Small rays of hope from the industry

Small rays of hope from the industry

Dhe German venture capital industry, which has fallen into a gloomy mood, offers two small rays of hope. After a good two years and more than two dozen investments in Germany, the financier Antler is expanding its local presence: As Antler partner Christoph Klink told the FAZ, the company is opening an office in Munich – as a second location next to Berlin, where it entered the German market at the end of 2020.

The venture capitalist Matterwave Industrial announces – also in the FAZ interview – the first milestone for a new technology fund with a target volume of 130 million euros. More than 75 million euros in capital commitments have already been collected, said Matterwave partners Robert Gallenberger and Benedikt Kronberger. The investor emerged in early 2022 from the industrial technology team of venture capitalist btov.

Unprecedented frustration

The news comes at a time of near-unprecedented frustration judging by the business climate in the industry. The industry association BVK and the development bank KfW regularly survey investors, and their mood barometer shows a low like it was last twenty years ago, apart from the brief corona shock at the beginning of 2020. The two organizations cite the reluctance of investors from the United States, the bankruptcy of the crypto exchange FTX and the temporary expiry of public subsidies as reasons for this.

The flow of funds is also flagging: According to data from the statistics service provider CB Insights, after an interim high in the summer, private equity companies and other investors invested a total of 1.7 billion dollars in a total of 183 transactions in the fourth quarter. Both readings were the lowest in a quarter since the end of 2020.

Munich next to Berlin

Nevertheless, Antler, founded in Singapore in 2017, is now opening its Munich office. The investor participates in young companies in their early phase – with seed capital right at the beginning up to the third major financing round. The focus is on companies that serve other companies (business-to-business, B2B). Climate, financial and health technology are focal points.

Since 2021, the venture capitalist has made 27 investments in Germany. “I assume for 2023 that we will do another thirty,” said Klink. “Maybe a bit more in 2024.” So far, the spectrum has ranged from the car sales platform Gomoto to the carbon storage company Neocarbon and the fintech Tapline, through which the company raises capital.

The investor currently operates 26 locations around the world. According to his own statements, he chose Munich as another because of the rich entrepreneurial and university environment, with the associated high concentration of specialists with technical skills. The declared goal is to track down future “unicorns” in the technology sector in Munich, i.e. companies valued at billions.

At an early stage

Matterwave is also targeting early-stage companies with its second fund generation, the “Matterwave Industrial Technologies II” pot. It is intended to feed investments in companies for industrial technology throughout Europe. Gallenberger cited the 3D printing and robotics segments as examples. The donors include large institutional investors such as the European Investment Fund, the LfA Förderbank Bayern, the NRW-Bank, as well as foundations, family asset managers (family offices) and industrial companies; ZF Ventures, Zeiss Ventures and a unit of the Montan Foundation Saar have pledged money. The fund, which has a term of ten years, is to make its first investments in the first half of this year and feed a total of 20 to 25 investments. The predecessor fund with a volume of EUR 100 million has invested in 21 companies over the past four years, including in France, Benelux, Ireland and the German-speaking countries.

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