Capnamic closes €115M fund for ‘digital transformation’ of Germany, counts Cisco and Axa as LPs

Capnamic Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Berlin and Cologne, is announcing the final closing of a new €115 million tech fund. The VC says it will invest in tech companies predominantly in the German-speaking region of Europe, with a focus on “B2B solutions, digital infrastructure, and digital transformation”.

Specifically, Capnamic plans to invest initially between €500,000 and €3 million in early-stage tech startups with the intention of further supporting portfolio companies in follow-on rounds. Like almost all VC firms these days, Capnamic is also talking up the operational support it brings, citing business development and mentoring.

Related to this are that 50 per cent of Capnamic’s LPs are corporate investors. They include Cisco, Axa Germany, and entities of the Sparkassen Group, as well as several media companies, including Rheinische Post Media Group. This, says the German VC firm, provides an interface between startups and the corporate world, and will see Capnamic’s corporate investors support portfolio companies with their network and experience in addition to a financial contribution.

In a call, Olaf Jacobi, Managing Partner at Capnamic Ventures, expanded on the firm’s investment thesis. He explained that B2B solutions refers to enterprise software and enterprise SaaS; digital infrastructure refers to underlying technology that is not the main application but powers new applications (“under the hood enabling technologies” that are invisible to the end user); and digital transformation refers to vertical markets that are being transformed or disrupted by digital technology, whether it be fintech, insurance tech, regulation tech, and so forth.

We were also joined on the call by Oliver Tuszik, General Manager of Cisco Germany. He said that Cisco is interested in backing and supporting startups with an obvious synergy, such as IoT, Big Data, and Analytics. “Things that happen around the edges of the network,” is how he put it. However, Tuszik also stressed that Cisco is still very open to new disruptive business models in areas where the tech giant hasn’t been active so far.

More broadly, he says that startups are needed in partnership with existing companies, because it is startups that innovate fastest; innovation that is required for the digital transformation of Germany. “When it comes to the Internet of Things, Germany is strong with Things, but needs to accelerate with Internet,” he adds.