IdeaLab! workshops, lectures and discussions
The last day of the IdeaLab! at the WHU started for me with a workshop hosted by Target Partners GmbH. Olaf Jacobi – not only venture partner, but also an experienced entrepreneur – run this very interesting workshop about the question ‚Venture Capital or Business Angel?‘. He gave us some deep insights into the world of venture capital, also from the perspective as an entrepreneur in a very open and authentic way.
The Venture Capital panel with Olaf Jacobi (Target Partners), Maximilian Niederhofer (Atlas Venture) and Lukasz Gadowski (Team Europe Ventures) was also very interesting. Some statements and thoughts:
How good is Germany in terms of venture capital?
We have a great German community of business angels, but even though venture capital doesn’t have an old tradition in Germany, we can observe a huge progress in venture capital activities in the last years. We also have the most business start-ups in Europe, but the total volume of investments is still less than e.g. in Great Britain or France. The challenge is to establish an optimal symbiosis between young engineers and young business professionals, for example through a more intensive exchange between top universities.
What is changing because of the worldwide financial crisis?
First of all not so many companies will be sold. This means that nowadays the venture capital firms professionals can’t support new high-class companies – not because they don’t have the money, but because they can’t manage intensive more than 5-10 companies (with are already in their portfolio) at the same time. Secondly, there are already some rumors in the industry that small venture capital firms can’t hold their covenants which could be a problem for the companies in their portfolio. And thirdly it is also a psychological effect. There is a great uncertainty in the market, so every new start-up will have to face chary investors… But the good news: it’s also a great time for entrepreneurs, because e.g. you can find a lot of good and talented people on the labor market. And there are even more positive thoughts from entrepreneur’s point of view about the financial crisis (in German language).
What is the next big thing?
To the next big thing includes ‚micro system technologies‘, ‚behaviour analytics‘, ‚games‘ and ‚mobile‘ 🙂
By the way the VC panel was moderated by Michael Franzkowiak (Gründerszene.de), who answered the question regarding the business activity of his new company (encanta.de) with ‚we make women happy‘ or in original ‚Wir machen Frau glücklich‘ 🙂
All in all IdeaLab! 2008 was a great event and an interesting expedition for me. Beside all the lectures, I also had the chance to meet talented students who want to start their own business (like Jaroslaw Postnikov –WHU; Ansgar Buschmann – WWU; Christian Wallin – WHU; Marco Laspe – JWG; Christoph Brenner – HSG), some ambitious young entrepreneurs (like Tobias Anton – AS Media; Florian Schreckenbach – Talential GmbH; Ortwin Kartmann – Simty GmbH) and some ‚old‘ clever entrepreneurs (like Lukasz Gadowski – Team Europe Ventures; Kolja Hebenstreit – Team Europe Ventures; Ehssan Darianiand – StudiVZ; Felix Haas – amiando AG).