Every business starts with an idea, that’s for sure. So far so good, but no business can be implemented without money. And as harsh as it may sound: there isn’t any magic and contrary to popular myth, nobody is waiting in the wings to throw money at you just because you have a new and exciting business idea. So, how then to find the money to start your business? Instead of collectively burying our heads in the sand, CODE_n examines three ways on how to fund your business.
At the beginning of every new year, the German startup website Für-Gründer.de takes a close look at all of the startup competitions being organized in Germany. When they first embarked on their annual endeavor, there were 124 such contests. Now that number has risen to over 163. A good 20,000 applications came flooding into the competition mailboxes in 2016. Of those, 756 startups received an award from an expert panel of judges. So it looks like startup competitions are groovy-groovy at the moment. Small wonder really: startups are fully aware of the benefits of taking part in a competition – above and beyond the obvious prize money.
Is it all just about the money?
What keeps all startup founders up at night? Knowing that nearly every second startup fails within three years. Then again, what gets them out of bed in the morning is to find out what makes them succeed! It is hard to predict, if a new business will thrive or sink, and you can’t tell by cold numbers. But there must be that certain something for some startups like Uber, Facebook or Airbnb do skyrocket. What are the success factors and the dos and don’ts for founders? Let’s find out!
CODE_n CONTEST Finalist Ginmon allows customers to invest money in a globally diversified portfolio based on proven scientific methods. Customers gain access to high returns while enjoying the low risk associated with broad investments in over 10,000 companies in 47 countries. The FinTech startup provides a transparent, all-inclusive solution that enables customers to understand their investments and give them the feeling their finances are in safe hands. How? That’s what CEO and founder Lars Reiner, told us in this interview.
What is Ginmon all about? How did you come up with the idea?
Lars: Ginmon is all about providing a modern and efficient personal wealth management. While working for one of biggest commercial banks in Germany I realized that proven scientific concepts were often not offered to customers. Those concepts are taught around the globe and proven many times. Banks do not offer products based on those concepts because they are very low margin and not as profitable as traditional products. Therefore to really profit from professional wealth management one has to study investment theory and do it himself or pay horrendous sums to personal wealth managers. Additionally it seemed to me that large companies could not or did not want to react and adapt to the possibilities digitalization provided. As a technology and innovation loving person I had a concrete idea about how customers could benefit from digitalization, but the established financial industry did not provide me with the right setting to implement those ideas. Finally the request of many friends and family members who were looking for a solution to build wealth efficiently triggered my decision to start Ginmon. To put it in a nutshell: I wanted to implement the ideas I had for digital wealth management, provide an investment concept which was up date only restricted to professionals and last but not least enable my friends and family members to build up wealth efficiently.
In our first interview with parkpocket, Karoline Bader, CFO of the future mobility startup, told us all about their initial idea and vision. A lot has happened since then: the team backing siblings Karoline and Stefan Bader worked hard; parkpocket celebrated a product relaunch today. Originally based in Munich, they grew immensely and recently opened a second office in Stuttgart, located in the CODE_n SPACES. This goes hand-in-hand with even bigger news: GFT, the initiator behind CODE_n, has invested in the startup once selected as finalist for the CODE_n15 CONTEST.
Around half a million – that’s the amount GFT invested in the startup with the parking solution; however, the bond between the young company and its investor goes beyond money. Ulrich Dietz, CEO of GFT and CODE_n initiator, believes that the parkpocket solution “will solve a very essential issue. An issue that millions of people face on a daily basis.” To Stefan Bader, CEO of parkpocket, Ulrich Dietz has taken on the role of a mentor: “For us, GFT is a partner and advisor, rather than just an investor,” he says. The relationship is also special in the sense that, while GFT has acquired quite a few firms in the past, this is its very first startup investment.
Embedded into the CODE_n Ecosystem
With the opening of an office in the CODE_n SPACES, parkpocket is automatically embedded into the CODE_n Ecosystem – even more so now than they were before. Although CODE_n has been set up as an international startup initiative, bringing in partners and know-how from all over the globe, being based in the CODE_n SPACES Stuttgart means: being close to Baden-Wuerttemberg’s strong industrial environment. As a future mobility startup, parkpocket will definitely be benefiting from the fact that the automotive industry is literally right around the corner.
What exactly is ‘angel investing’? What do angel investors expect of startups? How should startups position themselves to attract angels and get them excited about their business idea? The first ‘angel labs’ held in Germany – an in-depth workshop for angel investors which was held mid November at GFT in Stuttgart as part of the CODE_n EVENTS – gave us a chance to talk to experts about the role angel investors play during the formative beginning of a startup. The answers to our questions provided some interesting insights…
What exactly is an angel investor and how is this different from a venture capital (VC) investor?
Matthias Götz (through his company Wert8, Götz consults private individuals and companies on investing in startups):
In the traditional sense, an angel investor bridges the gap to the next round of financing. That is, when a company is founded it takes the first steps on its own and can soon determine whether the business model is sustainable without money from outside or whether third-party capital is necessary.
The moment I need outside funding, an angel investor is the first port of call. Angels are there and waiting in the local area, and in Germany there are far too few VC providers for startups to turn to when they need one. This is the gap that angels can fill. Thankfully we have a vast pool of enthusiastic angels, who have familiarised themselves with these issues. They look at the business model in the early days and potentially only fund this initial phase to then give the green light on maybe continuing with a VC investor. That said, we are noticing more and more that the VC investor isn’t even needed in the end. These days angels can bring in just as much money as VC funding.
What should I do if I have a startup and I want to attract attention from an angel investor?
Michael Brey – Corporate Communications at Econeers
The story behind Econeers
We have started Econeers in October 2013 as sister-platform of Seedmatch, the German market leader in crowdfunding for startups and partner of CODE_n. So we have transferred our experience as well as the proved concept of crowdfunding to the prospering field of renewable energies and sustainability. That was because we discovered large similarities between both concepts: The energy transition in Germany has been basically driven by civil investors right from the start. Almost 50 percent of the renewable energy facilities are paid with private money. Since 2001 over 880 energy cooperatives have been founded by citizens intending to strengthen their independence from large energy groups. So starting a new crowdfunding platform with a focus on clean energy projects in order to create an easier and more efficient way of civil participation was just a logical consequence for us. More…
Thibaut Loilier is in charge of Market Research for GFT. As author for CODE_n he shares his knowledge of the start-up business his time in Silicon Valley.
Thibaut Loilier is in charge of Market Research for GFT, member of the innovation team and author of GFT public whitepapers (Open Innovation, Mobile Banking, Mobile Payment and IT Trends). Before joining GFT, he worked as Business Strategy Analyst for BNP Paribas in San Francisco with responsibility for strategic analysis and relationship with Silicon Valley’s technology and innovation ecosystems (start-ups, academics, clusters…). He brings his experience within and knowledge of the start-up industry & ecosystem to the CODE_n initiative.
In the first post of this series “Building the Foundations for Big Data Success”, we introduced several companies that are addressing different software challenges posed by the world of big data, companies like Cloudera, Domo, Data Gravity, and Sqrrll. These companies are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg – the number of start-ups entering the big data marketplace is growing every day.
If you’ve been researching big data players, you may have come across the Big Data Startups Blog. On December 9th, the site published an eye-opening infographic showing the massive scale of investments being made by the new dedicated big-data VC funds in big data start-ups and the huge sums of money changing hands in big data IPOs and acquisitions. More…