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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.