Venture building common misperceptions

Venture building has a bit of a bad reputation. Many think that venture building is the corporate form of building up startups. But that definition has very little to do with venture building as such. Let me clear up a few common misperceptions regarding venture building. 

1. Venture building is only done by VCs

VCs have made a bit of a name for themselves when it comes to venture building. Those who have the funds behind them and want to manage a project hands-on, refer to this practise as venture building.

In essence, there is nothing wrong with that. VCs have done a great job at using this phrase to describe the building up of something new with a dedicated team, to 99.7% referring to a technological development of some sorts.

But venturing has been done by corporates and SMBs alike as well. Mostly these internal startups were just referred to as projects or special business units (SBUs). The thing was, that these internal projects were seen as tests – ready to fail. Whereas VCs have taken this concept to the next level with external funding. This funding support is for many ventures the difference between life and death. It allows them to test more hypothesis than regular corporate tests.

2. Venture building means building a website

Most newly founded companies have some sort of digital footprint. Most were founded with a clear goal of creating something digital.

I personally believe that building a venture does not necessarily need to involve a website, app or any other form of tech – per se. In most cases it does help to use digital tools to get things done, though.

Whatever the venture is that you would like to explore, be pragmatic about the tools that you want to use and really need. If your business idea does not necessarily involve tech from day one, don’t force it upon yourself to use it. There is nothing more inefficient and worse than spending time and effort on tools that you might never really use or help your reach your long term goal.

3. When one business fails, the venture building project was unsuccessful

The word “venture” refers to a journey – not a product or business. It is important to separate the tool (business) that you are building to reach your longterm goal from the word venture. The business is not your venture, but the road to reach your goal is your venture.

It could very well be that you will need to start a good variety of projects and businesses to reach your long term goals. But you need to be aware of the fact that the one business (or tool) that you start with is not going to be the full solution to your problems. You need to stay open to new ideas, new ways of using and adapting your technology and embrace the venture as it comes.

You can make mistakes on your venture. There is nothing more natural than that. But what is important is that you learn to create the infrastructure around your venture building practise that allows you to make these mistakes.

The GANDT-approach

With GANDT Ventures we have developed a framework and work ethic that allows us to make those mistakes. We work with our partners and clients on their ventures. By guiding our clients on their journey we allow ourselves to build new tools, businesses, websites and apps with the goal of supporting our longterm goal.

This journey is what we refer to as venture building.

I hope that this cleared things up for you a little. If you are interested in finding out more about how we work and our thoughts on ventures building, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Enjoy the rest of your day,


Rabobank supports Nexuslab blockchain startups

Rabobank will sponsor the first round of startups in the Nexuslab programme. The Swiss blockchain startup programme was initiated and organised by Nexussquared from Zurich.

The Dutch bank joins Nexuslab to support the first round of its programme geared towards early-stage European blockchain ventures. The collaboration adds leading financial industry expertise to the programme and further strengthens its international footprint.

As an industry partner, Rabobank will add its own experts to Nexuslab’s roster of mentors, contributing its leading know-how and expertise to help participants build and refine their business models and test their ideas against real-world requirements.

Harrie Vollaard, Rabobank Head of Innovation, said:

„With its novel approach to fostering startups in a virtual setting, Nexuslab has introduced an innovative way of enabling blockchain innovation. Rabobank has been experimenting with blockchain technology for a while, and by partnering with Nexuslab we can further deepen our own expertise in this field. This collaboration allows us to work directly with promising international early-stage ventures and help build up the European blockchain ecosystem.“

More information regarding the programme you will find in the original article here: link


About Nexussquared

Nexussquared is a Zurich-based business platform with a focus on blockchain technology and its application to business models across different industries. With a view to supporting diverse and broad-based innovation, nexussquared partners with institutions operating across the entire financial services spectrum and beyond. The founding Team of Nexussquared consists of Daniel Gasteiger and Daniel Grassinger. 

Daniel Gasteiger has worked in financial services for more than 20 years. Starting out as an FX trader at Credit Suisse, he later joined UBS to work with hedge funds and third-party banks promoting UBS’s business-to-business API solutions and Prime Brokerage services. In his last role at UBS, he built up and managed the Office of the Chairman as a Managing Director. 

Holding degrees in civil engineering and business administration, Daniel Grassinger has worked in real estate consulting and workplace design for more than ten years. He developed and implemented workplace concepts to foster innovation and collaboration for some of the world’s leading technology firms and other Fortune 500 companies. In the past three years, Daniel built up and managed AECOM’s Swiss branch in Zurich.


GANDT Ventures Mentors Startups in first Nexuslab

The first Nexuslab has kicked-off with a number of great and exciting Startups (in no particular order):

  1. Taqanu Bank, Norway
  2. ProofOfYou, Estonia
  3. Paymeabit, Italy
  4. Bittunes, United Kingdom
  5. Zeptagram, Sweden
  6. First Wallet, Estonia
  7. Caravaggio, France
  8. SafeBike, Germany
  9. WONE, Finland
  10., Switzerland

nexuslab will host its three-month programme, which will take place in a predominantly virtual setting based on a secure collaboration platform to facilitate tailored coaching sessions and offer on-demand training. Three weekend hangout sessions in major European cities will provide founders of participating startups with the opportunity to meet face-to-face and learn directly from successful fintech companies.

Throughout the program, the start-ups will be individually matched with senior level mentors and financial services experts to receive practical advice on regulatory, technical and commercial aspects of their specific business.

… This is exactly where GANDT Ventures come into play. As part of the Mentor Team around the Startups we aim to support them as best as we can with our network, a shoulder to cry on when things are not going as planned and share our tech-enthusiasm with the teams.

If you would like to know more about the Nexuslab Programme, or about the startups at hand, feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Heilemann Ventures and Earlybird join forces

This morning Heilemann Ventures and Early Bird announced that they will join forces to bring their VC-Teams to the next level.

Gründerszene (link is in German) communicated this morning that both companies are looking to raise a 150m EUR fund in the next couple of months, to help drive European digital startups. Both teams will continue under the Brandname Earlybird.

The Heilemann Ventures Team consists of both strong entrepreneurs and investment bankers. Yet what brings both companies even more together is the current lack of technical expertise on the Earlybird team, with Ciarán O’Leary and Jason Whitmire (now Blue Yard) as well as Simon Schmincke (now Creandum) having left the Earlybird team recently.


How Heilemann Ventures describe themselves

Originally established by the DailyDeal founders and serial entrepreneurs Fabian and Ferry Heilemann.

‘As a complementary team of successful entrepreneurs and like-minded investment bankers we provide seed and early stage funding for European entrepreneurs in the digital industry. We are based in Berlin and well connected in the European start-up and investors landscape’ (source)


How Earlybird describe themselves

‘We are optimistic risk-takers who roll up their sleeves. Earlybird is an international venture capital firm that invests across multiple stages. Our companies have the potential to reshape markets and change the world around us.’ (source)


Earlybird Facts (date: 24/04/2016):

  • Total capital raised to date: 700m EUR
  • Number of funds raised: 5
  • Latest fund raised: 2014
  • No. of investments since 1997: 111


Our Heilemann Ventures connection

Heilemann Ventures were early stage investors in one of the endeavours of Remco Livain (Founder of GANDT Ventures). Back in 2014, Heilemann Ventures lead the Series-A round for MIFLORA, a Munich-based flower delivery startup (co-founded by Tobias Mazet, Remco Livain and Christopher Hadenfeldt).

The Heilemann brothers have build up a strong portfolio of digital projects and investments over the years and have been a trustworthy strong sparringspartner for the management team of MIFLORA ever since.

We wish the Heilemann Ventures Team and Earlybird all the best for the future and we are sure that this is a big leap forward – and we are certain that a great number of super investments will follow in the coming few months and years.

Our GANDT Ventures Services

If you need any help with your valuation or would like an independent person to look at the valuation that your company was “given” after a due diligence, we offer e-commerce due diligences for early stage startups and SMBs. We would deep dive into your marketing and IT-Setup, and assess the potential of your business based on industry standards where available and/or provide you with valuable input as a sanity check.


Feel free to reach out to us at any time for more information.


Mobile Commerce, are you ready for it?

‘Apple’s recent announcement that it is preparing to bring one-touch shopping to the mobile web points to a major milestone in mobile commerce.
Brands are moving past mobile hype and towards delivering options that customers want.
While the US tech giant had already launched Apple Pay for in-app purchases on iOS mobile apps and physical stores last year, this move will make mobile shopping even easier.
It enables consumers who shop online using an iPhone or iPad Safari browser to make a purchase at the push of a button with Apple Pay and TouchID.
It points to a world where consumers can shop from wherever they are without the frustration of filling out fiddly forms on a phone or having to wait for lengthy security checks processed over slow network connections.’ (source)

Are you prepared for mobile commerce?

We see that a lot of startups as well as SMBs are still struggling with the fact that mobile is an entirely different ballgame from traditional desktop based ecommerce. Although screen sizes have increased in recent years, products that require mass customisation or alterations are not that easy to bring to a mobile screen.

Simple UX-Design and clean interfaces guide the user through your product and it is of the utmost importance that the user does not need to start to search for the options on his tiny little screen. Responsive design and bootstrapping your website might be a good way to start, but it is surely not the final solution to your users problems.


TV and other Offline Marketing Channels Challenges

What many marketeers tend to underestimate when running TV and other offline marketing efforts is that many more users will use their phones to have a quick peak at your offering than on any other regular online marketing campaign.

TV and offline marketing efforts exponentially trigger mobile traffic to your site

TV-Traffic generally triggers at least two thirds direct (landing page) traffic from mobile devices as well as tablet devices. This means that your offer needs to be prominently featured on a small screen as well and can certainly not be below the fold. The conversion uplift of using separate mobile landing pages for TV-Campaigns can easily run into the double digits.


Tackling the mobile challenge

We have developed a simple, yet effective method of tapping into mobile traffic best. It involves a lot of test and targeting, loads of reg/sales page optimisation and landing page tweaking, but it is surely worth it.

Before starting a full website make-over and relaunch, we always advise our partners and startups to first start lean and tap into the possibilities that straight-forward front-end testing can bring you. With the data that you will collect from the A/B (or Multivariate) Tests, you will be able to judge well what the impact would be of doing a full mobile relaunch.

Feel free to reach out to us if you would like to find out more about out approach, need help developing your mobile digital products, landing pages, and or UX-Design.

Services that we offer

  • Mobile ecommerce strategy development
  • Native Apps (Conceptualisation, Design, Usability, iPhone/iPad /Android, Q&A, Support- and Release Management)
  • Mobile Websites (Conceptualisation, Design, Usability, Development, Q&A, Support- and Release Management)
  • A/B and multivariate testing setup, support and strategy development
  • Mobile business case analysis (what would a product relaunch potential bring us?)

Startups should focus on core skills

Startups have the reputation of being fast, lean and mean. They are said to disrupt industries, challenge the status quo and industry giants in each and every possible industry. Some of the largest (tech) companies that we have know today started out as small startups in the last two decades (with the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon paving the way for anyone with a great idea).
The sky seems to be the limit for anyone with a great idea. Yet it is generally fairly easy to launch/start something, but to bring it off the ground entirely and successfully is a whole different ball-game. Not all of us used to work in consulting and “know” how to write a business plan, and/or structure a business let alone have the expertise to setup a digital business.


GANDT Ventures & Startups

GANDT Ventures works together with visionaries, people with great ideas, startups and venture capitalists to help realise these ideas. We help structure your business plans, build a lean and affordable proof of concept that can help you raise the capital that you need to bring your business to the next level and we support you in your marketing activities.
We are an (external or internal) sparringspartner and coach for incubators and startups. Next to the straight-forward conceptual planning and strategy definition, we help you build up and streamline the necessary processes needed to run your business successfully. This generally helps you avoid “common” mistakes and lets you focus on your own core competence.


Focus on your core skills

Founders should be founders and focus on that what they know best. Most founders are industry experts and know exactly what their product should be able to do. We clearly believe that founders should make sure that they do not get distracted by white noise, and focus on their product. Technical Product Development (skills) and Digital Marketing are our core competences.
Startups should focus on their core competence
GANDT Ventures helps fuel your innovation and digital product development and we are an e-commerce partner that will challenge your ideas and thoughts on a daily basis to make sure that you make the very most of your idea.

Our services

  • Founder Coaching
  • Operational Startup support
  • Strategic Startup Consulting
  • Creation of market analysis, business case development and project planning
  • Provide you with a digital platform from which you can develop your own ideas (CMS/Platform technology)
  • Internationalisation