Conclusion: Venture Capital – does it still work?
…finishing of my post series in regards to VC industry changes …
Will prices for start-ups significantly change?
In my opinion most start-ups will continue to raise the necessary funds in Germany. Firstly, venture capital never played a significant role here and secondly a large range of new capital sources have been developed over the last years. Corporate investors have become much more active and crowd funding offers a new way to raise initial proof of concept financing. Universities and government agencies have also been offering additional financing sources. So I believe that in terms of start-up financing there will not be a significant impact from the declining venture capital funding. Internationally, this will probably be a different story.
But what does it mean for valuations? Again I believe that most German start-ups would not have been sold/continued financing rounds to/with VC funds in any case. Trade exits are the normal route to go for start-ups here and most corporates are not only willing to invest in start-ups but have been allocating significant amounts of capital. In terms of pricing I also believe that Germany is looking at incredibly low valuations anyhow and that equity markets are not an exit route for start-ups due to depressed listing outlooks. Hopefully corporate capital availability will actually help to increase pricing levels here.
In my experience …
Overall, I believe that corporates will play a significantly larger role in the German start-up scene than VCs ever had, have and will. The OTTO Group alone has an early phase incubator (Liquid Labs http://www.liquidlabs.de/), later stage incubator (Project A http://www.project-a.com/) and a later stage VC funding partner (eVentures http://www.eventures.vc/). Most other large German corporates are following this trend and are establishing their own teams.
In addition, I am pretty sure that we will start to see an increasing number of more specialized incubators that offer additional guidance and support as well as follow-up funding through corporate buyers. Here an interesting trend from the US are specialized healthcare incubators like Rockhealth or Medstartr.
“Rockhealth is one of the growing incubators in the healthcare industry. They help teams with venture capital, advice and their network to find proper healthcare business models & help to scale them. The startup industry is just starting to innovate around healthcare and those incubators are likely to be in the centrum of this development.” http://rockhealth.com/
These significantly more specialized funds will take over start-up financing and provide industry trade buyers for growing start-ups. Entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business should therefore forget about impressing VCs and start building their corporate contact network.