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Edition: January 2018
Growth stage VCs are usually not the obvious candidates to surprise with bold forecasts and grand vision. In fact, the predictive part of the job is often ascribed to our colleagues in the early- and seed-stage space. Later stage investing requires the stamina to select from a plethora of grand ideas the business models that prove to be sustainable winners and impact our daily lives beyond quick trends and hypes. Consequently, we’ll refrain from making predictions but focus on the themes that will dominate our investment agenda in the year to come.

If you haven't received our last newsletter, you can find it here.

Best regards
Jan-Gisbert Schultze
THE ACTON ANGLE

A Growth Stage VC Agenda for 2018

by Aline Vedder, Director of Communications at Acton

AI — So obvious it gets a double mention

Founders have spent the last year sprucing up their pitch decks with terms like artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI is disrupting just about every industry, even venture capital itself. We’re intrigued by the application potential of AI and will dig even deeper in the new year.

It started already this year — AI, machine learning and smart tech, like smart contracts or smart bots dominated the markets. For 2018, I expect not only the proliferation of those initiatives but already strong impact on business models. As this is all about data to understand and serve customers better, this is a strong chance for nimble companies to attack incumbents, and to (re-)disrupt markets. — Frank Seehaus

I will be looking at Artificial Intelligence and how it is and will be applied in business processes, data mining and better understanding customers. What kind of progress will be made and which companies will be able to substantially go beyond buzz wording and achieve impressive results? — Fritz Oidtmann

Sci-Tech — Innovation at the intersection of science and tech

The US has a long tradition of nurturing a strong tech ecosystem with a multitude of university-backed VC funds and a positive stance towards entrepreneurial endeavors of university alumni. But Europe catches up. A growing number of startups operate business models that are based on scientific insights or originate from academic contexts.

As a former scientist I get excited about startups at the intersection of science and technology. While these fields have once been isolated from each other in Europe, I can now see the emergence of a thriving ecosystem around academic institutions like TU and LMU Munich. Markets like the digital health or data science sector need founders with strong scientific premise, deep expertise in AI and algorithmic thinking.  — Dr. Aline Vedder

Blockchain  —  A boon for consumer goods

Blockchain is still in its infancy and many people are uncertain about its potential considering the vague definition of application and business opportunities. But innovation is happening rapidly. 2018 we’ll be hunting for startups using blockchain to build tech infrastructure.

I’m also curious whether we will see more real life applications of blockchain technology evolving in 2018 outside of the hype of cryptocurrencies. I’ve started to study more and more the potential benefits of the underlying technology and look forward to seeing innovation evolve where blockchain technology will significantly reduce transaction costs in certain industries.  — Dr. Hannes Blum

 
READ MORE
PORTFOLIO NEWS

DEALS.
Zenjob
Chefs Plate
We are happy to announce Chefs Plate's close of $10M in new funding. Chefs Plate is Canada's leader in the booming meal kit delivery market. The company plans to use the funding to invest in its technology, hiring, automation of the company’s centres in Toronto and Vancouver, and supporting its supply chain. Betakit

INSIGHTS.
Tictail
We invest in growth: Acton portfolio companies HomeToGo and COMATCH are among Germany's 10 fastest growing tech companies. Gruenderszene
Tictail
Recommerce on the rise: Momox employs more than 1000 people and generates revenues of more than 150 million euros. Momox CEO Heiner Kroke commented on the global recommerce trend as well as growth plans. FashionUnited
Tictail
Applied translations technology: Portfolio company tolingo supports Germany’s Mittelstand in succeeding globally. Some insights into the tech enabled translations industry. Slator
Tictail
Financial institutions find themselves under pressure following continuous innovation enabling new challengers, changing consumer preferences and increasing scrutiny from regulators. Mambu CEO Eugene Danilkis on the fintech trends he’s watching in 2018. Bankless Times
Tictail
Knowledge on demand: The future of work is changing rapidly and with it the ways we inform ourselves and share expertise. AlphaSights is transforming the way knowledge work gets done. Watch their 100 seconds recap video. Youtube
ACTON IN THE NEWS

MUNICH STARTUP.

“The Munich startup scene is more quiet than its equivalent in Berlin. The focus is different as well. The majority of startups in Berlin are consumer focussed. In Munich you can find more B2B innovation and the courage to invest in technology.” Dr. Christoph Braun comments on the Berlin / Munich bias. Munich Startup


COMAG.

"We don’t believe in growth by all means." Sebastian Wossagk was interviewed for Comag. He speaks about his main criteria for an investment, what inspires him most as a VC as well as his investment in management consultant platform Comatch and the changing face of the consulting industry. COMAG


DLD.

"Platforms become 'winner-takes-it-all' models when they become successful", Dr. Jan Gisbert Schultze at DLD 2018 together with Onefootball's Lucas von Cranach, amuse's Diego Farias and Hotnest's Fabian von Heimburg. Watch the Video here.


STARTUP DAY'N'NITE.

Dr. Christoph Braun attended Burda Bootcamp’s Startup Day’n’Nite. Together with Jennifer Lachman (Xing News), Stefan Winners (Burda) and Markus Englert (Texas Atlantic Capital) he discussed the dynamics between startups and investor and the importance of humor when pitching your company. SDNN

ACTON TEAM
We’re happy to announce two new additions to our team: David Fischer and Julius Lühr have joined Acton as analysts, supporting our team in deal sourcing, due diligence and portfolio work. Happy to have you on board, Julius and David!

DAVID FISCHER.

In his former life, David played handball on a competitive level and graduated with a bachelor degree in business administration from WHU. He acquired first work experience at Koio, an early-stage direct to consumer shoe start-up and while working for a fast-growing deep tech B2B multicore solution business. During his school years, David founded a service agency with a focus on sales-promotion. LinkedIn


JULIUS LÜHR.

Born in Hamburg and having lived in Sweden for some years, Julius is very fond of the Nordics. Julius joins Acton after completing his studies at Stockholm School of Economics and the University of St. Gallen and stints at Rocket Internet, Axel Springer, Cavalry Ventures and Northzone. The finance major likes to combine his natural curiosity with the sound analysis of business fundamentals. Julius just handed in his rather theoretical Master’s thesis titled “A Short Walk on Wall Street”, where he examines the effects of the exposure of a company to short selling and M&A quality. We're happy to have you back in the real world, Julius! LinkedIn

MEET US
UPCOMING CONFERENCES.

Benedikt will attend Invest Europe’s Tax, Legal and Regulatory Committee Meeting in Brussels, 1 February.

Frank will speak at 0100 Conference in Vienna, 15 February. 

Fritz will attend Cashwalk in Munich, 20 February.

Frank & Fritz will attend Mobile World Congress and 4YFN in Barcelona, 26-28 February.

Aline, Christoph, Christina & Jan will attend SuperReturn and SuperVenture conference in Berlin, 26 February - 1 March.

Frank will attend Internet World EXPO in Munich, 6-7 March.

Christoph will attend Tengelmann e-day, 15 March.

Dominik and Julius will attend Start Summit in St. Gallen, 15-16 March.

Fritz will attend EY Startups meet Investors in Düsseldorf, 19 April.
Any questions, thoughts or comments? Specific topics that you’d like us to comment on? Feel free to drop us an email or to stop by our Munich office for coffee.
FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER

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