Franziska Blindow-Prettl Joins b2venture Supervisory Board
b2venture is thrilled to welcome Franziska Blindow-Prettl, who joined the supervisory board in April 2023. She is an experienced investor with over 25 years of experience across a wide variety of areas, from venture, impact, and alternative investing to private equity.
“My father was an entrepreneur in Germany, who built an automotive supply business in the post-war period. I remember as a small child sitting at his feet in the office, mimicking his conversations with my plastic red telephone.”
Over the course of her childhood, the company grew from a few hundred employees to a few thousand, which gave Franziska a ringside seat to the rollercoaster ride of growing a company.
“There’s a lot at stake and I saw how emotionally taxing it was - the decisions you take can make or break the company. But it’s also very rewarding, of course, with immense responsibilities.”
She joined the company herself in 1988, helping with its international expansion in the United States, before turning to impact and venture investing in the mid-1990s with her family.
“The idea was to do something radically different from the automotive sector and to invest in really young companies that could change humanity.”
These experiences led Franziska to pursue a PhD on the subject of how to value technology startups at the University of St. Gallen, where she had also completed her MBA in finance and accounting.
After several years of research and consulting at the Institute of Technology Management, Franziska entered the world of high finance.
“My father saw finance as a ‘conveyor belt’ - taking the existing world as it is and transforming into the future through innovation and capital, and I was keen to expand on my experiences as an impact and venture investor.”
Franziska joined the EIM Group in 2001, one of the world’s first fund of hedge funds, where she was Global Head of Product Development, helping create structured products that grew to over USD 960 million of the fund’s USD 8 billion Assets Under Management.
In 2006 she moved to LGT Capital Partners to develop the firm’s hedge fund business, scaling the hedge funds’ sales activities across Europe, the UK, the Middle East, and Canada to several billion USD of Assets Under Management, rising to Partner.
“To me there’s a direct relationship between being good stewards of other people’s money and of the earth itself, so I am particularly proud of the way we at LGT Capital Partners anchored responsible investing, sustainability, and other issues we now call ‘ESG’ into our investment philosophy early on.”
In 2013 she headed up the LGT Family Office at the firm before leaving in 2015 to focus full-time on her own startup investments, an activity she had continued to do on the side with her family since the mid-1990s. She currently focuses on the alternative energy and edtech sectors.
“I hated school as a child, so it’s quite ironic I went on to do a PhD,” she says with a laugh. “That’s why I am very keen on making education more personalized, accessible, more relevant, and more amenable to the challenges of the 21st century.”
What surprises people most when she talks about her experience investing in technology startups is the relatively small role that the actual technical innovation plays, and how important the team is to the success or failure of a venture.
“You’re investing in people - that’s 75% of the challenge. 20% is the conditions of the particular market sector you’re addressing, and only 5% is the underlying technological innovation.”
This is why Franziska is particularly passionate about developing the ecosystem in Europe as a whole, and why she is excited to be joining b2venture’s management board.
“The ecosystem in the United States has more capital, larger valuations, and bigger ambitions - but, in essence, it’s all about culture and expectations. As Europeans, we need to find our place in a changing world and ensure that our values and democratic way of life can thrive. That’s only possible if we remain competitive as a hub of innovation and company creation, especially amid the current AI revolution that is fully under way. It will have profound implications for every industry vertical and even for democracy itself. To tackle challenges such as climate change and harness emergent technologies such as AI effectively, we need to support more entrepreneurs and bold business ideas, which are core to b2venture’s mission.”
“There are few investors in Europe with Franziska’s range of experience across so many areas of finance, technology, and entrepreneurship. We are honored to have her join the supervisory board at this important time for the company,” says founding Partner of b2venture, Florian Schweitzer.