From the year 2000 to b2venture
After more than twenty years since we founded “BrainsToVentures”, we are beginning anew as b2venture, building on our heritage and eager to take what we’ve learned as a venture capital firm and scale our platform to support the coming generation of entrepreneurs even more forcefully.
Back in 2000 when we started out, the tech ecosystem in the German-speaking world was very small. We began as an online platform matching business angels with entrepreneurs at the worst possible time, just as the dotcom bubble was bursting and the willingness to invest at the seed-stage was drying up. And we survived: first, by offering advisory services to startups and angel investors, then by creating angel syndicates, before finally launching our first venture capital fund in 2007 under the name btov Partners — collaborating with our community of angel investors the entire way.
What always drove us was the desire to galvanize entrepreneurs in Switzerland and across the German-speaking world to think big and be ambitious with new technologies and support them in the earliest stages, when no one else would. At that time, many in Europe did not even think venture capital was a business model at all, but a form of philanthropy. Today, with the extraordinary growth and maturity of the European ecosystem, this sentiment seems completely out of place and we are happy to have proven those voices wrong.
Our collaborative approach with angel investors and entrepreneurs is the starting point that informs the new brand identity of b2venture we are unveiling today — it places both the angel investor in the form of an angel icon and the culture of venture and risk-taking at the forefront. Because what we’ve witnessed as a venture capital firm is the power we can leverage by collaborating with great business angels alongside our investment teams — we get a better understanding of what’s going on in the market, find and foster the really exceptional entrepreneurs building great companies that become true outliers in their field.
This approach has also helped us stay disciplined in avoiding short-term technology trends that have not born themselves out. We have worked with entrepreneurs at the earliest stages in cases such as DeepL, SumUp, Raisin, and others to nurture their potential, and invested in many more technology champions at later stages to fuel their growth, such as Facebook, SpaceX, Volcopter and many more.
What is core to our investment process, whether it’s early-stage investments through our dedicated funds or later stages through our direct investment track, is our collaboration with our community of angel investors. They provide an extra layer of intelligence, experience, and capital to take full advantage of every opportunity. We have pioneered new approaches to venture funding with them that made us one of the most active investors in Europe in 2022, deploying over EUR 126 million in capital in a year of impressive market challenges. And we are confident that at least one of the dozen new investments we did in 2022 will unfold into a dominant outlier.
A multi-generational firm
We want every entrepreneur we back to succeed, and we are with them from the very beginning until IPO or trade sale. And with success comes the opportunity to help the next generation. That is why we welcome the entrepreneurs we have supported to join us as angel investors once their journey with their own company has ended. They have experienced first-hand the value by collaborating with top angels and many want to help those just starting out as angels themselves. That’s why we see ourselves as a multi-generational firm, one that is always thinking about paying it forward to the next generation. This is b2venture.
We have worked hard over the last 23 years to contribute to building the European tech ecosystem, and we want to see it continue to thrive. Europe further has to catch up to and will build impressive tech companies. Our collective ability to marshall knowledge and experience to produce innovative new technologies and businesses is the answer.
That was a major impulse for reinventing ourselves as b2venture — a new identity to help us grow the firm and our community of angel investors so that we can do more across Europe to support great entrepreneurs and the unique ideas that will lead to the next generation of outlier companies.