bm|t newsletter Q1 2021

Young busi­nesses gene­rally have ade­quate know­ledge about their inter­nal deve­lo­p­ments and plans, but usually pos­sess mini­mal know­ledge about how their inno­va­tions fit into the exter­nal world. Mar­ket stu­dies and sur­veys of poten­tial cus­to­mers are good initial attempts at estab­li­shing a rough sense of the mar­ket (and can be built into smart-loo­king TAM-SAM-SOM charts), but such stu­dies are not a sub­sti­tute for ven­tu­ring out into the world and lear­ning about the real demand for an innovation.

In this Newsletter 

Testing your Footprint

This mar­ket test­ing, as oppo­sed to mar­ket stu­dy­ing, is often cha­rac­te­ri­zed as a busi­ness ›test­ing its foot­print›. Typi­cal ques­ti­ons that need ans­wers in this foot­print-test­ing are: how large of an imprint can we make on a mar­ket imme­dia­tely, how do we posi­tion our­sel­ves in order to leave our mark, how fast and how far can we move wit­hout run­ning into bar­riers, what are the bar­riers that are/will be impe­ding our path, are the bar­riers exter­nal or inter­nal (or a com­bi­na­tion of both), are there other paths that will also lead us to suc­cess, how much will these paths cost, etc.

Ven­tu­ring into the world and test­ing your foot­print requi­res finan­cial resour­ces, and this is where inves­tors play an important role. First-time foun­ders are often sur­pri­sed to learn that their inves­tors fre­quently want them to spend more money rather than less, and inves­tors are gene­rally wil­ling to give hig­her valua­tions to com­pa­nies with more exten­sive invest­ment plans. The main ratio­nale behind this thin­king is that inves­tors, espe­ci­ally VC inves­tors, want com­pa­nies in which they are inves­ted to dis­co­ver what works and what does not work (test their foot­prints) soo­ner rather than later. Bet­ter to drive too fast and have more pit stops along the way than to move too slowly and miss the race enti­rely.

Undoub­tedly, it is cri­ti­cal to match spen­ding to the phase of deve­lo­p­ment and to the size and speed of the mar­ket oppor­tu­nity. Gene­rally, VC inves­tors want their inves­tee-part­ners to con­stantly be see­king oppor­tu­ni­ties for pushing the boun­da­ries of the busi­ness and to be moving for­ward fas­ter. This men­ta­lity is espe­ci­ally appli­ca­ble for mar­ke­t/­busi­ness-model-based busi­nesses (as oppo­sed to IP-pro­tec­ted tech-based busi­nesses), and has become more wide-spread in recent years due to the incre­asing speed at which mar­kets move.

Foun­ders can some­ti­mes be reti­cent to invest rapidly in foot­print-test­ing, often due to worries about shrin­king fun­ding run­way. This is where strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion bet­ween foun­ders and inves­tors is essen­tial to ensure both par­ties are in synch about why the money is being inves­ted and that both par­ties under­stand the pos­si­ble need for fur­ther invest­ment ear­lier than pre­viously thought.

Importantly, for inves­tors, it is much easier to make a fol­low-on invest­ment in a com­pany that expen­ded cash more quickly than initi­ally expec­ted in order to find a good entry into a mar­ket than to invest again in a com­pany that has yet to ascer­tain a mar­ket for its inno­va­tion. Fur­ther­more, because valua­tions increase signi­fi­cantly with proof-of-mar­ket and sca­la­bi­lity, fre­quently more aggres­sive invest­ments in foot­print-test­ing ulti­m­ately lead to signi­fi­cantly less dilu­tion for the founders.

Test­ing your foot­print as a busi­ness is about signi­fi­cantly more than what inves­tors pre­fer; it makes sense from a purely inter­nal and ope­ra­tio­nal per­spec­tive, as com­pa­nies gain valuable infor­ma­tion, insights, and cont­acts in the pro­cess. Addi­tio­nally, test­ing your foot­print crea­tes busi­ness optio­na­lity, mea­ning when a busi­ness is aggres­si­vely test­ing for new oppor­tu­ni­ties, it often encoun­ters unex­pec­ted and for­tui­tous paths. As Goe­the said:

»What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; bold­ness has genius, power, and magic in it.«

Your bm|t Team


Along with TGFS, Lift Hol­ding, and busi­ness angels, we cele­bra­ted a suc­cessful exit in Q1 with the sale of to Block­chains Inc. evan´s digi­tal iden­tity tech­no­logy is a great fit for Block­chains and will help the com­pany rea­lize its vision of using block­chain-based tech­no­lo­gies to greatly enhance busi­ness and other areas of society where digi­tal trust infra­struc­ture can play a key role. We are con­fi­dent that evan will make an excel­lent con­tri­bu­tion to Block­chains rea­ching its ambi­ti­ons, and we wish all invol­ved much success.

For more details please read the full press release.

Welcome to the Family

Beco­ming a pio­neer and lea­ding com­pany for high-secu­rity quan­tum com­mu­ni­ca­tion is Quan­tum Optics Jena (QOJ) GmbH´s bold aim. The latest spin-off from the Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tute for Applied Optics and Pre­cis­ion Engi­nee­ring (Fraun­ho­fer IOF) deve­lops quan­tum-based solu­ti­ons for state-of-the-art com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems. As quan­tum com­pu­ting races for­ward, ensu­ring com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons remain secure will require guar­ding against quan­tum thre­ats with quan­tum pro­tec­tion – exactly what QOJ´s ent­an­gled pho­ton tech­no­logy pro­vi­des. This well-sized, seven-figure initial finan­cing round from FTTF (Fraun­ho­fer Tech­no­logy Trans­fer Fund), ELAS Tech­no­lo­gies Invest­ment GmbH, and bm|t and will allow QOJ to fina­lize its alre­ady highly-deve­lo­ped tech­no­logy and to enter the mar­ket with a via­ble and sca­lable pro­duct in a meaningful way as early as next year. We are expec­ting ato­mic suc­cess from QOJ.

For more details please read the full press release.

Poly­ti­ves deve­lops novel addi­ti­ves for pla­s­tics and pos­s­es­ses a highly-inno­va­tive pro­cess for tail­oring poly­mers in an eco­lo­gi­cally-fri­endly man­ner. The company´s tech­no­logy employs highly-bran­ched poly­mers in order to adjust mate­rial pro­per­ties such as vis­co­sity and ela­s­ti­city. We are deligh­ted to have co-led this initial seven-figure invest­ment round with a well-sui­ted cor­po­rate inves­tor, VIS NOVA Hol­ding, the invest­ment arm of Diersch & Schrö­der – a Bre­men-based family-owned com­pany that holds and deve­lops invest­ments in the oil, che­mi­cal and young busi­ness sec­tors. With this invest­ment, Poly­ti­ves will fina­lize its tech­no­logy and should quickly achieve com­mer­cial-scale mar­ket entry.

read more…

Follow-on Investments

Alt­hough our cur­rent fund man­da­tes did not per­mit us to invest in this capi­tal raise, it is always note­wor­thy when a bm|t Inves­tee-Part­ner rai­ses 75 Mio. USD, as InflaRx did this quar­ter. This capi­tal, plus the poten­tial addi­tio­nal capi­tal that can be rai­sed through war­rants as part of this deal, ensu­res that InflaRx will be able to fund many of its important cli­ni­cal tri­als through to signi­fi­cant mile­sto­nes in the years ahead. We remain a signi­fi­cant share­holder and con­ti­nue to have high aspi­ra­ti­ons for InflaRx and the company´s first-in-class com­pound IFX‑1 across mul­ti­ple diseases.

For more details please read the full press release.

Ever­yone knows that you do not make money with prin­ters; you make it with the ink (con­su­ma­bles). Ilmenau-based Lean Pla­s­tics belie­ves that the same phe­no­me­non will play out in 3D prin­ting and has con­se­quently focu­sed on opti­mi­zing pla­s­tic con­su­ma­bles for 3D prin­ting. The com­pany alre­ady has a strong cor­po­rate inves­tor with excel­lent exper­tise in the field of 3D prin­ting, and we are extre­mely opti­mi­stic that Lean Pla­s­tics will play a signi­fi­cant, and highly-pro­fi­ta­ble, role in the addi­tive manu­fac­tu­ring revo­lu­tion. With this invest­ment round Lean Pla­s­tics will prepare com­mer­cial scalability.

Read more… 

Save the Date Investor Days Thüringen 2021

On June 15th and 16th, Inves­tor Days Thü­rin­gen (IDT), the pre­mier early-stage pitch event in middle Ger­many, will be wel­co­ming over 500 par­ti­ci­pants, with appro­xi­m­ately 30 start-ups pre­sen­ting their inno­va­tions and visi­ons. We are pre­pared for eit­her a fully-digi­tal ver­sion like last year or a hybrid event. Of course, we are hoping for impro­ve­ments in the pan­de­mic to be able to at least enjoy an out­door beer and brat­wurst with you.

We have now been in our inspi­ring new offices for three weeks and are almost done with the finis­hing tou­ches. As a core part of our buil­ding is the his­to­ric Erfurt Heiz­werk, which pur­po­sefully and artis­ti­cally has remained in “indus­trial loft” style, not all visi­tors reco­gnize right away that the work is com­plete. 🙂 We are hoping for impro­ve­ments in the pan­de­mic so that we can soon wel­come all our valued part­ners and guests to our new home. 

If your part­ners or col­le­agues might be inte­res­ted in our regu­lar updates,
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