Monday, January 02, 2012

Bye-bye 2011, hello 2012

It's that time of the year – you're looking back to the old year and you're reviewing your plans for the new one. The last year was very busy for me, both privately and professionally. I became a dad for the third time, and I teamed up with Team Europe to create Point Nine Capital. Two startups, so to speak.

It's also a good time to take a look at my angel investments because from now on I'm going to make all new investments via Point Nine Capital. Last year I wrote a series of small portfolio review postings. This time I'd like to post some aggregated (vanity?) stats about my investment activity in 2011:

  • I've made 14 new investments in 2011, which brings the total number to 28
  • The new investments are: Lieferheld and Delivery Hero, Server Density, Fundly, Westwing, Shiftplanning, FinanceaCar, Vend, ChicChickClub, Unbounce, Cibando and 3 investments which haven't been announced yet
  • Out of these, 10 were co-investments with Team Europe / Point Nine (see, we dated extensively before we got married)
  • Before 2011 I've had 2 write-offs. In 2011 there were 0 write-offs, which means that the total number of active investments is 26.
  • 15 of "my" companies did follow-on rounds at higher valuations in 2011 (some of these rounds were internal rounds, but most were external)
  • My ROI (on paper) stands at a little over 5x if you use the last rounds' valuations as the estimated fair-market value. If you try to factor in the increase in valuation since some of these last rounds, which in some cases happened over a year ago, it's probably closer to 8-10x.
  • No exits yet (but two small secondary sales, which together returned about 25% of the total amount I invested)

My portfolio is way too young to draw any final conclusions but it's obviously looking very good so far. Huge thanks go to all the incredibly talented and hard-working people at each of the 26 companies. Have a great New Year!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

We came, saw and... invested

Our last investment in the old year is a novelty for us – our first investment in a startup from Italy. Founded by 23 year old entrepreneur Guk Kim, Cibando operates a popular iPhone app that makes it easy to find the best restaurants in Rome, Milan, Florence and other Italian cities.

What makes this significant (beyond its obvious significance for Cibando and for us) is that this is one of only a very small number of VC investments in Italy. So significant, at least, that the news got covered by TechCrunch and also made it to the online frontpage of Corriere della Sera, one of Italy's oldest and most reputable daily newspapers!

To say that Italy's early-stage funding ecosystem is underdeveloped is probably an understatement, at least that's what I've heard in the last few months. Not that it's that great in Germany, although with the rise of Berlin as Europe's new tech hub it's hopefully getting better. But in Italy it seems to be much worse – so bad that many of the serious Internet entrepreneurs from Italy leave their country to raise money elsewhere.

It might seem odd that we as a Berlin-based VC invest in Italy, but part of our strategy is to be somewhat location-agnostic. While the majority of our portfolio companies are based in Germany or Poland (homeland of Pawel and Lukasz) we're open to investing in other European countries and even outside of Europe. In fact, some of the best investments that Point Nine Capital (and/or I as an angel investor) made were in pretty unusual locations: myGengo (founded in Tokyo), Vend (founded in New Zealand), Zendesk (founded in Copenhagen) or Clio (founded in Western Canada) are great examples. Some of these companies later moved part or their operations to the US or even relocated completely, but that's another story.

Back to Cibando. You simply draw a circle on a map to select how far you’re willing to drive and select your preferred restaurant category. Cibando then lists the best restaurants that match your requests, along with reviews, mouth-watering photos and other helpful information. Think of it as a mobile version of Yelp or Qype but with several special twists. Buon appetito!