How did you become a venture capitalist, and why?
The red line through my professional life is my interest in new technologies: starting with research in optoelectronics during my PhD, bringing the first security ICs to the market at Infineon and the chance to be a co-founder and CEO of a corporate-internal startup in RFID. Once infected with the startup ‚virus‘ I couldn‘t let go – so I’ve been a VC since 2001 with financial as well as corporate Funds. The ‘why’ is easy: what could be more interesting than working with the brightest minds and entrepreneurs who want to implement their ideas and make an impact?
How can you help founders and startup teams succeed?
My motivation is to be a real sparring partner for the entrepreneurs. While I certainly will not have answers to all questions, I am a good listener and I have gathered some experience along the way. This comes from investments in more than 25 companies and taking part in more than 15 exits, from super short turn-arounds to classic acquisitions by big corporates or PE sponsors and one IPO. My portfolio companies were in phases of 5 to 500 staff and headquartered in Germany, France, UK, Israel, Estonia as well as the US. So, chances are, I have already heard some of your questions about developing your startup and can connect you to other entrepreneurs who have mastered the challenges before.
Which technologies and sectors are you mostly interested in?
My focus is in the broader cyber security area: how to master the ever-increasing cyber challenge across heterogenous infrastructures, steadily growing signals while facing a shortage of experts. Mastering fraud in FinServ is another focus as well as dealing with big data / AI in a compliant way.
What do you do in your free time?
Outdoor sports, architecture & travelling and music (I need to re-activate my Saxophone…)