Capital for Growth & Internationalization – A talk with… Ventech!
Ventech is a global VC firm with offices in Paris, Shanghai, Munich and Helsinki. Founded in 1998 in France, the company opened an office in the Bavarian state capital in 2013. Just a few of the successful Munich startups that the company invested in include Speexx, FinTecSystems and the European Games Group.
Please tell us about yourselves!
In Europe, we are currently investing our fourth round of VC, which amounts to 110 million euros and is focused on series A financing. Since its founding, Ventech has been involved with more than 120 companies in Europe, China, Russia and the US. Our partnership has been investing for nearly 20 years. We bring together extensive hands-on experience in all investment cycles, vast international expertise and a powerful network.
Some of the Ventech investments that were sold in 2015/2016 include Withings (IoT/ Nokia), StickyAds (ad tech/Comcast) and Webedia (media/Fimalac).
Focus on Series A – across all industries
Do you have a preferred investment area?
Ventech invests in rapidly growing technology companies, both in B2B and B2C. The industries include internet, media, eCommerce, mobile applications, IoT, big data, software and communication infrastructures.
We prefer entrepreneurs who develop high barriers to market entry. That might take on the form of network effects, technology/IP, partnerships, proprietary customer access or profound expertise in the sector.
We also generally work with founders who have the experience necessary for their company and who also build strong and well-balanced teams.
What kind of startup would you never invest in?
We try to avoid undifferentiated business models. Companies without traction – or growth – in very small niche markets, or with significant capital inefficiencies are not in our line of focus.
“We are available if we are needed”
Do startups need to worry about you getting too involved?
We want to support companies with our experience and act as a good sparring partner when dealing with decisive questions about company development. Often, we can offer our experience and “best practices” from other investments.
Ultimately, this always applies to important decisions and rarely to operative details. We consider the latter to be solely in the founders’ hands. In other words – we are available if we are needed and can generate real value for a company.
Ventech particularly helps during internationalization
Which stage is the ideal time for startups to contact you?
We look for companies in a series aiming to raise 1 to 7 million euros who have their first customers and sales and show strong growth. That growth can be commercial, but can also be demonstrated by strong user figures in B2C models (MAUs, DAUs, installs, etc.). We support entrepreneurs whenever possible during this stage, particularly during internationalization of business.
After initial contact, how long does it take to conclude a contract?
It usually takes at least four weeks for a series A round, but on average it can take around two and a half months. In earlier stages, like the seed stage, we often invest within just a few weeks.
Reputation is key
Tell us about a no-go factor in a pitch!
There is no particular no-go factor, but it is always good when the founders know their figures well. Reputation is key in our industry. Entrepreneurs who are competent based on their transparency are not only highly appreciated, but also authentic.
Munich — stop comparing yourself to others!
From an investor standpoint, what does the Munich startup scene do well? What could be improved?
We think the support given to entrepreneurs by Munich universities and colleges is excellent and really appreciate the outstanding education for engineers, computer scientists and economists. The numerous and increasing amount of meetups and hackathons that bring different people together shows how dynamic the scene has become.
On a political level, the state government helps startups with support programs, which we certainly also value. Munich should continue on its own path towards digitization and stop comparing itself to other cities.
Last but not least: whom should startups contact if they would like to meet up with you?
Simply come and talk to us at conferences and events, or write to us on LinkedIn or on our website. The best way of course is to contact us through someone we know already — for example, an angel or a company already in the portfolio.