Which topics and issues drive today's business?
We are currently seeing a huge rise in funding rounds and exits for tech made in Germany. This is very good for the ecosystem, as firstly it is putting Germany as a start-up location on the radar for financially strong investors more than ever. And secondly, lots of the money gained from exits flows back into the ecosystem, by way of, among other things, founders who then get involved as business angels.
... And what are the biggest challenges?
One challenge I see which is more of a blessing for start-ups is the increased competition in the venture capital business. The number of VCs and the interest in early-stage investments is growing more and more. The competition for good deals is incomparable to that of a few years previously. This brings out my competitive side, as Capnamic will only remain a top VC if we continue to develop as company and offer more than just capital. That means we need to do an even better job of helping teams get through the early stages of development than ever before. We need to make our network more accessible, create stronger synergies, and strike out in new directions.
Which innovations and tech trends do you find particularly exciting?
My opinion has changed significantly in the last 15 months due to the COVID-19 crisis, as the pandemic made it clear that technology is a key factor and makes solutions possible, even in crises. For example, the development and distribution of life-saving vaccines and the support of companies in the transition to remote working. Other trends I see include the acceleration of cloud transformation, digital and connected healthcare, as well as intelligent automation (IA) and the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) in all business processes and supply chains.
Which thought leaders have inspired you recently?
I am inspired by many founders. For example, I'm a big fan of André Christ, founder and CEO of our portfolio company LeanIX. The way he has managed to build a global tech leader based in Bonn, Germany, is something I have the utmost respect for. He is also not an experienced founder who can draw on the experience of previous positions, but a first-timer who has done a lot of things right from the get-go. For example, over the years he has built a complementary and diverse management team that complements his strengths very well. Only with this self-reflection can founders be the right leader during the various phases of their company.
Why do cultural change and digital transformation belong together?
Start-ups are transforming industries not only with their products, but because they have created a new kind of corporate culture, mindset, and ultimately processes and practices. This is because digital transformation doesn't take place by introducing new tools or trying to enter a new market, it happens when the internal culture develops transparency and collaboration, and takes more risks.
In one sentence, what is one topic we should no longer be discussing in five years?
Sustainability, because it will finally no longer be seen as an independent topic, but hopefully as a necessity in every area of the business.
What makes companies successful in the long run?
The ability to formulate a vision that engages, inspires and motivates employees. If everyone is given the freedom and responsibility to shape and implement their part in achieving this vision, the chances of long-term success are good.
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