3 questions to smart minds

Noah Conference gathers the most successful players of the digital scene in Europe

For this 3 questions to Marco Rodzynek

Noah Advi­sors Ltd.
Photo: Marco Rodzynek
14. June 2017

There are nume­rous start up and Digi­tal World confe­ren­ces. But no other confe­rence here in Europe brings toge­ther so many estab­lished cham­pi­ons and new promi­sing foun­ders (about 3500 — 4000 parti­ci­pants). Here, new trends are expertly high­ligh­ted and discus­sed. Inter­na­tio­nal inves­tors meet there and look for new ‘truf­fles’, young hidden cham­pi­ons. Where are the digi­tal trends going?

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Foun­der and Mana­ging Part­ner Noah Advi­sors Ltd.

1. What does the NOAH Confe­rence stand for?

The NOAH Confe­rence stands for profes­sio­nal networ­king of the leading minds of the Euro­pean digi­tal ecosys­tem. We want to be a market­place where top people from the Inter­net, tradi­tio­nal busi­ness and the finan­cial indus­try meet, exch­ange ideas, do busi­ness with each other to drive Europe’s digi­tal deve­lo­p­ment — all in an open infor­mal atmosphere.

2. What are the current mega­trends in the tech sector?

There are a few. Fintech is curr­ently very exci­ting, espe­ci­ally in Germany, because the sector is very large and digi­tiza­tion is still rela­tively in its infancy. It will be exci­ting to see if chal­len­gers like Number26, Sola­ris­bank, Finleap or Stripe will manage to take signi­fi­cant market share from tradi­tio­nal banks.

Another topic is mobi­lity. Compa­nies like Flix­bus, BlaB­la­Car , and Gett are using Big Data analy­tics to make trans­por­ta­tion more effec­tive and chea­per. Sharing models such as DriveNow and Self Driving Cars inevi­ta­bly raise the ques­tion of how rele­vant private vehicle owner­ship will be in the future.

SaaS is also very exci­ting. What is happe­ning right now is that services tradi­tio­nally perfor­med by people have turned into soft­ware products. Soft­ware of all kinds is beco­ming available and afforda­ble to ever larger target groups, which in turn makes tech­no­logy leader­ship through part­ner­ships with top service provi­ders an abso­lute must.

That’s why we not only have nearly 40 exhi­bi­tors at the confe­rence, but also a sepa­rate stage where service provi­ders show­case their market-leading solu­ti­ons to the biggest chal­lenges of the digi­tal world. It is anti­ci­pa­ted that the CEOs of all of the above compa­nies will speak at our confe­rence on 22. and June 23 in Berlin.

3. Which (inter­na­tio­nal) inves­tors are really funding start­ups in the German-spea­king world?

Inte­res­t­ing ques­tion, which is not so easy to answer, as some of the data is not publicly available. Most early stage start­ups are typi­cally funded by local angels and VCs, often from the foun­ders’ past or back­ground. The most active German VCs include HTGF, Holtz­brinck Ventures and Early­bird, but also (parti­ally) state-owned compa­nies such as IBB or KfW.
Howe­ver, the majo­rity of the inves­ted capi­tal flows into later growth finan­cing, in which foreign inves­tors in turn account for a signi­fi­cantly higher share, as they are able to raise larger funds and make indi­vi­dual invest­ments. Examp­les here are tradi­tio­nal growth funds such as Insight Ventures (Dawanda, Deli­very Hero, team­viewer, triv­ago) or, for some time now, even asset mana­gers who dare to make direct invest­ments. An outstan­ding exam­ple is Bail­lie Gifford, with her invest­ments in AUTO1, HelloFresh or Home24.

There are not many German growth inves­tors who are able to invest 50 million euros in a single company, proba­bly Lake­star and Holtz­brinck are the only ones at the moment. At a time when mega­funds are being raised inter­na­tio­nally (e.g. Softbank’s $100 billion fund), there is still a lot to be done to keep a larger share of the word crea­tion gene­ra­ted by German compa­nies in Germany. It must be said, of course, that Germans parti­ci­pate signi­fi­cantly in the success of inter­na­tio­nal inves­tors, either directly through fund invest­ments or indi­rectly through pension funds, insu­rance compa­nies or asset managers.

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