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9 Berlin-based VCs discuss how COVID-19 has changed the landscape


A breeding ground for European entrepreneurs, Berlin has a knack for producing a lot of new startups: the city attracts top international, diverse talent, and it is packed with investors, events and accelerators. Also important: it’s a more affordable place to live and work when compared to many other cities in the region.

Berlin ranked 10th place in the 2019 Global Ecosystem Report, trailing behind only two other European cities: London and Paris. It’s home to unicorns such as N26, Zalando, HelloFresh and pioneers of the scene such as SoundCloud.

Top VCs include Earlybird, Point Nine, Project A, Rocket Internet, Holtzbrinck Ventures, and accelerators such as Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator, hub:raum and The Family.

To get a sense of how the novel coronavirus has changed the landscape, we asked nine investors to give us an insight into their thinking during these pivotal times:

Jorge Fonturbel, Target Global

Which trends are you most excited about investing in, generally? 
Mobility, logistics, automotive, industry automation, supply chain.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
70% Europe and Israel, 30% rest of world.

Luis Shemtov, Lunar Ventures

Which trends are you most excited about investing in, generally? 
We invest in the overlap of deep tech and software. in 2020 we’re focused on low data machine learning, private computation, shift to MLops, edge cloud, dev tools consumerization expanding into other software fields.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment? 
Latest is Neurolabs.eu — developing a platform for computer vision synthetic data.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
Pre-seed/seed global minded technical founders.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
We’re Europe-wide, less than half in Berlin.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city? 
Berlin is rapidly evolving from its consumer/rocket past into a global hub for diversified software technology.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
At pre-seed stages, there are still major advantages to hubs by A stage and Silicon Valley by B stage, which remote work cannot solve.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times? 
None. We invest in hard software. Some go-to-market strategies slowed down, but we’re not seeing correlation so far.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
So far most of the portfolio startups have accelerated. The biggest worry is investor behavior in line with the LP fundraising environment uncertainty for seed/Series A.

Mike Lobanov, Target Global





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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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