The startup portfolio of CV VC is growing. Now it comprises a total of 27 companies, of which 22 came out of our two incubation programs, which was complete on 30 January. All ten startups are in concrete discussions and agreements with partners, investors and clients. Olaf Hannemann, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of CV VC, shares his experiences of the second incubation program and gives an outlook.
Our 3-month incubation program, which we manage through CV Labs, has four building blocks: Bootcamp, Technology/Product, Business and Investors. During the two-week bootcamp phase, startups get to know each other and the Swiss Crypto Valley Ecosystem from our base in Zug, learn to pitch and improve their stage presence, get challenged on their business model, develop their vision, attend a design thinking workshop, learn about cultural aspects of running and growing a company. In the three following blocks, we and our team of external mentors and experts work with the startups on various aspects of product development, financial and business planning, scaling & selling. Finally, we prepare them for the next round of fundraising. Ultimately, our goal is to get the startups investor room ready for their next fundraising round and have them better equipped for their future growth ambitions.
What I have observed is more a confirmation of what we have experienced in the first program. We remain excited about the continued global interest for our program and the interest to get exposure to the Swiss Crypto Valley ecosystem, we like the diversity of solutions across a wide range of industry sectors, and we love the fact that almost half of our portfolio companies work towards a UN sustainable development goal.
In terms of maturity, a good number of startups in batch_2 already had pilot projects with clients or corporate partners or first clients/subscribers. Batch_1 has been somewhat earlier in nature, often working towards an MVP level during the program, but a number of those startups already achieved revenues by now.
On a positive note, our portfolio features a significant number of startups that is set to benefit from trends towards remote work, automation, online services, digital security — all are significant growth trends
An additional element to highlight in the current environment of COVID-19 is that, obtaining funding as well as achieving operational growth will be more challenging for many startups and early stage investors alike. On a positive note, our portfolio features a significant number of startups that is set to benefit from trends towards remote work, automation, online services, digital security — all are significant growth trends, however they are likely to be further accelerated during the current uncertainty.
We have designed our incubation program specifically with blockchain startups in mind. As such, we have consciously not looked at best practices from other programs before designing our own to avoid limiting our own thinking and creativity. Only once our plan was established and implemented did we look at others to determine what we may have missed and make minor adjustments as necessary.
Our approach for batch_3 will be one of ‘less is more’ — we will focus on further increasing the quality and strength of the content, whilst giving the startups more time to develop their business, and network within the Swiss blockchain ecosystem. We also plan to increase the number of inspirational events during the program and are considering how to incorporate a selection of founders from batch_1 and 2 to share their experience and lessons learned from scaling their startup.
It is very early days and all the startups have a long path ahead of them; that said, we are very happy with our portfolio overall, including those from incubation batch_2. Unicorns? Time will tell, we will do our best to support them on their way towards building highly successful and dynamic companies.
We are keeping in touch with all of our startups through regular update calls; in addition, specific support and co-operation on a case-by-case basis includes support across fundraising, connecting with industry, participation in CV VC / CV Labs or third-party events, and various other strategic topics.
Applications for batch_3 are open and we expect to start the program in October 2020. Given the current environment, we will monitor the situation around COVID-19 and may adjust our program accordingly and appropriately.
Olaf Hannemann on the Second Incubation Program for Blockchain Startups was originally published in CV VC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.