Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz visits Polyteia

Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz today visited the GovTech startup Polyteia in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In conversation, the Finance Minister exchanged views with the Polyteia team on the growing importance of startups developing digital solutions for public administration. The sector known as “GovTech” (Government Technology) is considered a growth market in Europe and promises great potential for the digital transformation of politics and administration.

Faruk Tuncer, CEO of Polyteia, gave the federal minister a demonstration of the intelligent control platform that brings together data and prepares it for decision-makers in cities and municipalities. Faruk Tuncer and his team of experts in IT, data integration and analysis founded Polyteia because they saw a lot of potential for more effective municipal public services in better use of administrative data. The smart Polyteia solution breaks data out of the silos of various software systems, Excel spreadsheets and files and makes it usable for mayors, treasurers or council members in municipalities. The decision-makers can thus control based on data, communicate more effectively within the administration or in the council and have figures at hand to be able to argue competently on various topics at any time.

The Polyteia management team told Finance Minister Scholz from their own experience as a startup how digitization is progressing in Germany. For example, he said, there are more than 10,000 municipalities that are facing major challenges in digitizing their administrative services for citizens, partly in view of the Online Access Act. Equally, he said, this also means putting evolved internal processes to the test. “In many municipalities, the data has so far been used hardly at all or with little effectiveness. In addition, compiling and preparing data in Excel spreadsheets consumes a lot of time and resources,” says Faruk Tuncer. Nevertheless, there are many employees in city halls who stick to such processes.

“There are many bold and innovative administrations in Germany that are open to greater digital use of data.”

— Faruk Tuncer
CEO Polyteia

In order to develop effective digital solutions for citizens and administrative staff, startups like Polyteia need access to data and processes that are often located in specialized procedures at public data centers. With some partners, productive partnerships have already developed here, from which both sides benefit. In other cases, the data integration processes are more protracted. To promote innovation, it is particularly important here to provide better access to the data of cities and municipalities via standardized interfaces. Data protection plays an important role. Here, a way must be found that ensures the necessary protection of personal data and at the same time enables the development of innovative solutions.

In general, however, the mood among GovTech startups is one of optimism, says Tuncer. The industry in Germany is well networked and supports each other. However, the digital transformation of the administration can only succeed through sensible cooperation models between the state, the established IT industry and startups. The visit of the Federal Minister of Finance to Polyteia sends a strong signal for the government’s cooperation with the German startup scene, he said.