In our latest Meet The Investor interview we speak to Christian Teichmann, Managing Director of Burda Principal Investments. Christian is a venture capitalist driven by curiosity and a daily quest for the “next big thing'” in the competitive world of fundraising.
He talks to AIN about the exciting sectors gaining his interest, the common mistakes founders make, how preparation is key and why startups should raise more capital than they think they need.
Why did you become an investor?
I am a highly curious person and, as a VC investor, I have the opportunity to come across the next big thing every day. It excites me every morning to think about what will succeed, what constitutes a business and what is merely a feature.
Once you’ve invested in a company, the great part is working with the founders. It’s about building their business in alignment with the initial thesis we formulated together at the beginning. And last but not least: generating a return for our investors. It’s what drives us every day.
What are the most exciting sectors gaining your interest at the moment?
It’s certainly AI right now, but beyond that, fintech in Southeast Asia, space data combined with AI and machine learning. Additionally energy and innovative materials are sectors we’re keeping a close eye on.
How should startups and scale ups approach fundraising in the present climate?
Not any different than in the past! They should have a well thought through equity story with matching and supporting numbers and KPIs. I also expect high but feasible goals and a well rehearsed presentation. Another aspect that is always relevant is that they, the founders, really need to make the time and space for the investor meetings.
What is the most common mistake young businesses make in their fundraising journey?
Two things come to mind: The first is not being well prepared. The second is not being ambitious enough and not raising enough money.
What are the common traits of the successful business founders you have supported?
They try to be “cheap”, meaning they try to build successful businesses with very lean organisations.
What are the most important factors for you in deciding which companies to back?
When we invest in a company, it’s the completeness and track record of the team that’s important. We also look at earned trading and their focus on building a business with a clear differentiation that sets them apart.
If you could offer just one piece of advice to a young startup, what would it be?
My advice would be: Raise more capital than you actually think you need while focusing on building an efficient organisation.
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