3 questions to smart minds

Rejuvenation Biotech in Germany/EU

For this 3 questions to Matthias Hornberger

Kizoo Tech­no­logy Capi­tal in Karlsruhe
Photo: Matthias Hornberger
5. August 2019

The topic of “Inno­va­tive Ecosys­tem Biotech­no­logy” is one of its own in Germany. So is the extre­mely exten­sive regu­la­tory regime. Both cultu­ral assump­ti­ons such as the “inno­va­tion mind­set” and histo­ri­cal perspec­ti­ves still have a limi­ting effect. This shows that a considera­ble effort is requi­red to keep up with the diver­sity of inno­va­tions internationally.
VC firm KIZOO — funded by Michael Greve, former co-foun­­der of — has adopted a new focus: Acce­le­ra­ting Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech.

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Matthias Horn­ber­ger, Part­ner and CFO at Kizoo Tech­no­logy Capi­tal in Karls­ruhe, Germany

1. KIZOO has a new focus, Acce­le­ra­ting Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech, after inves­t­ing in High Tech and High Growth. How did this come about and what are the condi­ti­ons for it in Germany/EU?

We have been entre­pre­neurs, VCs and mentors of high-growth high-tech and biotech compa­nies for many years. After nume­rous exits, combi­ned with massive value crea­tion for the foun­ders, we bring this expe­ri­ence to the emer­ging world of Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech — a fled­gling indus­try that will even­tually be much larger than any previous tech­no­logy market.

The focus on Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech’s forward-looking field began more than 10 years ago. Mean­while, as part of the Fore­ver Healthy Group, Kizoo supports actively foun­ding start­ups that trans­late rese­arch into the causes of aging into thera­pies and services for people. Fore­ver Healthy’s other initia­ti­ves include evalua­ting new new reju­ve­na­tion thera­pies, evidence-based rese­arch of world-leading medi­cal exper­tise, funding rese­arch on the root causes of aging.

- It is incon­ceiva­ble to us that this emer­ging indus­try should take place exclu­si­vely in Ameri­can and Asian markets. In Europe, there are future custo­mers, as well as globally active phar­maceu­ti­cal compa­nies and nume­rous univer­si­ties, and in Germany the Max Planck Society, which are also invol­ved in basic rese­arch rele­vant to aging.

2. To support the Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech sector and provide rese­ar­chers with better access to finan­ciers, Kizoo has laun­ched its own event. When was that and what is the program?

Laun­ched by us in 2018, the Undo­ing Aging Confe­rence focu­ses its program on cellu­lar and mole­cu­lar repair of age-rela­ted damage as the basis for deve­lo­ping thera­pies to bring aging under full medi­cal control.

After a successful start of the 2018 confe­rence in Berlin with renow­ned biotech­no­logy, cell and medi­cal rese­ar­chers from major univer­si­ties, this year’s confe­rence was again a great success with more than 500 parti­ci­pa­ting scien­tists and StartUp entre­pre­neurs from over 30 count­ries. In addi­tion to Germany, the majo­rity of confe­rence visi­tors came from the USA, Great Britain, Russia and the Nether­lands, who were able to exch­ange infor­ma­tion about their respec­tive areas of exper­tise and attend over 40 presen­ta­ti­ons over a period of three days.

The Scien­ti­fic Advi­sory Board is chai­red by British bioin­for­ma­ti­cian Dr. Aubrey de Grey, CSO of the SENS Rese­arch Foun­da­tion. The exten­sive and inter­na­tio­nal program of the three-day confe­rence is being deve­lo­ped in coope­ra­tion with the Fore­ver Healthy Foundation.

At the upco­ming “Undo­ing Aging Confe­rence”, which will take place in Berlin from May 21 — 23, 2020, we will for the first time expli­citly invite Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech start­ups to meet inves­tors or indus­try colla­bo­ra­tion partners.

3. Who is behind Kizoo? How do you assess the deve­lo­p­ment of the biotech sector in Germany and Europe in the near future?

There are four people behind Kizoo. In addi­tion to Michael Greve*), Frank Schü­ler and myself have been active in the manage­ment since the company was foun­ded. Most recently, Kizoo has been streng­the­ned by Patrick Burger­meis­ter, who joined from venture capi­tal group BioMedPartners.

*) Michael Greve and his brot­her Matthias were the foun­ders of and are among the most successful foun­ders in the German-spea­king Inter­net world. After successfully selling his compa­nies, Michael foun­ded the early stage inves­tor Kizoo, he is the fund sponsor .

A biotech sector has of course exis­ted in Europe for many years, inclu­ding an eco-system with the large phar­maceu­ti­cal compa­nies as an important finan­cing engine. — The new field of biotech reju­ve­na­tion, on the other hand, is still young. In a figu­ra­tive sense, we are just after the big bang. The market for reju­ve­na­tion biotech­no­logy in Europe with 750 million people will be huge. In our esti­ma­tion, we are only a few seconds after the big bang of the emer­gence of this huge market. One can ask ones­elf how much money e.g. 10 addi­tio­nal healthy years of life might be worth to one? I suspect for most people this value would exceed the equi­va­lent of a cell phone, curr­ently Apple Inc, one of the most valuable compa­nies in the world.

Europe will play a role in therapy deve­lo­p­ment and we will do our part with Kizoo over the next few years to support Euro­pean start­ups, even though our initial Reju­ve­na­tion Biotech port­fo­lio compa­nies are almost exclu­si­vely U.S.-based.

About Matthias Hornberger

Matthias is CFO of Kizoo. He has been part of the Group’s manage­ment team since went public in 2000. With his many years of expe­ri­ence in the invest­ment sector and his compre­hen­sive know­ledge of what makes successful busi­ness models, he is a compe­tent cont­act for young foun­ders. Last but not least, Matthias brings exten­sive cont­acts in the high-tech indus­try and a variety of local and natio­nal networks.
Before joining the AG, he worked for various invest­ment banks. He studied busi­ness admi­nis­tra­tion at the univer­si­ties of Mann­heim and Toronto (Dipl.-Kfm.).

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