Get Ready: Smart Mobility Awards 2020 – European Final
With the grand finale (3rd December, co-hosted online with e& Co. AG from Berlin), is less than a month away (tickets can be still booked here), all the eight national smart mobility champions are busy with fine-tuning their pitches to secure potential investments and claim the title of the most-promising smart-mobility startup in Europe this year. In the meantime, we said down virtually with Oliver Mahr from Deutsche Börse Venture Network to get his views on the current investment sentiment in Germany.
Oliver is responsible for the global network of investors and growth companies as well as the personal and individual support of high-growth companies from early stage up to a potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In addition, Oliver acts as a startup mentor specialized in fintech at various German and Austrian incubator and acceleration programs.
Deutsche Börse is making a significant contribution to creating a strong ecosystem for growth in Germany through Deutsche Börse Venture Network®. Its offering is designed to make a noticeable difference in the financing situation of young, aspiring companies in Germany and Europe – for founders and investors alike.
Deutsche Börse Venture Network is one of the main partners of our Invest and Connect exclusive investment and networking event series with the focus on smart mobility this year.
German Venture Sentiment
How do you see the current investment sentiment in Germany and how has it changed from your perspective?
In the present time of high uncertainty, we generally see a dropdown of new VC deals as well as a decline in company valuations. Investors seem to rather spend more time with portfolio support than to place new deals. Nevertheless, not only the perspective of investors is crucial but also the industry, quality and strategy of the target companies. For example, all health tech-related companies seem to have a strong momentum and outlook today whereas other industries with obviously lower impact on society and economy become temporarily less attractive for investors. In any case, I would say that we do also see a shift in financing rounds to later dates as well as a trend towards alternative financing solutions such as Venture Debt or Working Capital financing.
As a result, promising companies will always get funding and serious investors will of course follow and support portfolio companies also during tough times.
Consequently, we have seen that a strong ecosystem for growth financing, such as the Deutsche Börse Venture Network (DBVN), has become tremendously important both for investors and start-ups as well as for other stakeholders.
How has it changed from your perspective?
Regarding the course of the investment sentiment we can additionally state, that founders need to become more sensitive towards topics like sustainability for example, not only in terms of their product but also regarding their whole business model. They also need to adapt their business plans to scenarios like the current one and consider longer and more complex fundraising processes as investors got more carefully on new investments.
Opportunities During Challenging Times
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?
Generally speaking, smart mobility is still a hot topic, for well-known reasons, especially regarding terms like “Automotive”, “Electrification”, “Logistics”, “Sharing”, “Smart City” or “Urban Mobility”. In the past, I have seen many products and ideas on this issue, with most of them not really reinventing the wheel, to be honest. We all know that this is a tough topic and a challenging market with lots of political and economic uncertainties. So it is pretty difficult for start-ups to really prove that their product is not only generating benefits for their investors but also for their clients, partners and society.
Importance of Smart Mobility
How do you think smart mobility has changed in Germany over the years?
I would say that over the years this topic has been brought to life by many smart products with even more smarter people behind it. Generally, it can be said that the acceptance of smart mobility solutions still strongly depends on political conditions, other (still powerful) incumbents and competitors or the evidence that smart mobility is performing robustly in the face of difficult national and global market conditions. Smart mobility therefore needs to continuously prove that it is more than just a “hype”, so to speak.
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