70 startups with promising business models from all sectors such as software, industry, robotics, eHealth, mobility, logistics, impact and environmental technology participated in VentureCon TechTrends in October 2021. The investors conference specifically targeted early-stage venture capitalists and companies.
Barbara Dombay, Head of Investor Network at BayStartUP:
Every year, around 800 startups contact us with an interest or potential for equity financing, and we advise over 500 growth-oriented teams on all aspects of designing their business models and identifying suitable investors. On this potential we have drawn for the Investors Conference.
All startups that pursue a disruptive, technology-driven business model, have not yet generated any revenues or at most initial revenues and are planning a financing round in the pre-seed or seed phase by the end of 2022 were eligible to apply. The conference provided a platform for precisely those teams that have not yet even been on the radar of venture capitalists – because they are in a very early phase.
The background: the investment landscape is changing, more and more capital is available on the market. This leads to increased competition among investors. They are increasingly investing earlier and actively seeking contact with startups long before the financing rounds.
Because the number of applicants from startups was at a record high, BayStartUP decided to rethink the classic pitch format of investors conferences. Instead of a multitude of pitches, the investors were able to get into an exclusively personal digital exchange with the startups.
Carolin Plagmann, Head of Investors Network at BayStartUP:
Our goal was to enable startups and investors to establish mutual contacts at an early stage and to enter into an exchange well before the actual financing rounds. This worked: we were able to record over 3,573 meeting minutes in around 150 personal conversations between over 100 investors and 70 startup teams during the course of the conference.
Current technology and investment trends in various industries were discussed by the investors in three panel discussions with leading representatives from the venture scene.
"How much hardware can an investment take?" Marie-Helene Ametsreiter from Speedinvest, Benjamin Erhart from UnternehmerTUM Venture Capital Partners and Robert Gallenberger from btov Industrial Technologies Fund discussed how tech topics really scale. The result in a nutshell: Despite all the digitalization, the world will not function without hardware, and the field continues to offer great opportunities (in connection with ClimateTech, among others). Hardware development is hardly forgiving of mistakes. Founders have to manage this complexity and in some ways and be even "better" entrepreneurs, but the barriers to entry then also offer a certain protection.
"How can the truly visionary and disruptive startups be funded?" discussed Anna Sophie Lott from BonVenture and Lise Rechsteiner from Vsquared Ventures: Where do we as a society have the greatest need for change? And on which topics can a VC really make a difference for our future in terms of how we all behave or live? In the panel discussion, different approaches to these questions were discussed. For example, the social impact VC BonVenture measures what change innovation will have on our future in concrete terms. The Deep Tech VC VSquared Ventures, on the other hand, deliberately does not follow the trends of VC investments on the market, but sees itself as a trendsetter – by investing in technological innovations that are still far from a trend. And can therefore still be regarded as visionary.
Jan Sessenhausen from Cusp Capital Partners and Moritz Zimmermann from 42CAP asked where we stand with digitization and what VCS from this area are still investing in at all. The potential for digitization continues to be huge, even after 20 years. One particularly exciting field is the intersection of digitization and sustainability. An important role from an investor's point of view is, among other things, international scalability and the will of the founding team to think this through from the start. This requires genuine potential category leaders, where the narrative and metrics are right.