13 7 / 2014

European Mega Rounds

Recently people I met are discussing European mega rounds, VC financing rounds with three digits million Euro amounts. Basically it is questioning how Europe can battle with US companies receiving those $0.5 - 1.3bn financing to extend their leadership in their categories. Those people believe without those funding rounds European startups would be doomed to be successful and it would harm the ecosystem in general if those rounds will not happen.

So lets see for once: there are large funding rounds and successful companies in Europe - Spotify, King, Supercell, Soundcloud, iZettle, to name a few. Obviously more spreaded around Europe, focused on Nordics, UK, Germany, Baltics. If Europe wasn’t that fragmented, EU would not be far behind US and catching up. However China is still far ahead of both regions and will increase their gap more and more over time. Even worse China is now tapping into US - Alibaba $250m in Tango - and the question is when the first large Chinese investment will happen in Europe. (My guess will be for the gaming and/or mobility segment.)

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03 7 / 2014

yesterday at the meeting with minister of economics in Dusseldorf. Discussion Startup ecosytem, financing, building #howtogetitofftheground #startups #vc #germany #NRW #instamood #latergram #instafeel #politics #getitdone #picoftheday

yesterday at the meeting with minister of economics in Dusseldorf. Discussion Startup ecosytem, financing, building #howtogetitofftheground #startups #vc #germany #NRW #instamood #latergram #instafeel #politics #getitdone #picoftheday

02 7 / 2014

Meeting with minister of economy for North Rhine Westphalia to discuss: #Startups #Venture #VC #investments #building #ecosystems #germany #dusseldorf #cologne #nrw  (at Staatskanzlei des Landes NRW)

Meeting with minister of economy for North Rhine Westphalia to discuss: #Startups #Venture #VC #investments #building #ecosystems #germany #dusseldorf #cologne #nrw (at Staatskanzlei des Landes NRW)

27 6 / 2014

NSA troubles start to hit the business..

Today Wall Street Journal reports that German government has ended the contract with Verizon Communications to provide data and Internet connectivity for several institutions run by German government (http://online.wsj.com/articles/german-government-ends-verizon-contract-1403802226). This is the right decission to be made and the strongest signal to our friends in the US that in business your actions always enforce a reaction from the other side of the table. You are living in a free world and you can decide about how you believe your neighbors and friends should be treated - but so can your partners as well.

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I have a strong opinion on the NSA troubles as you can read in my earlier blog posts on the one side and of cause I am bias hence my employer is benefiting from this decision business wise. But there is more to this based on my history in my former business life.

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22 6 / 2014

Corporate Venture Capital is back: T-Venture Open 2014 

by Thomas Grota

We had our bi-annual portfolio day last week in Berlin. With great honor we had our CEO of Deutsche Telekom as keynote speaker with a strong message to the audience. DT group is looking to enable it’s partners even stronger in the future. We want to connect them faster with our networks and give them access to our customer reach more easily. Of cause we want to benefit from those partnerships as well.

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There is a lot to be done in the coming months but as Tim Hoettges pointed out we are on a good track. Corporate Venture Capital is one pillar to engage with startups in the Valley as well as in Europe. He wants T-Ventures to take a more leading role, taking part in this process and become a leader in the CVC space and getting higher in the ranks as we are currently on #7 globally. 

Areas to be investing are defined as well. Foremost one topice we have been thinking for some year now: Cyber security following the NSA troubles revealed by Mr. Snowden. So it looks like we are on the right track so far, while mobile, cloud and big data are still and will be on our target list. 

Having 80 portfolio companies as our guest in Berlin was also a strong message and interesting to see how our portfolio CEOs can connect across our portfolio as well with senior management in Deutsche Telekom. 

Some German articles give some impression on the event:

(There are more but behind pay walls so I can’t provide links).

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13 6 / 2014

Corporate Venture Capitalist - It’s all about your network and partners

by Thomas Grota

We all know business is about your network and about the partners within this network. There is not many industries where this is even more important than Venture Capital business especially when you are a corporate venture capital firm. So we were delighted to see the latest report from CB Insights about this market segement.

There is a great ranking: T-Venture with our strongest partners Accel Partners ,Sequoia Capital and Intel Capital

Which corporate venture arms have the strongest network?

In venture capital, networks are a critical driver of VC performance. The quality of a VC’s network helps them get access to better dealflow and deal information, find syndicate partners, and help their companies find follow-on investment or exit opportunities.

Source: http://www.cbinsights.com/blog/top-corporate-venture-investors-tech

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03 6 / 2014

Startup Galore, the best way for founders to ramp up financing

by Thomas Grota

Lately I gave some speeches to young founders. This presentation sums up a lot of their questions and my advise from a venture capitalist point of view. What are the pitfalls from early financing? How to get best return on taking on investors? Why consider thinking about exits throughout the whole process for a Startup founders?

A lot of do’s and don’ts to be considered. I got the impression there is still a lot to be learned and more experiences to share between entrepreneurs and investors on the one side and young, first time entrepreneurs on the other side. We all will benefit from those discussions and insights from the experienced side of entrepreneurship.

Startup galore the best way of financing ramp up for founders … a view from a venture capitalist from Thomas Grota

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02 6 / 2014

What investors are looking for… A view from a Venture Capitalist

by Thomas Grota

Recently I gave a speech at a university where students are interested to become entrepreneurs and starting their own company. The presentation should give them a head start to focus on the right things and not wasting time studying books on how to write the perfect business plan. Obviously I am bias but I think I have a fair share of knowledge being on the other side of the business for also quite some time.

What investors are looking for… A view from a Venture Capitalist from Thomas Grota

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29 5 / 2014

Exit the road ahead for startups - from a view of a Venture Capitalist

by Thomas Grota

The pitfalls and important thoughts for founders on their way to a successful exit of their startup company from a view of a Venture Capitalist. (my presentation of Arctic15 Event in Helsinki on May 28th 2014 - www.arctic15.com).

Exit the road ahead for startups - from a view of a Venture Capitalist from Thomas Grota

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27 5 / 2014

First time I get Champagne at a Startup Event as a Welcome Drink. #goodstart #finnland #Helsinki #travel

First time I get Champagne at a Startup Event as a Welcome Drink. #goodstart #finnland #Helsinki #travel