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Edition: July 2017
A VC based in Munich venturing across the Atlantic? Our appetite for North American companies dates back to our backing of ecommerce giants AbeBooks and Etsy amongst others and more recently companies like Chefs Plate, Clio, Eloquii, Mobify, and Tictail. A majority of these companies are based in Canada and the country is well on track to gain a strong reputation for being an entrepreneurial hotbed.

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Best regards
Jan-Gisbert Schultze
THE ACTON ANGLE

Investing in Canada

Why the Canadian startup ecosystem is poised for growth

by Hannes Blum, Acton's Venture Partner in North America

Being based in Canada for more than a decade, first as an entrepreneur myself - I exited my company AbeBooks to Amazon in 2008 - and more recently as a Venture Partner for Acton, I have observed the North American VC landscape for a fairly long time. I developed a knack for investing in Canadian businesses for reasons that align very much with our investment philosophy - growth driven by reason. The Canadian founders I met are charged with technical prowess, dedicated to create value and possess the drive to make a difference.

Humble mindset and reasonable valuations

For us, Canada combines the best of both worlds: As investors we like to stay away from momentum and hype but we’re excited about solid business models and reasonable valuations. Both can be found in Canada, which is still underserved by VC financing options. In addition to that, the country’s proximity to the U.S. makes it an ideal test market to build innovative companies: no language barriers, a stable market environment and access to the world’s largest domestic market. Thus, with good reason some Canadian startups can be described as hidden US champions. Even though the money is pouring in, Canada’s start-up scene remains by all means humble compared to its big brother in the U.S.

Canadian VC deals surge

The Canadian startup ecosystem is still young and less mature than its big brother in the U.S. In the past, the country lacked VC investment and less active M&A and IPO markets. But things are changing rapidly and the industry is maturing with the level of capital increasing on par with the investment base. As the U.S. has seen a slowdown in VC deals, Canada has seen a surge. The interest of U.S. based funds in Canadian companies is increasing as well. According to PitchBook data, Canadian private companies raised a whooping $881 million in the first quarter of 2016.
 
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PORTFOLIO NEWS

 DEALS.
Zenjob is a Berlin based full service on-demand staffing platform that wants to disrupt the market for temporary student labor: The company raised €3m in funding to accelerate growth and expand across Germany. The round was led by Acton and Redalpine with participation from 500 Startups and existing investor Atlantic Labs. Gründerszene

 INSIGHTS.
After the acquisition of RetNemt in Denmark last year, Linas Matkasse has now acquired Godtlevert in Norway. With this string of recent acquisitions the mealkit pioneer accelerates its profitable growth and underpins its market leadership in the Nordics. Exciting Commerce
Tictail featured in The New York Times: The company makes an argument for the world’s small creators: Tictail doesn’t bother with the specifics of its own platform and instead solely highlights makers and their goods - both online and offline. Check out their beautiful NY city dependance: NYT
Eloquii opened its first brick-and-mortar-store and it was a huge success. Why plus-size stores edging into brick-and-mortar matters? USA today has more insights into the merging of online and offline experiences in retail. USA TODAY
Mobify customer Lancôme wins Mobile Commerce Excellence Award. Built by mobile commerce leader Mobify, the new Lancôme Progressive Web App is increasing conversions by 17% for the world’s leading luxury beauty brand, an achievement that has not gone unheard: Mobify
Fintech Frontrunners: Our portfolio companies iwoca and Mambu are both ranked in the FinTech50. See who else made it to the list of European fintech success stories: FinTech50
AlphaSights has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in Europe by the Financial Times. The company has grown into a global leader in knowledge search and has become a household brand in the PE and consulting industries. FT
ACTON IN THE NEWS
S&P GLOBAL.

Aline Vedder comments on the topic EU Passporting for fintechs and takes a positive stance on fintech hubs outside of the U.K. Great Britain has always been ahead of Germany in terms of the regulatory environment, she said. But this might change slowly. SNL

ACTON ON STAGE.

Marcus Polke attended Slator Conference, the leading language industry conference in London, to provide a VCs perspective on the translations industry. Here’s a summary of his talk: Slator

VENTURE CAPITAL MAGAZIN.

Frank Seehaus talks insurtech and explains the value proposition of new upstarts in the field. He is certain that the biggest challenges for incumbents are yet to come. Venture Capital Magazin.

BERLIN VALLEY.

Jan-Gisbert Schultze spoke to Berlin Valley to introduce Acton and highlight which companies we’re looking for and why we aim for a balanced portfolio instead of pursuing a hit-driven investment approach. Interview.

 

VENTURE CAPITAL JOURNAL.

More European late-stage cash is available for investment. And that’s critical if promising companies are to scale quickly and become the global presence that rewards founders, investors and, ultimately, the entire venture ecosystem. Jan-Gisbert Schultze shares his insights into growth capital with the Venture Capital Journal.

DEUTSCHE STARTUPS.

Dominik Alvermann shares his route to becoming a VC and talks about the risks of overselling and the importance of critical self reflection. Interview

 

ACTON ON STAGE.

Frank Seehaus attended Exec Fintech and shared his thoughts on a panel about the future of online lending.

SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG.

Both sides of the table: Jan-Gisbert Schultze talks about risk capital and venture investing in Germany. Acton portfolio company Comatch also gets some airtime. SZ

HANDELSBLATT.

Fritz Oidtmann gave a lowdown on the right investment strategy, exaggerated valuations and the importance of having the right investor on board. Handelsblatt

ACTON TEAM
Dr. Aline Vedder
INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION.

Acton joins Invest Europe committee: Benedikt Sudbrock was appointed to join the Invest Europe Tax, Legal and Regulatory Committee. The TLRC supports Invest Europe in fulfilling its role as the voice of the European private equity industry. As new representative of Venture Capital Benedikt will review, comment on and contribute to the drafting of documents and policies and participate in discussions related to tax, legal and regulatory issues.

Fabian Gruner
PROMOTION.

We’re happy to announce that Dominik Alvermann, who joined our investment team in 2014 as Associate, was promoted to Principal. We’re excited to have him on board and look forward to many more deals and him sharing more Swabian delicacies with us.

MEET US
UPCOMING CONFERENCES.

Jan will attend the CFO dinner hosted by Gründerszene in Berlin, 6 July

Frank will speak at Tech Open Air in Berlin, 11-14 July

Frank will attend Fintech Week 7-14 July and Unbound Festival 19-20 July in London

Frank will attend DLD in Tel Aviv, 3-4 September

Frank will attend StartupNight in Berlin, 8 September

Frank will will attend dmexco in Cologne, 13-14 September

Aline, DominikFrank, Fritz, Sebastian & Paul-Bernhard will attend Bits & Pretzels, 24-26 September
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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Acton Capital Partners GmbH - Widenmayerstr. 29 - 80538 Munich - Germany

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