Our interview partner Carolin Gabor from caesar. Ventures
Photo: Corinna Brix

caesar. Ventures: “We attach great importance to diversity”

Cashwalk, Start2's matchmaking event that brings startups and investors together, will take place on May 21. On the investor side: caesar. Ventures. A good reason to take a closer look at the Munich-based VC. In this interview, Carolin Gabor from caesar. Ventures explains what startups can do right during a pitch, how things ideally continue for startups after a pitch event like Cashwalk and why she believes a diverse team is so important.

Munich Startup: What do you do at caesar. Ventures different from other investors?

Carolin Gabor, caesar. Ventures: Our team is characterized by founding and investing in unicorns and category champions and we bring a broad range of experience from many different industries.

“We invest before investing!”: Teams that convince us often receive constructive feedback on the business model, relevant intros to value-adding business angels and industry experts long before we invest. Once we have invested, we provide very active support in the planning and implementation of the next financing round. We act like “professional super angels” and are committed, disciplined and well connected.

Get to know startups as early as possible

Munich Startup: Why Cashwalk? Startups probably write to you anyway, don’t they?

Carolin Gabor: Cashwalk has a special significance for us, as it gives us the opportunity to get to know the founding teams personally, and we attach great importance to doing this as early as possible. Our positive experiences at previous events and getting to know some of our current portfolio companies have convinced us of the high quality of the selected startups.

Munich Startup: How do you see yourselves in relation to startups? Are you really “share-eating lions”?

Carolin Gabor: We see ourselves as “professional super angels” and strive to be the kind of investors we always wanted to be as founders. We are very happy to provide support when we are needed and otherwise just let our teams get on with it. We act as enablers for the next round of funding and are seen by other VCs as a differentiating factor rather than competition. Our extensive network of investors allows us to identify the ideal co-investors for our portfolio.

Wanted: Disruptive & scalable solutions

Munich Startup: What should a startup bring to the table when looking for funding? What do you look for?

Carolin Gabor: For startups looking for funding, it is important that the team has complementary profiles and strong implementation skills. We also pay attention to the “ability to raise”, i.e. the team’s ability to communicate with investors and provide proper pitch documents, for example. It is very important to us that the startups address major relevant problems, that their product for solving the problem is genuinely disruptive compared to market solutions and that the business model is scalable. And, of course, the startup should be able to achieve high sales and results in a few years so that it is attractive for a sale to a strategist or IPO.

Munich Startup: Tips for the pitch? What can you no longer see or hear? What do you want more of?

Carolin Gabor: In pitches, we want to see well thought-out business models and ideally be able to directly understand sufficient market validation; facts and figures are always helpful. Ideally, the startups should be able to describe what they do and what the unique selling point of their solution is in one concise sentence. We are happy to receive pitches that take these content-related aspects into account and can communicate them convincingly at the same time.

What happens after the pitch?

Munich Startup: Startup and investor meet – e.g. at the pitch event Cashwalk – and it fits. What happens next?

Carolin Gabor: If we find startups exciting at an event like the Cashwalk, we usually follow up with an exchange of documents, which we look at again at our leisure, and a follow-up call. The startup then gets to know our deal team, while we want to get to know the entire founding team even better. If there is still interest on both sides, we start our due diligence process, in which we always integrate a joint workshop on selected topics with the team in person. Finally, a pitch is made to the entire group of partners, after which a decision is made promptly.

Munich Startup: Best or funniest story from everyday investment life?

Carolin Gabor: Funny: A powerful team of New York investment bankers sells dog macarons on Amazon. Nicest: When startup founder teams work on topics so cool and exciting that even our teenage kids want to be there for the pitch.

Munich Startup: As an investor, women are outnumbered: is anything changing? And what is the situation with startups in your experience?

Carolin Gabor: The change towards more diversity in terms of gender is slow, but we are seeing progress, both with investors and startups. Nevertheless, we still often see all-male teams at startups, which is why we would like to encourage both male and female founders to approach us! At caesar. we attach great importance to diversity in all its dimensions and would like to actively contribute to promoting and supporting it. Because we know ourselves how good controversial discussions are for us when making investment decisions.