Understanding the bigger picture of technological disruption
Our mission at Freigeist is to identify and support the most technologically advanced startups in Europe. The way we do that is by diving deep into the technological assessment during our deal flow process and by keeping up with the latest technological developments in the most promising areas. In the process of shifting our focus to purpose-driven deep tech startups, we have been looking into many different areas and defined 8 industries in which we see the most opportunity for improvement through technology: Energy, Mobility, Food, New Materials, Manufacturing, Space, Healthcare and Digital Society.
We have witnessed first-hand how new technologies can put world-market leaders out of business, when digital photography took over analog photo businesses like Kodak. Working with outstanding founders like the ones from Wunderlist, we have joined small teams who have rewritten the rules for an entire product category and set a new benchmark. We firmly believe that technology can make our earth a better, safer, more sustainable place, and we want to support teams who are aiming to have a positive impact on our world.
Technological know-how and experience is what sets us apart from other VCs
As a team, we have been working together for almost 20 years and have collected a lot of experience in building complex software products as entrepreneurs and building up strong tech teams that have the capability and capacity to drive innovation. Our biggest advantage is that we truly understand technology and its power to disrupt industries. Our CTO Alex has a deep understanding of sciences like physics, mathematics, mechanics, chemistry and computer science. Based on that knowledge, he does a technical assessment on both the software and hardware side of possible investments.
That’s how we were able to invest in Lilium back in 2016. Most other VC funds had to pass on this incredible opportunity because they weren’t able to fully understand and assess the technological innovation that was being pitched to them. But since Alex was able to understand and double-check the founders calculations and assumptions, we had the confidence to invest and are obviously very happy with that decision.
In the often complex technical due diligence process, Alex applies the knowledge he has been collecting ever since he was a young boy. He started implementing small electronic circuits as a hobby very early. When he was 16 years old, he built a computer based on a guide in a journal for electronic geeks. With this computer, he started teaching himself software algorithms based on assembler, which is a programming language sitting pretty close to the hardware. At the same time, he learned to understand the hardware itself. A couple of years later, Alex started his studies in mining technologies, and during those 2 years, took a lot of classes in physics, mathematics, mechanics and material sciences. He also had the chance to intensify his knowledge in electronics and computer sciences during his studies in energy supply and applied computer sciences.
Building superior products with great tech teams
Being part of experienced software development teams allowed us to collect valuable insights in solving difficult problems, which we now pass on to our portfolio companies. Our many years in different software projects have shaped how we think about complex software structures. We always try to find the best applicable data structures and right algorithms. Since we have a broad understanding of both software and hardware, we can understand the technical challenges that our portfolio companies face, even if they are a complex combination of both software and hardware components like we have in some cases such as EnduroSat.
That is how we are able to deliver support on the technological side. We are involved in technical and architectural decisions and apply our experience in the development process. Coding & source code reviews, building hardware, setting up cloud infrastructures & participating in agile development meetings are all part of our daily business at Freigeist.
But of course in the long term, we want to help build up independent teams, which is why we also try to bring on board the best talent. We have built up and lead teams and know how difficult and time-consuming it can be to find the right developers. Since we have learned how to source for talent in this field, we often take part in the recruitment processes for our tech teams. If you want to learn more about our view on HR, there’s a short overview article on that, too.
If you are a developer, looking to work in an agile and innovative environment on disruptive technologies, check out our job opportunities. We are always looking for new talent to join our developer teams. If you are working on a disruptive technology yourself, we look forward to hearing from you!