Daily news bulletin on German startups

Top stories from the week: Sales of audiobooks online are up 12% year-on-year according to Bitkom; targeted advertising tool Mashero got growth funding from the IBB and Berliner Sparkasse; Frankfurt middleware developer dextrose was taken over by Zynga; Microsoft is reportedly close to taking over city mapper Stadtplandienst; and Netbiscuits has signed a deal with Samsung to provide apps for the Korean giant’s smartphones.

Audiobook downloads up 12 percent

audiobooks germany 2010 bitkomAround a million audio books are expected to be downloaded in 2010 by German internet users, according to research for industry group Bitkom by GfK. Germans downloaded 470,000 audio books In the first half of 2010, audio book downloads were up 12 percent year-on-year to €470,000, with revenues up 17 percent from 2009 to 4.7 million, and audio books selling for an average €9,90. As demand increases Bitkom said it expects that the average price per audio book will fall.

Mashero, IBB, Investitionsbank Berlin, Berliner Sparkasse, Targeting-Anbieter,Mashero, which has developed a web tool for targeted advertising online, has received institutional growth financing from the Investment Bank Berlin and the Berliner Sparkasse. Together the IBB and the Sparkasse invested a six-figure euro sum in Mashero, with the IBB funding coming via its ProFIT programme to support innovation and technology in the Berlin startup scene. With Mashero, online ads can be adapted to different audience segments in real time.

Zynga completes takeover of dextrose

Dextrose, Zynga, MiddlewareThe world’s largest social games maker Zynga (Farmville, Mafia Wars) has acquired the Frankfurt startup dextrose, a small company that has created middleware for browser game development. According to Deutsche Startups, founder Rocco Di Leo will head up the all-new Zynga subsidiary, Zynga Game Germany GmbH, while Paul Bakaus will continue as CTO responsible for software development.

SoundCloud releases social app

SoundCloud, Audio-DienstThe online audio platform SoundCloud has released  an open source app calledSoundCloud Social that will give musicians using the service a currency other than hard cash for their efforts. Music creators can embed the app on their website to make users “pay” for downloads in the form of tweets, Diggs or status updates on Facebook. Once published, the download link will be activated for the user. Thus, while no money is changing hands, musicians “earn” the next best thing: kudos on the social networks.

Stadtplandienst.de a target for Microsoft

microsoft standtplandienstMicrosoft is understood to be  in advanced takeover talks with the German online city map platform Stadtplandienst.de, according to Wirtschaftswoche. Citing unnamed sources close to the talks,  the paper said there was around a 65 percent chance that the takeover would go ahead although the likely dollar value of the deal was not known.

Netbiscuits inks deal with Samsung

Netbiscuits, SamsungThe Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics has contracted the Kaiserslautern-based company Netbiscuits to provide apps for its smartphones. Netbiscuits claims to be the world’s leading cloud software service for the development of mobile sites and apps. According to a press release, the deal will see Netbiscuits developing several apps for Samsung’s mobile operating system “bada”, which smartphones like the Samsung Wave run on.