail.
“With the new investments […] we have an even stronger financial position to expand our product portfolio development and accelerate our international market expansion, including expansion into China,” said KONUX co-founder and CEO Andreas Kunze in a statement, adding, “China is the world’s largest and fastest-growing railway market and thus crucial for us.”
Since its founding in 2014, KONUX has collected a total of EUR 45 million (USD 51 million) from investors around the globe and won multiple awards, including ones from the World Economic Forum and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.