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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

e-Spirit Inc., maker of the FirstSpirit Content Experience Hub, today announced that it exceeded all 2016 goals, and has had the biggest quarter in the company’s history in Q1 2017. e-Spirit expects this growth trajectory to continue throughout 2017 largely due to demand for its new content-as-a-service solution FirstSpirit CaaS, its rapidly growing cloud business, growth in North America, as well as strong license and service revenues in Central Europe. New customer development More than 20 new customers selected the FirstSpirit Content Experience Hub in 2016, including fashion retail groups such as ECCO and CBR Fashion Group brands including Street One and Cecil, as well as KfW Bankengruppe, Ernst Klett Verlag, Wilo, and other international trading, insurance and industrial enterprises. "In 2016 e-Spirit had two of the best performing quarters in the company's history and we’re very pleased that momentum is continuing in 2017 with a banner first quarter,” says Udo Sträßer, chief revenue officer at e-Spirit. "I would like to thank all our customers and partners for their confidence and loyalty, and I especially would like to thank all of my colleagues at e-Spirit who have made these outstanding results possible through their commitment and passion." In 2016, e-Spirit launched a strategic change process which is supported by three pillars: the transparent management of the company, the adaptation of the product strategy and a focus on the creation of value added by the customer. Specific measures taken include a reorganization of sales with the formation of cross-functional performance teams, and the company-wide introduction of Kanban as a methodology used to create transparency, optimize processes, and thus produce faster results. Other notable change initiatives include the product development team’s transition to trunk-based development and shorter incremental release cycles that create continuous value for the customer. "With the many minor and major improvement measures taken last year, we are now fit and more agile and plan to continuously optimize our solutions and processes to enable other areas of growth that we will invest heavily in this year," said Jörn Bodemann, chief executive officer at e-Spirit. The company invested significantly in research and development in 2017 already, and plans to create some 40 new jobs in order to further product innovation and realize its potential. "The extremely positive response to our content-as-a-service solution confirms our commitment to pursuing the path to further developing FirstSpirit into a world class content experience platform," added Bodemann. About e-Spirit e-Spirit changes the way companies in every sector monetize their content. It is a leader in enabling companies to unlock the value of digital content and transform the way they communicate with customers and employees. FirstSpirit combines all systems, applications, data and content into a central content experience hub that helps customers create engaging customer experiences. It gives companies the infrastructure needed to efficiently supply increasingly large quantities of personalized content for a growing number of channels and touchpoints along the customer journey, allowing them to systematically reach customers worldwide. With FirstSpirit, FirstSpirit Cloud and FirstSpirit CaaS, e-Spirit offers users diverse solutions for significantly accelerating the time-to-market of their communication for products and brands and rolling out digital marketing measures target group specific and in real time. e-Spirit was founded in 1999, is part of the adesso Group and has offices in 16 locations in the US, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. Customers include international brands and corporations such as L’Oréal Luxe, BASF, Bosch, Commerzbank, EDEKA, MAN, Media-Saturn and many others. http://www.e-Spirit.com


Stiebale J.,Westphalian Institute for Economic Research | Reize F.,KfW Bankengruppe
International Journal of Industrial Organization | Year: 2011

This paper analyzes the effects of cross-border mergers and acquisitions on innovation activities in target firms. The empirical analysis is based on survey and ownership data for a large sample of small- and medium-sized German firms. After controlling for endogeneity and selection bias, we find that foreign acquisitions have a large negative impact on the propensity to perform innovation activities and a negative impact on average R&D expenditures in innovative firms. Furthermore, innovation output, measured as product and process innovations, and the share of sales from product innovations, is not significantly affected by a foreign acquisition for a given amount of innovation efforts. Hence, the estimation results do not provide any evidence of significant technology transfer through foreign acquisitions in form of a higher innovation success. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


News Article | January 4, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

It was predicted that up to 16,000 energy storage systems could be installed in Germany during 2015. However, an incentive program for battery storage there which started up in 2013 was set to cease operations on the last day of the same year. It was therefore expected that the German energy storage market growth would contract in 2016, and significantly. Surveyed German consumers expressed reservations over the extra cost of energy storage on top of what they would pay for a solar power system. “These concerns might increase in light of the expiring KfW funding. The issue of the funding is obviously much discussed these days. Our head of economics Mr. Martin Ammon has calculated that in 2016 storage market growth will drop to 13 per cent,” explained a spokesperson for a company named EuPD Research. Wolfram Schweickhardt, a KfW spokesperson, said 5,000 energy storage + solar systems were installed in 2013 (when government funding for energy storage systems started), 9,000 were installed in 2014, and 15,000–16,000 would be installed in 2015. In fact, energy storage and renewable energy are very complementary, so it is only reasonable that a government that supports solar and wind power might provide incentives for the adoption of energy storage, too. An energy storage and management project in a region of German is receiving tens of millions of Euros to make the local grid more intelligent and to provide support for renewable energy there. “The success of the energy turnaround will entirely depend on integrating electricity from renewable sources into our energy system on a reliable, permanent basis. The energy system needs to become more flexible overall, and solar and wind power generation must be more decoupled from grid feed-in. Energy storage technologies have a major part to play here. Through this new programme we’re helping to bring small energy storage units onto the market and improve their market penetration, so that prices should fall as their use increases,” said Dr Axel Nawrath, a KfW Bankengruppe Executive Board member. It’s fascinating to see Germany getting ahead of many other nations in the areas of renewable energy and energy storage, and how that is playing out. It would also be intriguing to find out if anyone has done an ROI analysis to determine the effectiveness of the KfW program — specifically, to see how much it did or did not help seed the energy storage market for the years it was in operation and afterwards. Image Credit: Kid Alex, Wiki Commons    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


CleanTechnica keeps on publishing some of The Beam interviews twice a week. The Beam magazine takes a modern perspective on the energy transition, interviewing inspirational people from around the world that shape our sustainable energy future. This week Anne-Sophie Garrigou, journalist at The Beam, interviewed Andreas Kuhlmann, Chief Executive of the German Energy Agency (dena) since 2015. Andreas Kuhlmann talks about Germany’s Energiewende and dena’s new initiative, the “Start Up Energy Transition” that, in his words, aims to “bring pioneers and enablers of global energy transition together, and to establish an international network of companies, start-ups and sustainability-conscious organisation.” Hello Andreas Kuhlmann and thank you for taking the time to meet us today. You have been the Chief Executive of dena since 2015. How did you find yourself in this position? What is your story? I started working at dena in July 2015, and I was very excited to get this opportunity. Climate change and the energy transition have always been important topics for me: fascinating challenges, everything but easy. Working for dena is a chance to really focus on concrete projects and burning questions at the interface between politics and the economy. And there’s a great team here at dena. I myself am a physicist. I worked on carbon cycle issues and, as a student, I measured CO2 from a clean air station in Alert, Canada. I remember figures [at] around 350 ppm. Now we are above 400. A graph with this climate change fever curve hangs in my office — just to remind everybody that something really is going on. My grandfather worked underground — ‘unter Tage’, as we say in German — in a coal mine in the Ruhr district. My father worked as an electrician. And now I have the chance to be part of history, shaping the energy transition with dena. Before this, I was Head of Strategy and Politics at the German Association of Energy and Water (BDEW). And before that, I was able to gather a lot of experience in different positions — in Brussels, at the German Bundestag, and in government. I also worked at the German Embassy in Stockholm for two years. A great city, nowadays even for startups. For our readers who are not from Germany, or who don’t know about it, can you explain what the ‘Energiewende’ is, and why it is so important? Is there really anyone out there who doesn’t know about the Energiewende? Then we really have to work harder at telling people about it (just kidding!) The word ‘Energiewende’ refers to a major change in our energy system. It started at some point in the 1990s, when a few people had the idea of producing energy from wind and solar power instead of nuclear. A real push came around 2000. Germany passed the feed-in tariff law known as the Renewable Energy Sources Act , which made it much easier to connect alternative electricity to the grid. At the same time, Germany decided to abandon nuclear power for the first time. So, in the beginning, the energy transition was mainly about taking wind and solar power out of their niche, and getting rid of nuclear power. We started with about 5 per cent renewable energy in the electricity sector, based on hydropower. Now we are at about 35 per cent! But things are changing. The Energiewende — or let’s rather say ‘energy transition’ — is in transition itself. Wind and solar have grown up and bringing more of them into the grid is still important. But the really innovative and interesting question today is: how do we get all these decentralised components connected and make something really smart out of it? Digitalisation and decentralisation are the driving forces. More and more smart companies and smart ideas are springing up. Fascinating! A good place to be. In other words: if you’re smart, come to the country of energy transition! Or work on the energy transition in any of the other countries, all over the world, who signed the Paris Agreement. What is the role of dena in helping to achieve the energy transition? Unlike other national agencies, we are a company, not an administrative body. Our shareholders include the government, but also partners from the financial sector, such as KfW Bankengruppe. We identify important issues and trends in energy transition, and work on studies and projects with all kind of stakeholders in Germany and abroad, especially in China. In general, our main concerns are energy efficiency in all sectors, and systemic issues related to the energy transition. We are currently focusing very strongly on innovation in energy transition. We want to show that there are major changes and new opportunities ahead. We can see very interesting new players and business models in the energy transition. And we want to help develop the right conditions to make them successful. That’s why we’ve just started a global project: Start Up Energy Transition. A global startup award that aims to create a global network focussing on innovation in energy transition. More than 70 partners from more than 20 countries are already supporting this project. If you want to know more, visit startup-energy-transition.com. Subscribe to The Beam here. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Weber R.,University of Gottingen | Weber R.,KfW Bankengruppe | Musshoff O.,University of Gottingen
Agricultural Finance Review | Year: 2013

Purpose – Using a unique dataset of a commercial microfinance institution (MFI) in Madagascar, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how credit access probabilities and loan volume rationing magnitudes for farmers change if the MFI switches to offer flexible microfinance loans, which can account for agricultural production specifics. Design/methodology/approach – The authors estimate probit models for the probability of receiving a loan and Heckman models to investigate the magnitude of volume rationing for all micro loan applications and disbursements of the MFI, differentiating between farmers with standard microfinance loans and farmers with flexible microfinance loans. Findings – The results reveal that agricultural firms with flexible microfinance loans have significantly higher credit access probabilities than non-agricultural firms and agricultural firms with standard microfinance loans. Furthermore, it was found that agricultural firms with flexible microfinance loans are stronger volume rationed than non-agricultural firms and agricultural firms with standard microfinance loans. Research limitations/implications – Even if the authors can show that access to credit for agricultural firms in Madagascar can be enhanced by the provisioning of flexible microfinance loans, the investigated MFI only introduced flexible microfinance loans in 2011 and currently only offers them through five branch offices. Thus, the product is new to the MFI, and results might change with increasing outreach to other geographic regions in Madagascar. Furthermore, the conditions for agricultural production in Madagascar are unique, and the results might change in different country contexts. Practical implications – The paper’s findings suggest that flexible microfinance loans can contribute to the financial inclusion of farmers with seasonal production types. They also suggest that standard microfinance loans seem to be adequate for farmers with less seasonal production types, e.g. animal husbandry. Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper to investigate the effects of flexible microfinance loan provision for credit access of small agricultural firms in developing countries in general, and in Madagascar in particular. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


News Article | January 18, 2011
Site: techcrunch.com

Sones, developer of the GraphDB graph database, has raised a ‘couple of millions’ of euros to expand its cloud computing business and open source community. Investors include KfW Bankengruppe, the early stage venture capital fund of Saxony, and T-Venture, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom. Back in 2008, sones had already landed an undisclosed amount of seed capital from T-Venture. GraphDB supplements traditional relational databases and is currently available as a scalable cloud solution from Microsoft Azure and the Amazon Cloud. Basically, the technology is designed to bring together and link data from various SQL databases, enabling entirely new business applications. Sones is said to be recruiting new developers, marketing and sales folks. It will also open its new head office in Leipzig in January. According to Market Research Media, the NoSQL market is expected to generate $5.6 billion in revenue by 2015.


News Article | February 17, 2011
Site: techcrunch.com

Sones, developer of the GraphDB graph database, which operates in the so-called NoSQL space, has appointed a new Managing Director and CEO: Richard Doll joins from Novell where he spent 4 years, most recently as Director of ISV Ecosystem and Channel for the Linux Business Unit. Aside from Novell he has held “leading positions” in various U.S. and German companies including FAST, InterMediaSolutions and DAVID Systems. Although a native-German, Doll will be relocating from Boston Massachusetts to take up his new position in Leipzig, Germany. He’ll be charged with increasing software sales and the company’s partner program via its Commercial Open Source Strategy, while his appointment is said to have the backing of Sones’ three founders Alexander Oelling, Manager New Business Development; Daniel Kirstenpfad, Software Development, CTO; and Mauricio Matthesius, CFO. Sones’ GraphDB supplements traditional relational databases and is currently available as a cloud solution from Microsoft Azure and the Amazon Cloud. It links complex, unstructured data together in a way that makes it more scalable, hence the NoSQL (Not only SQL) reference. In January of this year, the German startup raised a ‘couple of millions’ of euros to expand its cloud computing business and open source community. Investors include KfW Bankengruppe, the early stage venture capital fund of Saxony, and T-Venture, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom. Back in 2008, sones had already landed an undisclosed amount of seed capital from T-Venture.


News Article | June 17, 2015
Site: venturevillage.eu

The German outdoor advertising company Störer acquired 90 percent of the marketing startup Regiohelden which focusses on SEO marketing for regional companies. The other 10 percent stay with the founders. Former investors include Schwarzwälder Bote, Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Mountain Partners, and KfW Bankengruppe . Together they invested at least €8 million. Details of the deal remain undisclosed. [Gründerszene] (German) Crowdinvesting, real estate, neo-investing: Berlin-based investment platform Bergfürst has tried many things. The last news were that it got a banking license. That, however, is now being returned. Reason for it is way more administrative work, CEO Guido Sandler explained. [Gründerszene] (German) All images in this article are subject to the Creative-Commons-Lizenz (credit - no editing, CC BY-ND , link to the legally-binding license agreement). Excluded are pictures that are labelled differently, including from Panthermedia, Fotolia, Pixelio, Morguefile, along with press photos or publishers' own visual material.


News Article | December 15, 2014
Site: venturevillage.eu

How much do employees in German startups make, blinq from Switzerland, SoundCloud’s new feature, €4 Million investment for WeSustain, and investment for Little Bird. Depending on the size of the startup, the funding, and the sector, startups pay their employees differently. Here are the details: [VentureVillage] Blinq is using beacon proximity technology to connect singles. The service is running tests in Zurich and plans to launch in Munich in January 2015 with more cities in Austria and Germany to come later that year. [TechCrunch] SoundCloud wants to make it easier to let users access all their playlists and favorites in one place, as well as keep up to date with the newest releases from their favorite artists. [thenextweb] Based in Buxtehude, WeSustain raised about €4 Million. Besides former investors such as HTGF, MBF, and KfW Bankengruppe  a new member joined: Cleantech investor VNT Management. WeSustain’s software makes sustainability management easy by e.g. reducing the complexity of collecting data. [Gründerszene] (German) Berlin-based Little Bird does not want to mention the amount of investment but did receive funding from Social Venture Fonds Ananda Ventures. It will be mostly use to hire more staff. [Gründerszene] (German) All images in this article are subject to the Creative-Commons-Lizenz (credit - no editing, CC BY-ND , link to the legally-binding license agreement). Excluded are pictures that are labelled differently, including from Panthermedia, Fotolia, Pixelio, Morguefile, along with press photos or publishers' own visual material.


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