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Newsletter December 2016 | View online version
 
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b-to-v Newsletter December 2016
 
 
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Dear readers of the b-to-v newsletter,
 
In our eyes, the year 2016 ends with a key message: intellectual discipline and personal engagement with experts are more important than ever. It is not enough to just complain about phenomena like Brexit, Donald Trump, or AfD or the Front National. An articulate and rigorous involvement of the experts is required. Society’s reflection on popular topics such as Brexit or presidential elections is often shaped by certain protagonists who scream their opinions at everybody’s face. What has changed is that fact-based opinions have become less important. Loudness and speed of such opinions are more important than balanced and independent commentary. Now more than ever, it is vital that opinion leaders who claim to have “simple solutions” for complex problems and situations get confronted and challenged with facts constantly. And it must be understood that the straightforward solutions are not necessarily the best solutions. Sometimes, more complicated approaches and more time are needed. The idea that every problem can be summarized and solved on a single slide with five bullets points or in a five-minute keynote speech is simply naïve.

How is this connected with the start-up world? When you observe start-up pitches, e.g. on tv or live, and how the presentations are discussed afterwards, you can identify similar phenomena. In five out of ten pitch sessions, a person from the audience kicks-off the discussion by throwing a strong emotional (and arguably undefeatable) opinion at the founders, such as “the world’s largest search engine could copy this in two months” or “a major car manufacturer might sue the hell out of this team just to make sure it fails”. Such opinions, if questioned by other people in the audience, are often justified with “gut feeling” or “…based on my experience…”, which makes them hard to challenge. And subsequently, if no other person challenges these views, the individual pitch discussion is likely to end with a veritable “start-up bashing”, i.e. sort of a fundamental critique of the founders and their business concept that goes way beyond the line of reasonable scepticism.

However, if you network with investors after such “bashing sessions”, the surprising thing is that you will also hear positive voices. Not everybody is singing from the same hymnbook. Some people admit that they did in fact like the case, but did not oppose the other people’s negative opinions because they did not want to stand up in front of the crowd. And this is where we believe a dangerous path begins. We believe that it is vital to have fair discussions of start-up concepts, that analyse the pros and cons of a given topic, and then lead to informed decisions. A clean discussion of an investment case looks at the start-up from many different angles, which is also known as the dialectical method. An ideal discussion features a thesis (in favour of…) and an antithesis (against…) and no quick judgements. The idea is to bring all the relevant aspects of a given topic to light. And in the end, the investor forms a synthesis, taking into account thesis, antithesis, and most likely his personal gut feeling. The better the analytical part of the discussion, the more valuable the discussion for the audience.

Our pledge to the start-up industry, both investors and founders, is: We try to ensure that we carry out analytical, intellectual discussions. We will object to non-analytical and non-intellectual comments when they arise, and, if needed, stand up against the crowd. Founders and investors benefit from comments articulated by experts in fair discussions. Standing up against loud opinions which are not fact-based and obviously wrong is a must, not a choice. And we believe that this attitude is important in many other situations outside the start-up world, too.

Rounding up this editorial, we would like to thank you for your continuous support and feedback in the old year. We wish you and your families a joyful holiday season and a tremendously successful New Year!!

On  behalf of the b-to-v team, Florian Schweitzer & Alexander Stoeckel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investments Done
Check out the latest investments b-to-v has closed.
 
 
 
 
 
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Codecheck closes financing round aimed at growth in German-speaking Europe and beyond
 
Codecheck closes financing round aimed at growth in German-speaking Europe and beyond

The Berlin & Zurich based b-to-v portfolio company, Codecheck, announced last week that it had closed its Series A financing round. Existing Investors including the Innovation Foundation of the Schwyzer Kantonalbank, Doodle co-founders and b-to-v were joined by Polytech Ecosystems Ventures and MGO Digital Ventures to raise over CHF 1,2m. Codecheck plans to use the funds to spur on growth in German-speaking Europe and new international markets.

Codecheck supports consumers in making more informed shopping decisions by delivering product & content descriptions and ratings on its app and website. With over 36 million products in the database, Codecheck has been downloaded over 4 million times to date. The ratings come from renowned and neutral partners such as Greenpeace (CH), WWF (CH), Friends of the Earth (DE) and the German Allergy and Asthma Federation (DE).

We are excited that b-to-v member, Sigrun Albert, representing MGO Digital Ventures took an interest in the portfolio company. They identified a number of business overlaps and hope to work closely together with Codecheck to make the most of the synergies for mutual benefit.

You can review the company’s full press release by clicking the button.
 
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b-to-v leads Mymoria’s seven-figure Seed financing round
 
Berlin-based Mymoria, which operates Germany's first digital funeral house, joined b-to-v’s portfolio companies this month. The funds of the seven-figure Seed round will be used to further expand Mymoria’s core services around the transparent and customer-friendly planning, booking and pre-arrangement of funerals at all hours from the safety and comfort of one’s home. b-to-v and London-based VC Howzat Partners joined existing investors including IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft and several renowned business angels. The startup was founded in late 2015 and this is its second financing round.
For more on this story, please click the link below.
 
 
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News
Check out the latest news about b-to-v and its portfolio companies.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Data-encryption without Backdoors
 
The Darmstadt-based b-to-v portfolio company, eperi, was recently named “Microsoft Open Source Partner 2016.” The accolade was awarded to eperi for the development of its outstanding tool on Microsoft’s Azure platform. eperi Gateway goes beyond protecting IT systems by focusing on securing the data and placing the encryption key solely in the hands of the customer. This way, no providers can be forced to deliver the data to third parties. Within the client-company itself, the end-users can continue to work unencrypted without disturbing usual workflows.
For reading more please click the button.
 
 
 
 
 
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b-to-v advocating for more diversity amongst investors
 
Ritah Nyakato of startupticker.ch published an article before Christmas about growing numbers of female business angels in Switzerland. She identifies that there is broad interest on the part of women to get involved in startup and investment ecosystems. Besides lacking prior investment experience, frequently mentioned impediments to this aspiration were skills in evaluating and the inability to find fitting startups.
 
In last month’s newsletter forewordAlexander Stoeckel outlined b-to-v’s thoughts on the subject. Nyakato listed our b-to-v Private Investment Academy with focus on female investors amongst the efforts of other business angel communities in Switzerland.
Feel free to read the whole story by clicking on the link below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jobs
Check out the latest job opportunities that b-to-v and its network have to offer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
b-to-v and b-to-v portfolio companies are looking for some talents:
 
b-to-v is looking for an Investment Analyst (f/m) in Berlin: b-to-v is looking for a full-time Investment Analyst to be based in our office in Berlin. You should have at least one year work experience in venture capital or financial services. For more information, please see the PDF attached and contact Elena Dober with your application.

b-to-v is looking for a Junior Fund Controller (f/m) in Luxembourg: b-to-v is looking for a full-time Junior Fund Controller to be based in our office in Luxembourg. You should have at least one year of relevant work experience. For more information, please see the PDF attached and contact Panagiota Roumoudi with your application.

Customer Success Manager (f/m): As a Customer Success Manager, you will be the advocate for our customers ensuring any customer request is handled accordingly. As you will also consult customers in the Swiss Romandy, it is necessary that you speak French fluently. You will also conduct customer meetings and calls on a regular basis where you review their overall customer experience and provide suggestions and best practices on how they can improve the usage of our product. Please apply here, if you are interested.

Account Executive (f/m) in Zurich: As a Account Executive you are responsible for generating new leads and business opportunities. You need to be comfortable and effective with prospecting, cold calling and personal meetings over the phone and in-person. We expect excellent interpersonal skills and a good technical understanding of the product. Please apply here, if you are interested.
 
Global HR & Office Manager (f/m): We are looking for a Global HR & Office Manager (m/f) in full time, who will support our fast growing and highly motivated team in our Headquarter in Berlin. Please click here for your application.
 
Senior PHP Developer (f/m): Wine in Black built a successful and established online shop in the last years. Anyhow, we’re bold enough to start again and build a new platform with top-notch technology from the scratch. Therefore we are searching for a Senior PHP Developer as a new team member! At the earliest possible starting date, we’re searching for you having passion for clean codes at our location in Berlin-Mitte. If you want to take responsibility and bring in own ideas and concepts please send your application to our HR Manager Mandy Howald via email.

Lead Frontend Developer (f/m): Wine in Black built a successful and established online shop in the last years. Anyhow, we’re bold enough to start again and build a new platform with top-notch technology from the scratch. Therefore we are searching for a Lead Frontend Developer building new features at our location in Berlin-Mitte. If your code is as premium as our wine please send your application to our HR Manager Mandy Howald via email
Project Manager for digital Crowdtesting (f/m): Our crowdtesters do the testing, you are responsible for making the project a success: How? You are the key contact for clients and our crowdtesters during projects. You are responsible for quality assurance and the evaluation & reporting of the results. If you are interested to become our next ‘Bird’, please apply here.
 
Account Manager for Sweden (f/m): Testbirds is growing fast. Our next step will be the opening of a new office in Stockholm. Therefore we need you: a passionate sales manager to acquire and develop customers in Sweden. If you are interested to become our next ‘Bird’, please apply here.
 
International Social Media & Community Manager (f/m): You draw a high affinity to Social Media and Gamification? Then become part of our ‘Nest’ and be the contact person for our international tester community and their inquiries. If you are interested to become our next ‘Bird’, please apply here.
 
Online Marketing Manager (f/m): SaaS models, SEA campaigns and advertisement strategies are your specialty and on top you are creative and open for new ideas? Let’s start rocking the online world! If you are interested to become our next ‘Bird’, please apply here.
 
Head of Sales for Berlin (f/m): Codecheck is the number 1 shopping matchmaker in Europe and helps 1.2 M. users improve their lives with healthier and more sustainable shopping. We are looking for an experienced Head of Sales (in Berlin) with strong leadership skills who is passionate about sales in international markets. We offer a competitive salary, attractive cash bonuses and equity. Please click here for reading more.
 
Customer Support Germany (f/m): Campanda is looking for a Customer Support Germany to join our amazing Customer Support team based in Berlin. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.
 
Payment Manager (f/m): Campanda is looking for a Payment Manager to join our amazing Backoffice team based in Berlin. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.
 
(Senior) Backend & Frontend Developer (f/m): Campanda is looking for Backend and Frontend Developers to join our amazing IT team based in Berlin. Learn more about the position and how to apply here or here.
 
Online Marketing Internship (f/m): Campanda is looking for an Online Marketing Intern to join our amazing Marketing team based in Berlin for at least 3 months. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Events
Check out the next b-to-v events and events in b-to-v's network.
b-to-v events are exclusively reserved for b-to-v Investors.
Interested in a b-to-v membership? Please contact Alexander Stoeckel
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b-to-v Investors’ Meeting in Hamburg
 
On January 19th, 2017, we will host a b-to-v Investors' Meeting in Hamburg, in close cooperation with our strategic partner Hoschke & Consorten.
Interested b-to-v Members and guests are kindly asked to contact Benita Xheladini to indicate their intention to participate.
 
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b-to-v Investors’ Meeting in Munich
 
On February 23rd, 2017, we will host a b-to-v Investors' Meeting in Munich in close cooperation with our strategic partner Baker Tilly Roelfs.
Interested b-to-v Members and guests are kindly asked to contact Morena Botta to indicate their intention to participate.
 
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On March 1st to 3rd, 2017 we will have our second module of the b-to-v Private Investment Academy at the Schloss Wolfsberg in Ermatingen on the Lake of Constance. Selected start-ups in search of investor capital will present their business concepts over the course of the event, but these presentations will only cover a small section of the Academy. The event is an invitation-only event.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Andrea Rogg.
 
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On March 24th and 25th, 2017, START Global will host its yearly flagship event: the START Summit draws more than 1'500 entrepreneurship- and technology-enthusiasts from all around the world to St. Gallen, Switzerland. Besides inspiring speeches and workshops, the START Summit fosters the dialogue between investors looking for exciting investment opportunities and start-ups looking for top-level investors. 
 
b-to-v Members will be offered a special attendee package including an exclusive program on Friday and Saturday. Interested investors are kindly invited to contact Andrea Rogg for further information.
For more information and to stay up-to-date, please click the button.
 
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If you know a strong team of entrepreneurs who would like to receive capital for the dynamic future of their company, please forward this newsletter to them.
 
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