Meet Our Co-Host of the Grand Finale
2 WEEKS before the virtual room opens again to give stage for the ‘final 8’ for the last time this year. The European Final of the ‘Invest and Connect’ exclusive startup award series this year will be broadcast out of Berlin on 3rd December, co-hosted with our long-time and great partner e&Co. AG. Tickets are going fast, make sure you get yours today!
After screening more than 1000 smart mobility startups no wonder we are eager to see which of the most-promising companies will be crowned in the end in front of the international board of juries and a greater network of investors tuning in from across Europe. More details about the grand finale can be found here.
However, before we take our virtual seat one last time in 2020, we discussed with Geza Brugger from e&Co. AG, the most important insights from his perspective into the current investment sentiment in Germany and generally in DACH.
Geza is Co-founder and Chief Venture Officer of e&Co. AG, a management consultancy and investment company with a focus on the mobility industries. He is also the Managing Director of motec ventures, a smart mobility investment company located in Vienna and doing early-stage investments into enabling technologies around autonomous, electric and connected mobility. Geza is based in Germany.
The interview is a part of a series to provide a snapshot into the current venture sentiment in general and with regards to smart mobility in the various countries where our ‘Invest and Connect‘ local selection (online) events took place in 2020. Previous insights include UK, France, Spain and another interview on Germany as the hosting country of this year’s European Final – from Oliver Mahr from Deutsche Börse Venture Network.
DACH Investment Sentiment
How do you see the current investment sentiment in Germany and in the greater German speaking countries (DACH) generally?
After the VC record year 2019, 2020 was and is of course currently a bitter pill to swallow. Investors are increasingly postponing decisions and are initially concerned with financing out their existing portfolio rather than taking on new things. However, from a macroeconomic perspective, I also observe that actual investment activity has not yet changed visibly since the beginning of the pandemic.
Emerging ‘Entrepreneurial Investments’
How has it changed from your perspective?
Similar to most European countries with bank-based financial systems, the German VC market is still relatively young and lags behind both in Europe and globally. Corona is certainly slowing things down here, but all in all, we still have a major development step ahead of us in view of the increasing importance of digital business models, which, after their start-up financing, need large-volume follow-up financing for growth and market penetration relatively quickly. Furthermore, I see an exciting movement towards “Entrepreneurial Investments” emerging, just the way we do it at e&Co. with “skin in the game”. Entrepreneurial investors like us are not only assessing, but entering target companies much more intensively, with know-how and guidance – so they are really taking care of their “babies” and are thus providing increased impetus for the future.
Great Scope For New Business Models
The focus topic of this year’s startup award series is smart mobility, which might be considered unfortunate during these times with the automotive industry facing big challenges itself. What’s your take on this?
The automotive industry has already been faced with a great need for change in recent years and must now act even faster and more flexibly. Companies in the automotive industry were only able to survive the pandemic through extreme cost discipline, so far. But the “postdemic” will only be won, if there is enough innovation in the pipeline to be able to offer the customers of the day after tomorrow. With the focus topic smart mobility you had the right nose for a topic that is still more acute than ever. People want to be mobile. Sustainably mobile. Efficiently mobile. Autonomously mobile. There is enormous scope for new business models that address the core problems of our need for movement.
Changes In Smart Mobility
How do you think smart mobility has changed in Germany and in DACH over the years?
We have seen a lot of exciting product and business approaches within 2, 3 and 4D mobility in the past years. Besides fancy concepts from large corporates, startups and scale-ups, especially the government-driven impact and intervention has been accelerating. I am keen to see how the different market players can foster the competition towards more clean and efficient mobility concepts.
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