Whether for premises, start-up, equipment or personnel - costs are incurred on the way to a successful start-up. There is now a wide range of different financing options for founders. However, not every model is suitable for every start-up project. You should therefore carefully weigh up the opportunities and risks of each type of financing in advance.

Governmental Support Programs

Governmental Support Programs

To support start-up projects in the difficult initial phase, there are government funding programs for technology-oriented start-up projects. The TUM start-up consultancy evaluates together with you whether the application requirements for various funding programs are met and supports you in your application.

You can find an overview of government funding programs in the funding database of the Federal Ministryfor Economic Affairs and Energy.

The EXIST Start-Up Grant is a nationwide funding program that supports innovative start-ups from universities and non-university research institutions in the early stages. The EXIST Start-Up Grant supports the development of a product or service idea and the preparation of a business plan until the company is founded.

Who is supported?

  • Scientists from universities and non-university research institutions
  • University graduates or former research assistants (up to five years after graduation or retirement)
  • Students as part of a founding team who have completed at least half of their studies at the time of application.
  • Start-up teams of up to a maximum of three people. One of the team members may have a qualified professional degree or a university degree from more than five years ago.

What is supported?

  • Innovative technology-oriented start-up projects
  • Innovative products with high customer benefit, which are based on scientific findings and are expected to have unique selling points on the market.

How is it supported?

  • Maximum funding period one year.
  • Securing of personal living expenses via a stipend depending on graduation: graduates with a doctorate 3,000 euros/month
  • Graduates with a university degree 2,500 euros/month - team members with a recognized professional qualification 2,000 euros/month - students 1,000 euros/month - Child supplement 150 euros/month per dependent child in Germany - material expenses up to 10,000 euros for individual start-ups (maximum 30,000 euros for teams)
  • Start-up-related coaching in the amount of 5,000 euros.

When can the grant be applied for?

  • Project outlines can be submitted monthly to the Project Management Agency Jülich (PtJ) commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
  • The submission of project outlines and applications takes place via the TUM start-up consultancy. Idea papers must be received by the responsible person in the start-up consultancy at least 6 weeks before submission.


More information about the EXIST Start-Up Grant

Deadlines EXIST GS 2022

EXIST Research Transfer is a nationwide funding program aimed at increasing the number of particularly sophisticated technology-oriented start-ups from universities and non-university research institutions. EXIST Research Transfer supplements the broadly effective EXIST start-up grant with a special excellence-oriented measure for high-tech start-ups.

Who is supported?

Funding Stage I:

  • For research teams at universities and research institutions (maximum three scientists, one of whom can be a technician or laboratory assistant).
  • In addition, one further person with business management expertise. Applications for Funding Stage I must be submitted via the respective university or non-university research institution at which the research teams are located.

Funding Stage II:

  • For technology-oriented companies founded in the course of or as a result of Funding stage I.
  • The application for Funding stage II is made by the company founded or in the process of being founded in Funding stage I.

What is supported?

Funding Stage I:

  • For technically particularly demanding start-up projects with long development times to prove technical feasibility in principle.The preparation of a business plan for the implementation of the business idea and the preparation of the company foundation.

Funding Stage II:

  • For development work to turn the business idea into a marketable product and measures to start business operations.

How is it supported?

Funding stage I and Funding stage II each have a regular funding period of 18 months. For highly innovative projects, phase I can be extended to up to 36 months.

Funding Stage I:

  • Personnel expenses
  • Non-personnel expenses of up to 250,000 euros for commodities, consumables, capital goods, industrial property rights, market research and the awarding of contracts and coaching measures.

Funding Stage II:

  • Start-up grant of a maximum of 180,000 euros, but no more than 75 percent of the project-specific costs

When can the grant be applied for?

  • Project outlines can be submitted to the Project Management Agency Jülich (PtJ) commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the period from January 1 to 31 and from July 1 to 31 of each calendar year.
  • Project outlines and applications are submitted via the TUM start-up consultancy. Please note the submission deadline for the 1st draft application: May 15 or November 15.

More information on EXIST research transfer.

With FLÜGGE, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts supports graduates and university employees with innovative start-up ideas for a maximum of 12 months. The funding includes a stipend (for TUM collaborators additionally a continued employment to the extent of half a position at the university) and the shared use of university resources (e.g. offices, laboratories) as well as material resources. Please check the Flügge Bayern website for the exact submission deadline.

What can be supported?

The phase before and at the beginning of an innovative start-up, in particular the development of marketable innovative products and business models as well as making the start-up ready.

Specifically, this includes supporting those willing to start up,

  1. in securing their innovative, also digital business model, which could lead to a sustainable business start-up
  2. who have not been able to complete their start-up project within the framework of Exist funding due to particular technological challenges and have not yet been able to establish a company
  3. whose technologically innovative, challenging and high-risk project was denied funding in the "Exist Start-Up Grant" program

Projects can be considered that

  • go beyond the state of the art or, in the case of digital business models, are sufficiently new,
  • have clear unique selling points,
  • have sufficient connectivity (positive continuation prognosis).

How is it supported?

  • Scholarship for start-ups: €2,500 per month plus €150 per dependent child
  • Assumption of material expenses of the university: up to 50 % of the awarded scholarships of the respective project

What are the requirements?


  • Must be part of a startup support network
  • Appoints a mentor
  • Provides necessary resources (labs, workshops, rooms, data centers, and other infrastructure) free of charge to those interested in starting a business.
  • Manages the funding


  • Must be a member of the applicant university.
  • If they are employed by the university, this employment may not exceed 50% of their time at the university
  • If they are still students and do not yet have a bachelor's degree, they must have completed at least half of the standard period of study and, if applicable, the mandatory practical/abroad semester
  • Teams consisting mainly of students without a bachelor's degree can only be supported in exceptional cases.
  • At least one applicant must be the owner or co-owner of the usage/protection rights.
  • Are responsible for their own social security and other contributions

Projects are not supported that

  • have already been started prior to the decision on the university's application
  • are carried out on behalf of and for the account of third parties

Who can submit an application?

Bavarian state universities in Bavaria. Submissions are made via the technology transfer offices or the technology transfer officers.

Further information about FLÜGGE Bavaria.

The BMBF funding measure GO-Bio supports researchers with innovative ideas from the life sciences who are willing to start a business. It creates the best conditions for a successful step from the laboratory to industry.

Many good ideas arise during scientific research work, but it is often a long and costly process before an idea becomes a marketable product. With the biotechnology start-up campaign, GO-Bio for short, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports research teams in the life sciences that are willing to start up.

Who is supported?

The GO-Bio funding initiative is aimed at research teams with:

  • Younger scientists* who are already experienced in research
  • People with several years of experience in research and business development
  • Physicians with several years of clinical experience

What is supported?

  • The project ideas should include research approaches from the life sciences with high commercial or clinical innovation potential and be geared towards economic use. The range of topics is deliberately broad (for more information, see "current call for proposals").
  • The electronic application system "easy-Online" must be used to prepare project outlines and funding applications. A jury of experts will then evaluate the project ideas submitted in a two-stage selection process.

Two funding stages

GO-Bio funding is provided in two phases, each lasting a maximum of three years:

  • In the first funding stage, the application potential is worked out and evaluated by the teams. This phase is in the academic field, but preparatory measures for a company start-up are already taking place. This is accompanied by the development of concrete commercialization strategies for further implementation on the basis of the scientific results.
  • In the second funding stage, which will be decided upon after an interim evaluation, these strategies will be transferred to commercial exploitation. The recipients of the funding are the companies that have been founded, which must provide private-sector co-financing as an important prerequisite for funding.

Conveyor volume

As a rule, the BMBF provides between 15 and 30 million euros for each funding round. The amount of funding per project depends on the individual project content. In addition, the spin-off universities and research institutions can receive up to 350,000 euros for measures to strengthen technology transfer if a GO-Bio project has been successfully transferred to the second funding phase.


Further information about GO-Bio

With the funding measure GO-Bio initial, the BMBF supports the identification and development of early life science research approaches with recognizable innovation potential. Within the framework of the project processing, a degree of maturity of the research results is to be achieved that enables a continuation in other established funding programs of the validation, start-up and company cooperation funding, such as VIP+, EXIST research transfer, KMU-innovativ or GO-Bio. The overriding goal is thus the seamless transfer of promising ideas into application.


Project outlines can be submitted once a year, each year by February 15.

Who is supported?

Applicants, leaders, or team members of the funded research projects are especially people who are in a phase of professional orientation or reorientation, i.e., on the one hand, master's students, doctoral students, or postdocs who can imagine a career away from the classical science system (e.g., in a spin-off company or industry), and on the other hand, professionally experienced people who want to take another chance on something new.

What is supported?

The object of funding is the identification and further development of life science exploitation ideas, preferably from the fields of "therapeutics", "diagnostics", "platform technologies" and "research tools", from their conceptual design to the verification of feasibility and possible exploitation options.

How is it supported?

GO-Bio-initial funding is provided in two phases.  

In the exploratory phase, a potential exploitation idea is to be elaborated on the basis of initial scientific findings, an implementation strategy is to be developed and the necessary partners are to be identified. In this phase, which is primarily conceptual in nature, funding is provided exclusively for individual projects at universities or non-university research institutions with a duration of up to 12 months.

In the subsequent feasibility phase, development work is then to be carried out up to the "proof of principle" stage. Individual and joint projects with a duration of up to 24 months are funded. Companies can be involved in the feasibility projects as associated partners.

Further information about GO-Bio initital

Business Angel & Venture Capital Financing

Venture capital companies are companies that invest in young companies, usually through a venture capital fund. VC funds often focus on one or more industries. By contributing capital, the VC usually becomes a co-partner with all the associated rights and obligations. In addition to capital, VC companies usually also bring in-depth industry knowledge and management expertise to the invested company.

While VC funds are primarily considered as a source of finance for companies that have already been founded, business angels can usually be won over for financial support much earlier in the founding process. Although VCs offer more capital, they often do not provide as intensive advice as a business angel. Young entrepreneurs can share in the wealth of experience of business angels and use their networks and contacts, which can often prove much more valuable in the early start-up phase than pure capital.

UnternehmerTUM's venture capital fund invests in start-ups in the fields of information and communications technology (ICT), medical technology and CleanTech. The aim is to build growth-oriented companies from forward-looking technologies and to position them successfully in global markets. The UnternehmerTUM Fund invests in technology-based start-ups from all over Germany at an early stage.

Further information:

The Initiative for Industrial Innovators is a European initiative to support early-stage teams and start-ups. It supports start-ups and student teams with industrial technologies and enterprise software, primarily in the areas of IoT / Robotics, AI / VR and SynBio / MedTech. The initiative aims to fund up to 2,000 disruptive technology solutions by 2024. Prototyping grants of up to EUR 10,000 and pre-seed capital between EUR 50,000 to EUR 1 million will be awarded.

More information:

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) brings startups and private investors together with its INVEST funding program. The funding program mobilizes more private venture capital from business angels and thus helps startups find an investor more easily. INVEST funding consists of an acquisition grant and an additional exit grant.With the acquisition grant, business angels receive a tax-free refund of 20 percent of their investment if they invest at least 10,000 euros in venture capital in start-ups. In addition, the excess grant can also be used to reimburse taxes on profits from the investments on a flat-rate basis.

More information on prerequisites and funding conditions

The Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (BAND) is the umbrella organization of all business angel networks in Germany and a good place to start when looking for a suitable business angel for your own start-up project.

Search for Business Angels

Many venture capital funds in Germany are organized in the Bundesverband deutscher Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaften (BVK e.V.). BVK e.V. offers a search based on investment criteria within its member database.

Search for equity capital


For a number of start-up projects, it is advisable to take advantage of the funding opportunities for start-ups. The KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau), for example, offers start-up money for start-up projects. The federal government, the states, municipalities and the European Union also offer funding opportunities or guarantees for loans. A guarantee means that the loan is granted by the bank and the funding agency pledges to fully or partially guarantee the loan in case of loss. This type of loan is called a subsidized loan. Banks prefer this type of lending because the risk to them is mitigated. There are a large number of subsidy agencies for this house bank principle. The different subsidies can be combined in some cases.


Do you have any further questions?

Have a look at our FAQ section or contact our employees personally.

TUMentrepreneurship – TUM ForTe - Forschungsförderung & Technologietransfer
Technical University of Munich, Arcisstr. 21, 80333 Munich, Germany – Phone +49 (0)89-289-25236