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Newsletter July 2016 | View online version
 
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DEALS DONE       NEWS      JOBS       EVENTS      INVESTOR
 
b-to-v Newsletter July 2016
 
 
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Dear Readers,

I would like to dedicate this editorial to some reflections on the subtle art of “screening start-ups”. My reasons for doing so are twofold; I find that start-up teams are often frustrated by investors’ rejections. Furthermore, many investors seem to be interested in screening considerations of other investors.
 
First remark: Investors do not look for the “perfect” start-up.

It is a rather bureaucratic perspective to think of the screening process as some sort of check-list approach where the start-ups can score points for meeting certain criteria (e.g. team, product, market) and then eventually receive money if their overall-score is above the XYZ line. The reality is different. As Marc Andreessen once put it in one of my favourite Stanford University lectures: “[Investors] invest in strengths, not in lack of weakness.” In other words: We are not looking for companies that have no obvious weakness and therefore presumably a good chance of survival. This is why you can and may be rejected even with a perfectly thought-through presentation that covers all key aspects of your business – sorry. We look for companies that have one (or more) aspects to them that are unique and (!! very important !!) that seem to have the potential to make this particular company a super successful outlier. Many of the latter have significant shortcomings, which we may accept in light of other outstanding strengths of the company.

Second remark: Professional investors screen systematically.

Notwithstanding the first remark, professional investors will screen start-ups systematically. If an investor questions your team mostly about the product, you are probably talking to either a company builder or a rookie business angel. A professional investor will always try and understand all basic aspects of your business, i.e. team, product, market, competition, business and sales model plus strategy, financial plan, investment conditions, long-term aspiration & strategy. But he will not necessarily expect you to have a 100% water-proof answer to everything because he accepts that things may change over time and he is aware of the fact that he is looking at your company today, i.e. in an early development stage, where even you, the founders, may not see all aspects that are relevant to your business. 

Third remark: Different investors screen differently.

This may sound obvious but founders often seem to neglect the advantages of a careful investor selection process (and then fail to understand reasons for rejections). It is just a matter of fact that different start-up investors reject the same start-up for different reasons. Generally speaking, a private investor will focus on companies that fall within his investment scope and have the potential to pay back his investment with an attractive multiple within 5-8 years. Government-funded start-up investors may have a broader investment scope to begin with and can be slightly less concerned about capital pay back. They consider other aspects such as: Is the company young enough to fit my program, was it established in our target region, did it already receive funding by other government agencies, what is the company’s technology base etc. To founders, this means: Know your game and you will hunt more successfully.

Fourth remark (part 1): Investors are right.

This may be hard to digest, but if you consider an investor working with promising entrepreneurs and start-ups every day for many years and on a professional basis, and your start-up is rejected by this investor, then it seems reasonable to assume that his feedback, especially when it comes to certain basic strategies or conceptual ideas of your company, may contain some food for thought.

Fourth remark (part 2): Investors are wrong (sic!).

This contradicts the previous paragraph, but it is true nonetheless, which may be nice to note for founders: Investors are wrong fairly frequently. The most honest statement in this context is made by our esteemed colleagues at Bessemer Ventures, who display some (?) of their worst screening decisions on their website. In other words: As mentioned before, you should consider the feedback of an investor carefully as it may contain some valid points. However, you should also have the guts to stick to your vision, because at the end of the day, the investors do not get it right all the time…

Fifth remark: Screening is more than a professional “to-do item”.

Many investors seem to believe that screening is done to select (or reject) certain investment targets. But it does not end there. Another aspect is, that the screening provides the basis for the due diligence, during which the investor takes a much closer look at the findings from the screening and tries to thoroughly understand key risks and key strengths of the business. Another aspect is, that screening and due diligence together will have an impact on the management of the investment by the investor. They mark the areas which the investor will observe closely during the investment phase as they are (or can be) critical success factors for the company.  

This concludes the July editorial – enjoy the rest of this month’s newsletter!
Alexander
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deals Done
Check out the latest investments b-to-v has closed.
 
 
 
 
 
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Start-up scene on the Ascent
 

b-to-v was recently featured in the St. Galler Tagblatt. The interview with b-to-v Partner, Alexander Stoeckel explores recent deals done, our preparations for the (fourth) b-to-v Advanced Technologies Fund and the outlook for the Swiss start-up scene.
Click the button below for the St. Galler Tagblatt article (in German).

 
 
 
 
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b-to-v Leads Investment in Arktis Radiation Detectors Ltd.
 
Last month, b-to-v took the lead in the Expansion Round of Arktis Radation Detectors Ltd. Existing investors led by the Bright Technologies Fund also joined in the fundraising round aimed at expanding the sales force, increasing global market coverage and preparing production for volume manufacturing. The new b-to-v Portfolio Company is headquartered in Zurich and just opened its US subsidiary in Arlington, Virginia. Arktis develops and manufactures next generation radiation detection systems and works with government and agencies around the globe to supply systems that improve security at ports, airports and border crossings.
Please click the button for the full press release.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
News
Check out the latest news about b-to-v and its portfolio companies.
 
 
 
 
 

 

COMATCH GmbH on its way to become Europe’s leading marketplace for freelance consultants
 
COMATCH GmbH, the marketplace for independent top management consultants, has already grown its database of accepted management consultants to over 1'000 and has completed more than 120 consultancy projects. Please click the button below to read an interesting interview about the firm’s road ahead with Dirk Schuran, COMATCH’s Head of Sales, about the firm’s way ahead.
 
 
 
 
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Electrochaea GmbH celebrates the Launch of the BioCat Project

 

b-to-v Portfolio Company, Electrochaea GmbH is in the business of converting CO2 from biogas production and excess electricity from wind and solar into natural gas. In our February newsletter, we mentioned the company’s partnership with the BIOFOS Wastewater Treatment Plant in Avedore, Denmark. Everything appears to be on schedule and over 60 guests from around the world attended the kick-off of the “commercial campaign” last month, which will operate the facility for 3'000 hours using renewable power to produce grid quality biomethane for Copenhagen. For more information about this exciting development click here.
 
If this space or company peaks your interest, then this more detailed investigation of biological methanization might be of interest. Speicherbar, an independent information blog for energy storage and energy innovation, featured Elecrochaea in a recent post. The central question which they and the above project seek to answer is whether power-to-gas systems such as BioCat can be implemented on a large scale.

 
 
 
 
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Exosome Diagnostics, Inc. enters Partnership with Takeda
 
Exosome Diagnostics, Inc. monitors disease biomarkers in patient blood by means of their liquid biopsy platform. Last month, they announced a very important partnership with Takeda, Japan and Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company. The cooperation aims to develop a platform for serial analysis of gene expression patterns in patients with cancer and other disease states beyond oncology. The full press release below contains more information including comments by Exosome CEO John Boyce and Takeda.
 
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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.

Testbirds GmbH:

Project Manager (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.
Marketing & PR Manager for Sweden (f/m): To make our product popular in Sweden we need you to write inspiring and easy to read texts. By using social media channels you will also try to find new testers for our testing community. 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.
Country Manager for Sweden (f/m): You like working hands-on? You are energetic as well as entrepreneurial? And you have work experience in sales with a large network in the Swedish industry? Then you are the right country manager for our new office in Sweden. If you are interested to become our next ‘Bird’, please apply here.
Senior 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.

Raisin GmbH:

Head of Investment Products (f/m): As a Head of Investment Products you will be responsible for building and executing a (multi-)asset strategy to expand our products, markets and customer groups. Please apply by sending us your CV and earliest start date via email.

Wine in Black GmbH:

Senior Product Manager (f/m): Wine in Black built a successful and established online shop for premium wines in the last years. Anyhow, we’re bold enough to start again and build a new platform with top-notch technology. We’re searching for a foresighted Senior Product Manager who accompanies us on our mission. At the earliest possible starting date, we’re searching for you having passion about wine and technology at our location in Berlin-Mitte. Please send your application to our HR Manager Mandy Howald via email.
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. 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. Please send your application to our HR Manager Mandy Howald via email.
Performance Marketing Lead (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 Performance Marketing Lead having an eye on our marketing performance and creating innovative marketing campaigns at our location in Berlin-Mitte. Please send your application to our HR Manager Mandy Howald via email

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 Leipzig
 
On September 8, 2016, b-to-v Members and selected guests will meet in Leipzig for the first b-to-v Investors' Meeting in Leipzig. The event will be held in cooperation with the Spinlab, Leipzig's own accelerator jointly supported by Leipzig's Cotton Mill and the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management.
See below the program for more details. If you want to attend get in touch with Benita Xheladini.
 
 
 
 
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b-to-v Private Investment Academy (Modul I)
 
The b-to-v Private Investment Academy on 26-28th of September 2016 is the 14th b-to-v Private Investment Academy. It will take place at Schloss Wolfsberg in Ermatingen.
Please note that this is an invitation-only event. If you are interested in participating, please contact Andrea Rogg.
 
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9th Annual b-to-v Portfolio Day
 
The 9th Annual b-to-v Portfolio Day is hosted on September 28th in Berlin at Axel Springer Plug & Play. The event will feature live presentations of up to twelve selected companies from the b-to-v portfolio.
Please note that this is an invitation-only event. If you would like to participate please contact Benita Xheladini.
 
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2. Frankfurter-Allgemeine Forum Disruption
 
b-to-v will be attending and contributing at the Faz-Forum’s Disruption Conference on the 15th and 16th of November in Frankfurt. The digital transformation of business brings with it many advantages and opportunities. Nevertheless numerous companies still struggle to bravely rush into the internet of things world. Now more than ever, the question of how German business should position itself in this phase of the digital transformation remains relevant.
 
b-to-v will be well-represented with Florian Schweitzer and Dr. Jochen Gutbrod participating as speakers on the main stage and in deep dive sessions. We look forward to seeing and catching up with many more of you at the event. Please refer to the attached program for more details and the program.
 
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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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