Dr. Chema Molina presents Frenetic at Join Portfolio Day 2023

We Create What’s Next: A Recap of Join Capital’s Portfolio and Investor Day

The Neue Industry
Published in
5 min readMay 30


On a sunny Thursday, Join Capital’s Jan Borgstädt stood in front of a room of investors, founders and industry experts. The murmur of the crowd slowly hushed as he began to speak.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and attention. I am Jan Borgstädt, a partner at Join Capital, a venture fund that invests in startups that are reimagining the industrial landscape with innovative technologies such as Al, robotics and loT. Today, I want to talk to you about why it is important to invest now into artificial intelligence for industrial purposes.”

For most people in the room, this introduction didn’t sound any alarms. But as Join Capital’s Content Strategist since 2017, I’ve come to know Jan’s style of speaking — and this definitely felt ….off.

My brain cycled through a few possibilities. Maybe he just didn’t sleep well last night, I thought. Maybe he was trying a new approach?

It would all become clear in his next few words.

“Those of you who know me well, know this isn’t really my style. In fact, I’m reading a script written to me by ChatGPT, using the following prompt: Create a speech for the portfolio day of Join Capital, for me as a partner of the fund, act as a venture capitalist.

And just like that, we were already off to a fitting start, considering the day’s focus was on generative AI. But even beyond that, this introduction felt representative of what Join Capital has come to mean in the years since its inception: A team of curious, passionate humans aligned in exploring the way technology can augment human capabilities.

As impressive as the full ChatGPT speech was, it’s safe to say that we still have time before AI can take Jan’s place.

The next gen of generative AI

May 11 was simply one of those Berlin days. The first truly warm, sunny day of spring, when you’re hard-pressed to find someone in a bad mood and the air smells of barbeque and possibilities.

Clichés aside, the refreshed energy at Portfolio Day was palpable. Throughout the day, I greeted familiar faces and introduced myself to equally as many new ones. I had the pleasure of witnessing some of the best talks I’ve seen in my six years with Join.

The theme of the day was all things generative AI. The idea that we can all get a head start on new capabilities using these AI ‘building blocks’ means that we can start thinking beyond what is human, and into the idea of AI-driven autonomy to augment human effort. Through the various talks from portfolio companies and keynote speaker Martin Wezowski of SAP, we heard that it’s never too soon to start paving our own way forward with AI, lest we fall behind and begin to view it as a threat to our future.

In his (non-ChatGPT) introduction, Jan spoke of the current advancements in AI, and the various areas in which low-cost AI is becoming ubiquitous. These include digital twins, the industrial metaverse, predictive maintenance and AI-generated design. But what comes next?

It’s customer-centricity, he said. The idea that customer demand leads to fully individualized generative design, autonomous production and ultimately “x as a service.”

We then heard from portfolio companies including 36Zero Vision, Frenetic, Modelwise, Picterra and Valispace — all of whom offer advanced automation to address the deep challenges associated with manual work, quality control, safety and engineering across sectors.

We also had the pleasure of hearing from Join’s newest investment, NEWTWEN, whose “embedded intuition” tech allows for real-time temperature monitoring and improved performance in the hardware industry. Ultimately, this enables the entire industry to shift towards a service-based model.

Join Ambassadors present their experiences

The Join Ambassador Program: The bridge for corporates and startups

Amidst all the AI chat, the Join team was proud to reveal (for the first time ever) its new Ambassador Program. Designed to bring corporates in direct contact with strategically relevant innovation within Join’s portfolio — and to connect founders with potential customers — the Program has already forged successful pilot programs across industries.

Head of Ambassador and Investor Relations, Vanessa Mauz (who is also Join’s newest team member!) introduced a panel consisting of Malvine Komorek, Innovation Manager at Schauenburg International, Marco Svara, CTO at Gefran, and Karsten Keil, VP Group IT and Digitization at Schnellecke Logistics. All participants shared their experiences with the Ambassador program, having piloted technology from Join portfolio companies.

Malvine spoke of building a brand new innovation arm at Schauenburg to connect to startups, and how programs such as this help set up pilots and directly drive innovation.

Marco discussed that Gefran’s long-term view requires both active and passive flow of innovation ideas. Sometimes, the company’s idea precedes the search for relevant startups. Other times, it’s the reverse — and inspiration is found through VCs, universities, etc. The Ambassador Program is a way for this exchange to happen organically.

Karsten explained that because whole industries are in flux, it’s essential that service providers connect with more innovative and strategic partners. The Ambassador Program helps Schnellecke do this in the most efficient way, allowing them to conveniently sift through high potential startups based on the company’s own requirements.

What’s clear is that this Ambassador Program delivers real value to organizations looking to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

Martin Wezowski of SAP speaks on a future with AI

SAP’s Chief Futurist: “Prepare, not predict”

We were lucky enough to hear from Martin Wezowski, Chief Futurist at SAP, whose presentation felt like the glue that bound all of the day’s topics together.

Martin challenged us with major questions, such as What is human centered design in 2030? What is human 2040? He reminded us that no technology disappears, and our options are either to follow behind or create what comes next.

The real value is, ultimately, in us as humans.

I left portfolio day with a stronger sense of where we’re headed in the Join Capital community, and why relationship-building is extremely powerful for achieving great things — especially as technology advances. It’s exciting to think about what the next year holds.

Want to get involved with our Ambassador Program or learn more about our portfolio? Drop us a line at hello@join.capital.



The Neue Industry

Early stage VC investing in the Neue Industry.