Last week Fenox Venture Capital held the 2nd edition of the Startup World Cup, with the Luxembourg regional selection organized locally by EY and Farvest. This time, Largowind came out on top. We met Bill Reichert, CEO of Garage Technology Ventures and a judge and speaker at this event, to discuss.
by: Marion Finzi
photo: EY Luxembourg
featured: Bill Reichert
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What is Garage Technology Ventures?
We are a seed and early-stage venture capital fund. We’ve just celebrated our 20th anniversary as an established company!
The driving idea behind Garage Technology Ventures is that not every brilliant startup begins in Silicon Valley. With this in mind, we decided to cast globally to find the next wave of brilliant entrepreneurs, wherever they are, and bring them into the ventures ecosystem which was at the time, and is still today, Silicon Valley.
We started off in Silicon Valley and then opened offices in London, Tel Aviv, and all around the world.
Garage Technology Ventures aims to build a bridge between Silicon Valley and entrepreneurs. We develop a network of relationship to become smart in any domain at an early stage.
A couple of years ago, we came across Fenox Ventures Capital, who invented a different model for connecting innovation to the market place. Fenox VC has created 18 funds, each backed with single LPs! Thanks to this model, corporations gain Funds’, which brings additional value beyond the financial—a definitively strategic value. This system aligns entrepreneurs’ interests with that of corporations. With Fenox between as a third party, it’s a pretty neat model!
Garage Technology Ventures is still casting the net globally in cooperation with Fenox VC in order to find the best emerging technologies. We are present all over the world, with a significant footprint in Japan, Korea, China, Taïwan.
Which industries do you focus on?
We focus on a lot of emerging technologies, including software, material sciences, clean technology and medtech. Lately, we developed a strong interest for quantum computing.
“We invest in unproven teams attacking unproven markets with unproven solutions” – Garage Technology Ventures
To you, what are the major trends to look out for?
A few years ago, it used to be one main identifiable trend. Since then we’ve seen an explosion of new trends. Everything was trending! Cleantech, Foodtech, Agtech, Fintech, Regtech, Big Data, AI and so on. This is obviously a great thing. It’s hard not to feel that everything is accessible to innovation and disruption by entrepreneurs.
As for the major trends today, I predict that in 1 year or so, quantum computing will be the new trend. It’s been around for 20 years, but a lot has happened lately and a high curve might emerge around quantum computing… Let’s see if my prediction becomes reality!
What is the aim of this competition?
The Startup World Cup is, as far as we know, one of the richest business plan competitions on the planet. In terms of breath, it is the most comprehensive competition for entrepreneurs and local partners. It is an extraordinarily ambitious and aggressive outreach effort from Fenox, aiming to source entrepreneurs and regional partners all over the planet!
The main idea behind Startup World Cup is to get Fenox plugged into ecosystems all over the planet in order to find local partners – such as EY and Farvest here in Luxembourg – to cast the net with us, to find the best early-stage companies in the local ecosystem.
Startup World Cup aims to create a “win-win-win” situation. A win situation for the entrepreneurs by convening them together and giving them more visibility, more learning and more practice. They can also ideally find potential investors, customers and partners through these competitions. The winner of the competition obviously gets to come to Silicon Valley and plug-in to the Silicon Valley ecosystem.
It is a win as well for local partners and local ecosystem, as they are able to get together and connect with Silicon Valley. It allows them to gather around identifying opportunities to invest in and to accelerate companies.
Finally, it is a win situation for us, Fenox VC and our LPs, as we can have access to emerging technologies that coming out of Western Europe.
“We’ve also noticed that there are plenty of innovations but no early-stage venture capital, which is quite ironic for such a rich corner of the world!”
First time in Luxembourg? Have you heard of it before? What do you think about the local ecosystem?
To be honest I didn’t know a lot about Luxembourg and its ecosystem. I was expecting mostly FinTech companies. What I didn’t expect is such a broad ecosystem! You even have Spacetech with SES’s presence in Luxembourg, which is very interesting!
We’ve also noticed that there are plenty of innovations but no early-stage venture capital, which is quite ironic for such a rich corner of the world! The distribution of venture capital is still uneven across the globe. It is still narrowly concentrated in Silicon Valley for most part, in China, and very recently, in the UK and in the Nordic countries.
We would love to take steps towards helping the Luxembourgish Venture Capital ecosystem develop in the coming years.