Diving into deep tech, dealflow sourcing and portfolio company management

by Stephan Droste

Motivation

Upon completion of my MBA studies, I was comfortable with evaluating business models of big corporations and assessing their financial well-being. Furthermore, in theory I knew how to formally draft a business plan and which KPIs to look for when considering an investment in a startup. However, I felt I lacked some practical experience in the tech startup space and hoped Paua could help me complement my knowledge base.

A holistic view of an agile VC firm

The fascinating thing about VCs is that they usually need to perform all their core activities simultaneously, i.e. raise funds, source potential investment targets, assist portfolio companies, and help them prepare subsequent funding rounds or exits.

After familiarizing with Paua’s dealflow taste, i.e. internalizing the cornerstones of Paua’s investment strategy, identifying and evaluating potential investment opportunities become a key responsibility. With the vast number of startups screened every day, the ability to differentiate an interesting company from a “pass” quickly develops. Not only did I learn a lot about key evaluation metrics but also about digitization challenges and chances of a variety of industry verticals. One thing I found particularly interesting revolves around the due diligence procedure: Completion of the DD is usually faster and less financial. The final decision depends more upon positive cross-references and a dedicated team with a powerful vision.

As a result of Paua’s active investment approach, working with portfolio companies is part of the daily job. Depending on the needs and stage of the respective company, concrete tasks can vary drastically. I had the chance to work closely with C-level professionals and co-develop collaboration models for better integration with strategic partners.

Teamwork

Paua’s partner team embraces a transparent and supportive work environment. Thanks to the weekly team meeting and individual training sessions, absorbing some of the experience and integrating into the team were extremely facilitated. As, Paua maintains a close relationship with former colleagues, joining Paua is definitely a great springboard for immersing in the Berlin startup and investment community.

Takeaways

Working with Paua for three months has been extremely informative. I learned a lot about the latest tech trends, state-of-the-art software solutions and asking the right questions when considering an investment in a startup. Moreover, I enjoyed working with smart and kind people in an exciting atmosphere. Thanks to Paua, I could extend my network and I am convinced that my insights will help me make better personal investment decisions in the future.

About the author

Stephan

Stephan worked with Paua from April — July 2017, after graduating with an MBA from ESADE Business School and Chicago Booth. In addition, he holds a B.Sc. in Aviation Management from European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel. Before his MBA, he worked as manager for international relations and government affairs for Lufthansa Group. Stephan will soon move to Dubai to join The Boston Consulting Group as strategy consultant.