With ABC Venture Gates we want to bring Munich onto the global startup map
Introduce yourself to the readers!
ABC Venture Gates is part of the Acceleration Business City founded 2015 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The ABC group is covering the whole startup lifecycle and is focusing on helping innovative startups grow and succeed globally.
Starting with the ABC Hub in Ljubljana, which is a place for young companies and startups that are eager to create a startup ecosystem within the region. The second stage is the ABC Accelerator where selected teams will join a 3+3 month intensive program to work 1-on-1 with mentors and coaches on their business and where they get their first investment. The third stage represents Munich, where international startups have an access to a launchpad of fast growth to the german market. Nearly 6 months ago, the Munich office opened it’s doors. The headquarter in Silicon Valley fulfills this circle as a global home for the best startups that have already raised investments and garnered market traction so are ready to become international unicorns.
What are your main tasks at ABC Venture Gates?
Located in the old airport where planes used to take off, we are now helping promising startups to take off here. Our main focus is on international startups in the growth stage. We help our startups to expand their business to Europe´s largest market and to build strong local teams. Excellent investor relationships to 100+ VCs and Business Angels in the DACH region, allow our startups to attract the necessary financial resources quickly. Together with strong partnerships with regional industry leaders, this will drive the business to a whole new level.
After 3 successful programs in Ljubljana, ABC VG is now in Munich.
Why exactly Munich?
Munich was the logical next step for us. First Munich has an incredibly strong advantage when it comes to technology-driven topics. It is an industrial, financial, tech and media hub. With the highest purchase power in Germany, Munich has a very strong B2C market. With headquarters of software companies like Google, Intel or Microsoft, it also has a very strong B2B market. With over 50 Venture Capital and Private Equity firms and 7 of the 30 DAX companies (Infineon Technologies AG, Linde AG, Munich Re AG, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Allianz, BMW, Siemens) it is not surprising, that according to the bavarian Wirtschaftsministerium startups in Munich have the highest survival rate within all federal states. Through the outstanding financially strong middle stand structure and unique federal-state public funds for all stages up to 100k, Bavaria is supporting the startups like no other state in Germany. With top universities around you have an access to highly talented people. Munich is also in the heart of Europe, and through the international airport very well connected. Bottom line, serious business is done here.
Whats behind ABC Venture Gates and which idea is behind it?
The four main heads behind ABC Venture Gates are Dejan Roljič, CEO ABC Global Home, the HQ in Silicon Valley and the whole ABC Group, Luka Planinc, Managing Director and startup lawyer, Grega Potokar, Co-Founder ABC Group and Start-up Scout as well as Jeff Burton, Board Member and Co-founder of EA Games.
The idea was formed a couple of years ago when we were in an Acceleration program ourselves with another business. The personal approach in this program was unfortunately completely missing, that’s why we went back to Slovenia and started the first Acceleration program at that time and the largest and most successful Accelerator in Southeast Europe now. Entirely according to our motto: When we invest, we invest in you. In the end, it’s the people who are making it happen.
How are the startups supported by you?
We provide accommodation through our startup house, an outstanding, loft-like office space, access to our global network and individually tailored services starting from 1.5k per month. Service can include effective go-to-market solutions, operational set-up, market research and analysis, business development, or investment and funding support. It depends on the needs particular startup because every idea requires a unique approach to scale it up. No equity is taken. You basically can come here and start working right away.
We also invest private capital. We are one of the few accelerators in the world who are completely independent, and we have our own VC fund which gives us a wide range of flexibility. So, in the end, every startup’s success here is our success as well.
What needs a startup to bring, to be successful with the program?
If you are prepared for an exciting, stressful but fun business expansion on the largest market in Europe, you have a very ambitious, passionate and high-performance team and you have secured the first investment round or are an accelerator alumni and therefore are in the growth stage then you are ready to break into the German market. You also have a validated business model, a proven market-fit product and your revenues are increasing? Then you should definitely join the ABC Venture Gates family because we don’t invest in business models, we invest in the people who make it happen!
What are the biggest mistakes that founders do when they search for an investor?
Startups many times see investors as bags of money. They are not. An investor should bring to a startup value that is much larger than just cash investment, such as connections to the industry, potential employees/managers, business and management advice, and a lot of other value. Investors have that in mind and will probably not invest if such synergies do not exist. Most importantly, referrals by trusted parties are extremely helpful.
How does the perfect pitch look?
I haven’t heard a perfect pitch yet, however, many came very close. A perfect pitch should give all relevant information about the business, must be presented with the right attitude and especially clearly show how an investor will make an outstanding ROI.
The business with extraordinary potential and an exceptional team behind it is. Pitch is there just to illustrate it.
Which book did you read the latest?
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. A remarkable biography about underprivileged boys that left their individual interests behind for an audacious team goal.
What are the next goals? Where is ABC VG going to?
With ABC Venture Gates we want to bring Munich onto the global startup map. We will bring the best growth-stage startups to Munich that will enhance the entire Bavarian and consequently German startup environment. Germany constantly needs new bright minds challenging status quo and building new business and other successes. ABC Venture Gates will be in the heart of this process, supporting founders with everything we have.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Da das lokale ABC Venture Gates Team langfristig das Office in München übernehmen und leiten wird, sehe ich mich eine weitere ABC Story irgendwo auf der Welt kreieren und vielen weiteren jungen Entrepreneuren dabei helfen, das nächste Level zu erreichen.
3 tips that you would like to give to startups
– Focus on your business and don’t get distracted by irrelevant things
– Listen to your customers (unless you are Steve Jobs level visionary)
– Keep having fun while working
More information you will find here
Thank you Luka Planinc for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.