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bm|t newsletter Q3 2021

This year our Investee-Part­ners have achieved an impres­sive num­ber of part­ner­ships with cor­po­rates and cor­po­rate VCs (Blockchains Inc. acquir­ing evan.network; Evonik acquir­ing JeNa­Cell; and KION mak­ing a large strate­gic invest­ment and cement­ing a com­mer­cial part­ner­ship with ifesca), which we believe were all excel­lent ways for our Investee-Part­ners to take their busi­ness to the next level.  Nat­u­rally, all this activ­ity with cor­po­rate investors and part­ners led us to ana­lyze when and under what cir­cum­stances it is advan­ta­geous for inno­v­a­tive young com­pa­nies to enter a deep rela­tion­ship with a corporate.

In this Newsletter 

Going Corporate

Most newly founded com­pa­nies ini­tially want to go it alone and aim to blaze their own trail to ulti­mate suc­cess. Gen­er­ally, some­where along this adven­tur­ous and fre­quently ardu­ous jour­ney, it often becomes clear that the path to mak­ing a major dent in the world would be sig­nif­i­cantly short­ened by part­ner­ing with oth­ers that have spe­cial assets which can bring the ulti­mate goal closer, such as prod­uct devel­op­ment exper­tise, com­ple­men­tary offer­ings (see our Newslet­ter about enabling prod­ucts here), mar­ket access, deep pock­ets, etc.

Of course, for young com­pa­nies, find­ing well-suited part­ner­ships is not as easy as snap­ping one´s fin­gers. In addi­tion to pos­sess­ing an attrac­tive inno­va­tion, young com­pa­nies need to build a solid foun­da­tion that engen­ders trust from larger cor­po­ra­tions, which will always be weigh­ing the poten­tial ben­e­fits of coop­er­a­tion against the risks to their busi­ness that a part­ner­ship can intro­duce. Prob­a­bly the most del­i­cate bal­ance start-ups must mas­ter is advanc­ing their devel­op­ment at light­speed while also estab­lish­ing the struc­ture, reli­a­bil­ity, dis­ci­pline, and secu­rity that are essen­tial pre­req­ui­sites for engag­ing in sin­cere dis­cus­sions with larger cor­po­rate part­ners. Inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies that do this well are able to estab­lish proof-of-tech­nol­ogy, proof-of-mar­ket, and proof-of-com­pat­i­bil­ity with strate­gic part­ners seam­lessly along their journey.

For young com­pa­nies that man­age this bal­ance and become attrac­tive for cor­po­rates, deter­min­ing the right time to sac­ri­fice par­tial (or com­plete) auton­omy for enhanced chances of suc­cess by gain­ing access to these spe­cial cor­po­rate assets is rarely crys­tal clear. How­ever, a gen­eral rule is that a part­ner­ship only makes sense when the com­bined forces dra­mat­i­cally increase the impact that a prod­uct or solu­tion can have in the world. There will inevitably be fric­tions involved in shar­ing the steer­ing wheel, so it is impor­tant that the ben­e­fits are large and clear in order to keep every­one dri­ving toward the shared goal.

Ulti­mately, a busi­ness´ value should be deter­mined by its pos­i­tive impact on soci­ety and join­ing forces with a cor­po­rate part­ner can often be the best way for inno­va­tions to drive mean­ing­ful change and thus cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant value. We are extremely pleased with the three excel­lent part­ner­ships with cor­po­rates that our Investee-Part­ners achieved so far this year, pre­cisely because we are cer­tain that in each case even greater value cre­ation lies ahead.

Your bm|t Team


Evonik has fully acquired Jena-based biotech com­pany JeNa­Cell, expand­ing its bio­ma­te­ri­als port­fo­lio to pro­vide biotech­no­log­i­cally derived cel­lu­lose. JeNaCell’s port­fo­lio will be inte­grated into Evonik’s health care busi­ness and will accel­er­ate Evonik´s Nutri­tion & Care division´s shift towards sys­tem solu­tions and expand the company´s plat­form of nat­ural mate­ri­als for med­ical technology.

We are extremely pleased with this exit, as JeNa­Cell and the impact its unique prod­ucts have on the world will cer­tainly be greatly enhanced by a mul­ti­tude of Evonik´s cor­po­rate assets. This invest­ment and exit were espe­cially mean­ing­ful as we were joined by many of our most impor­tant and fre­quent co-investors: HTGF, Sparkasse Jena, and the STIFT. We all wish JeNa­Cell well for its bright future with Evonik!

More infor­ma­tion about this excel­lent exit can be found here.

Welcome to the Family

It is no secret that med­ical robot­ics is a red-hot space and that inno­va­tions which improve patient out­comes while alle­vi­at­ing stress on the health­care sys­tem have tremen­dous poten­tial. tediro GmbH, from Ilme­nau, is devel­op­ing a mobile robot­ics plat­form for ther­apy and diag­nos­tics in med­ical facil­i­ties that accom­plishes both goals. The com­pany has already pro­gressed quite far in the devel­op­ment of its first appli­ca­tion: a mobile patient assis­tance robot for reha­bil­i­ta­tion train­ing with an ini­tial focus on post-oper­a­tive gait train­ing. bm|t led this seven-fig­ure ini­tial financ­ing round with well-suited co-investors MBG Thürin­gen and Olaf Jedersberger.

More infor­ma­tion about this excit­ing new invest­ment can be accessed here.

Follow-on Investments


With an invest­ment of approx­i­mately five mil­lion euros, tak­ing a stake of almost 20 per cent, the KION Group, a world-lead­ing intral­o­gis­tics group, has become the sec­ond-largest owner of ifesca. Con­cur­rently, the KION Group and ifesca cemented a strate­gic coop­er­a­tion which will seam­lessly inte­grate ifesca´s AI energy man­age­ment and opti­miza­tion soft­ware into KION´s cus­tomer offer­ing, cre­at­ing a holis­tic logis­tics and energy man­age­ment solu­tion. bm|t joined this invest­ment round with 2.2 Mio. EUR to bring the total cap­i­tal raised to 7.2 Mio. EUR. In addi­tion to cre­at­ing an excel­lent com­bined cus­tomer offer­ing with KION, this cap­i­tal will allow ifesca to roll out its lead­ing AI deci­sion-sup­port solu­tion even more rapidly across mul­ti­ple sec­tors and geographies.

More infor­ma­tion about this extremely impor­tant invest­ment and part­ner­ship be accessed here.

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