THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: THE GRAND FINALE
24 HOURS and and the end of the ‘Invest and Connect Smart Mobility Awards 2020’ series will see its final event – the EUROPEAN FINAL with the eight selected national champions (short introduction are here and here) pitching again one more time for potential investments in front of the international jury. Attendees will have access to more detailed information and can network with not only the jury members, but all the other like-minded investors participating. This includes also the President of the European Super Angels Club, Berthold Baurek-Karlic with whom we looked back to this eventful year to recap of the many memories of the series and share his expectations with all of us.
The event takes place tomorrow, on 3rd December from 17:30 online, co-hosted out of Berlin with our long-time partner and mobility sector focussed entrepreneurial investor team at e&Co AG. Get your ticket today to be part of this exclusive event with only qualified investors! As ususal, ESAC Members and partners network contacts are granted free access, while greater network partners receive special discounts. For more details, please reach out to us at !
This year has been full of changes and difficult moments. Many investors stopped investing, while others believe it’s the exactly now the time to support European startups. What’s your POV on this?
It is true. 2020 was one of the most difficult years in history. In fact, we saw more than 90% of the global economy sliding into a recession, which is worse than the market environment during the second world war (see World Bank). Nevertheless, investors across Europe remained fairly active and supportive, while European Venture Sentiment (overall) dropped. Looking at data, we even see record numbers of investments. Now this should not be misinterpreted, we saw most investors focusing on existing portfolio companies, and at the same time very restrictive when it comes to new investments. Governmental rescue plans, such as the Covid-Hilfsfonds in Austria in the first half of 2020, co-investment regimes in Berlin or Hamburg and last but not least, mighty projects like the KfW Zukunftsfonds in Germany (EUR 10b) leveraged the innovation economy.
Having said this, we do see very different approaches and priorities for startup hubs among European regions. Some regions are extremely supportive and others introduce weaker programs, indicating lower priorities on their respective startup hubs. European Super Angels Club – overall – was quite active and had quite active investors in the club. We are proud to have shown record investments in 2020, not only in existing portfolio companies, but also in new companies.
In 2020, the ‘Invest and Connect’ exclusive event series runs its 7th edition. How do you see this year, focusing on smart mobility, compared to the previous years? Especially, amid the Covid-19 pandemic and that the events had to move online?
This year was different in so many ways. We had to switch to a fully online program, which was new for us and our investors. The quality of startups we have seen from all regions was extremely promising. Europe’s startups are definitely stronger than ever, and this also counts for the field of smart mobility. The sector itself is extremely interesting for investors. Autonomous drones, robots and vehicles. Sustainability and change of habits – such as a lower interest for car ownership or the will to buy cars (delivered to the doorstep) fully online, are just a few trends we have seen.
I am optimistic that the companies invited for the finals will convince investors and have a bright future ahead.
What has been the most-memorable moments for you of the local selection events?
There are so many memories, it is really hard to pick one. Let me highlight that our sponsors and partners really deserve a huge “THANK YOU”, as they stood by us in this difficult year. The jury and all network partners were incredibly supportive and this was definitely very helpful and wonderful at the same time. Our team at European Super Angels Club did also make the best out of the situation and stayed positive, which was definitely not an easy task.
How do you evaluate the final eight startups that made it to the grand finale?
At European Super Angels Club, we run a quite sophisticated process to scout, evaluate and select companies for the local finals. In those local qualifiers, we had a strong jury who helped us identify the best of the best with their niche expertise in smart mobility. Our club is built for investors, from investors. We work with founders and talents, who deserve to get increased visibility from all around Europe.
Basic elements we look at, when analyzing startups are factors like Team (experience and quality), Market (timing), Product (Business Model), Technology (freedom to operate and competitive edge), as well as KPIs. Most of the startups selected for the European Super Angels Club are about to become “scale-ups”. They usually have revenues (around EUR 1m) or other KPIs showing significant traction already. We do not pick ideas. In some cases – in particular in deep tech –, we are also looking at companies with solid prototypes ready-for-scale production. We offer our investors a selection of hand-picked companies, which definitely have an increased competitive edge.
What do you expect from the grand finale tomorrow?
Well, I am looking forward to seeing a lot of our top tier investors joining – the list of registrations looks promising –, and of course a great show. Our investors may expect some interesting networking with peers from different regions, and will also get a chance to talk to the startups in private breakouts after the pitching event itself. I am sure the team has arranged everything to ensure a smooth technical rundown of the show.
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If you liked to meet online ALL smart mobility finalists at the European Final, hosted by e&Co. AG on 3rd December (@17:30 CET), and network with fellow investors from across Europe – sign up at this link and have access to a pan-European network of like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs as well as exclusive deal flows, co-investment opportunities and/or potential clients!
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