bm|t newsletter Q4 2020
It is surely an over-used adage that crises bring opportunity, but the year 2020 and the extraordinary determination and creativity that our Investee-Partners exhibited in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the deep importance of this saying. It was truly inspiring to see so many of our Investee-Partners quickly adapt to the difficult circumstances and find creative ways to directly combat the pandemic and continue to drive their companies forward.
In this Newsletter
Inspiring Innovations in the Face of COVID
Investee-Partner: rooom AG
Innovation: EXPO‑X (online event platform)
We all know that the pandemic quickly brought conferences and larger events to a screeching halt. At the start of the year, rooom, a software company focused on AR/VR/3D technology, had not even thought about this product, but the company quickly realized its expertise and tech stack would allow it to quickly build a virtual conference environment. EXPO‑X was created and it greatly enhanced the experience of digital events. bm|t benefited from this innovation not only as an investor but also as a customer, as Investor Days Thüringen (which we co-host with the STIFT), was the first event to use EXPO‑X, and it was a great success.
The IFA used EXPO‑X to invigorate its extremely large event, and this increased rooom’s visibility massively. This enhanced visibility greatly accelerated customer acquisition for the company´s core 3D software offerings, primarily for product marketing. Within a few months rooom went from not having conceived the EXPO‑X product prior to COVID-19 to having the product on the market and having it play a significant role in enabling conferences during the pandemic. This innovation was a catalyst to propel the entire company forward – that is powerful, turbo innovation at its finest!
Investee-Partner: InflaRx NV
Innovation: IFX‑1 for COVID-19 treatment
The news is packed with coverage about COVID-19 vaccines; however, it will certainly be important to have good treatment options as well for quite some time. InflaRx is developing its lead antibody, IFX‑1, for its role in inhibiting the inflammation cascade that is often the main cause of severe adverse effects (including death) from disease.
The company is primarily focused on dermatology indications, but it quickly recognized that IFX‑1 could potentially play a positive role in combating the deadly effects of the inflammation cascade for COVID-19 patients as well. InflaRx worked with the FDA to fast track IFX‑1 for severe COVID-19 induced pneumonia. The results of the phase III clinical trial should come shortly, and, we are hopeful that the results will be positive and that IFX‑1 treatment for COVID-19 patients will be a life-saving innovation.
Investee-Partner: Intercept GmbH
Innovation: Protective masks with polymerized copper-ion filters
Intercept’s core technology is the integration of polymerized copper-ions in multiple materials to prevent metal corrosion and mold on fabric or food during shipping and storage. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the company quickly realized that it could use its technology to produce protective masks with polymerized copper-ion filters to stop and deactivate the corona virus.
The company is also currently working on building its technology into air filtering products for enhanced safety in larger areas. We can personally attest that Intercept’s masks are excellent, and we greatly admire this innovation that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Investee-Partner: neuroCare Group
Innovation: Digital Onboarding of Clinicians
neuroCare is a unique company in the mental health space that provides a Digital Therapeutics (DTx) platform, proven in its own clinics across multiple countries and continents. Its DTx platform integrates neuromodulation technology and training to provide personalised therapy expressed in best clincial practice SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).
Historically, the company primarily conducted clinician onboarding physically in countries where its own clinics are located or its trainers travelled to customers. COVID-19 made travelling for trainers or large gatherings of clinicians from around the world impossible, so the company greatly accelerated its efforts to move the entire onboarding program online. Not only did this allow neuroCare to continue to train clinicians for treating mental health diseases, which sadly will be growing dramatically due to the effects of the pandemic, but the company started receiving requests from clinicians all over the world.
Refusing to be derailed by COVID-19 led neuroCare to an innovation that increased access to important mental health training and expanded its business reach.
This newsletter does not have ample space to share all the impressive examples of our Investee-Partners’ innovations in the face of COVID-19; however, we can confidently state that across the board our Investee-Partners have impressively met the challenge of COVID-19. These innovations are inspiring and keep us optimistic that we will recover from the pandemic and that human progress will continue on its great arc.
Your inspired and optimistic bm|t Team
Welcome to the Family
Vision2B has developed a digital health platform focused on helping people manage disease more easily and effectively by providing valuable information/feedback, increasing compliance with prescribed regimens, and facilitating physician-patient interactions. The company is initially focused on two large categories with high costs for society: diabetes and heart disease, and will be rolling out additional indications in the future. The digital health space, aided by new supportive regulation and reimbursement pathways in Germany, is booming. Vision2B sets itself apart from competitors through excellent clinical results in a rigorous, third-party administered trial and the strength of its platform, which has been developed over many years. bm|t was joined by MBG Thüringen and an experienced private investor from the healthcare administration sector in this seven-figure investment round focused on rapid market entry.
Revincus has developed an innovative method for conserving and reusing a large portion of the energy stored in hot or warm water. For single homes or larger residential buildings, the energy costs of heating water are quite significant. Revincus’ ingenius system extracts or reuses the heat energy from hot and warm greywater (water coming from showers, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.) that otherwise would have exited the building along with waste water. bm|t was joined by Sparkasse Jena and MBG Thüringen in this initial seven-figure investment round focused on finalizing the technology and bringing this promising and ecological product to market.
siOPTICA is a leading developer and supplier of switchable screen privacy-filter technology with many applications in automotive passengers displays, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and payment terminals. Data privacy is an extremely important topic, and siOPTICA is well-positioned to play an instrumental role in revolutionizing screen-based data privacy solutions. bm|t led this nearly two million euro round and was joined by Capital‑E from Belgium and several experienced business angels. The funds will be used to drive further industrialization and high-volume manufacturing of the company’s products, marketing, and R&D for future display technologies.
Influnate offers a patented and revolutionary technology in the field of social media payment. With Influnate’s technology, it is easy to send money directly within the comments section of social media platforms – truly the easiest way to send money globally, bar none. Influnate is currently integrated on Instagram, Twitter, Twitch (where live-stream usage of Influnate is growing exponentially in Germany) and Reddit with more platforms to follow. The company’s market entry strategy is initially focused on influencers and creators but Influnate also has its sights set on the global P2P payment space. bm|t was joined by MBG Thüringen and NT.AG in this seven-figure round focused on accelerating and managing rapid user growth.
Heyfair’s vision is to radically improve the use of hand disinfectant by making the coverage visible to the user and others. The company has strong IP around the addition of a special dye that makes hand disinfectant appear colorfully when applied and subsequently the color completely disappears within two minutes of application. Making the completeness (or lack thereof) of hand disinfectant application visible helps to ensure that medical staff sufficiently disinfect between each encounter with a patient. With the rise of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, it is imperative that medical practitioners have a tool to visibly verify and incentivize their actions to minimize the spread of disease in their hospitals and clinics. With this investment from bm|t and multiple experienced business angels Heyfair is well positioned to achieve its mission of reinventing hand sanitation.
Dashfactory possesses an innovative product to help protect bicycle riders from hit and run accidents. The company’s solution is a rear-mounted camera that is GDPR compliant because it only saves video material when the legally required distance of passing cars has been breached and the risk of an accident is established. The Dashbike dashcam can also generate urban and traffic data to assist in digitizing bicycle traffic for smart infrastructure planning. Dashfactory partners with cities to make a valuable contribution to safer bicycle infrastructure by providing data such as critical risk spots, frequented routes, and road conditions. The company’s founders are well networked in the tightly-knit world of cycling, which will allow for eased market entry for this innovative, life-protecting product that can also easily address tangential markets such as e‑scooters. bm|t, MBG Sachsen and a U.S. American Business Angel funded this round focused on production and initial sales.
bm|t Investment Statistics
In Q4, Startupdetector, a company that provides complete monitoring of early-stage investment activity in Germany, ranked bm|t as the 10th most active VC investor in Germany. This statistic is a testament to the strength of #ThüringenTechnology and is something for which we are especially grateful, given that the majority of our fourth quarter investing activity came from two recently initiated funds (one state-funded and one federal-funded) to combat the effects of COVID-19 on early-stage companies.
This strong fourth quarter was an excellent finish to a very active investment year for bm|t, in which 32 of our Investee-Partners completed financings. Of those financings, 21 were over seven figures – a record level of larger investment rounds for bm|t. For more information about our investment statistics in 2020 please see this press release.