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Three wishes for a healthy startup year in 2018

2017 was a very successful year for High-Tech Gründerfonds. We managed major exits, such as Rigontec GmbH in the amount of 465 million euros – but that’s not all. We also started our third fund, with 28 private-sector investors and an estimated volume of 310 million euros, which will allow us to invest more flexibly and more in line with the market.

But even though we can look back contentedly on a successful year, there are still a few wishes to be granted. They have less to do with Father Christmas and more to do with Germany as a base for startups:

  1. More attention to the startup community in Europe and Germany:

Every day, we read reports about the latest developments from Silicon Valley. More and more often, digital decision-makers from renowned companies are travelling to California for inspiration and coming back full of enthusiasm from the startups there. For 2018, we wish for the success stories in Europe and Germany to gain more attention. The German startup community is healthy, innovative, successful – and still underestimated. Entrepreneurs like Dr Claudia Ulbrich from Cardior, Jochen Schwill from Next Kraftwerke and Lea Lange from Juniqe work together with our investment managers to show how innovation works just as excellently here in this country.

  1. More courage for entrepreneurs – and female entrepreneurs in particular!

Nevertheless, Europe is still lagging behind North America and even Asia in one aspect: the number of entrepreneurs. While 13 percent of the adult population there are entrepreneurs, here it is only an estimated 7.8 percent according to the European Startup Monitor. In our opinion, there is no shortage of good ideas and clever thinkers – but a shortage of the courage to take a step towards becoming an entrepreneur. Next year, we would like to see more of this – and will of course actively support entrepreneurs, in particular those who are just starting out on their path, not only with money and our vast, international network, but also predominantly as a constant sparring partner. And when it comes to the fact that we need more female role models, Chiara Sommer and Lea Lange got straight to the point in extensive interviews with Startup-Valley and the Netzpiloten.

  1. (Even) More bridges between the Old and New Economy.

The trend is very pleasing: we have observed that a growing number of medium-sized enterprises, such as STIHL, and larger companies are seeking to collaborate with startups. They function as innovation hubs, rejuvenators, catalysts and cooperation partners. However, the fear of being overtaken or even supplanted by startups is constantly flashing up, in some industries more so than in others. Those industries in particular, in which the fear of disruption was especially high, have shown that it does not have to be “us” against “them”. In already developed organisational structures, innovation is not always so easy. Young companies do not have the market access they need for long-term success. This is untapped potential that will hopefully be better utilised next year!

Granting all of these wishes is certainly a lot to ask of 2018 – the year barely begins and yet there is already so much expected of it. At the end of the day, only one thing is really important: health. And the German startup community is definitely already healthy.

Let’s work together to keep it that way!

Dr. Michael Brandkamp, Managing Director High-Tech Gründerfonds