I sat down with Matthias to provide some insights for the community on his addition.
Welcome to the team, Matthias! Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got involved in the startup/investment ecosystem?
Thank you, Sam! After taking a sabbatical and spending one year on a round-the-world trip, I returned to Hong Kong in the summer of 2016. I remember attending the RISE conference and being immediately drawn to the energy and the drive of the start-up community. I knew that I wanted to get involved, although at that point I wasn't sure exactly in which capacity.
And how did it evolve from there?
I've spent the next two years doing my homework on entrepreneurship, VC investing and everything that comes with it. I've been in touch with hundreds of start-ups and by now have built a modest-size portfolio of early-stage companies based in Hong Kong and Europe. I've also launched a boutique investment firm called 'Superseed Ventures'.
How did you learn about Betatron?
One of my early investments went into Qupital, a start-up which many in Hong Kong recognize for being the first FinTech out of Hong Kong to secure an Alibaba investment. MindWorks Ventures was leading the round, and that's how I came to know the MindWorks team and eventually, Betatron who they are a founding member of and enthusiastically support.
You've then become an investor in the recent cohort's 2 and 3. What got your excited about joining the team?
What I thoroughly enjoyed at Betatron was the ability to get hands-on involved. Betatron is all about the network and what each of us can contribute to the various startup companies.
I've been actively involved in screening and interviewing companies that applied, attended update sessions regularly and have also acted as Mentor for two companies. I've also found compelling follow-on investment opportunities through Betatron.
What significantly made the difference was the team that's running Betatron on a day-to-day basis. They're top notch and I consider myself very fortunate to join them.
Thank you for the kind words! What type of startups are you most interested in and looking to find for the upcoming Betatron cohort?
Depending on who you speak to within our network, we all have certain sectors that we have a preference for and expertise in. But at the same time, we're interested in looking at opportunities outside of that. For that reason, I don't want to single out any specific area. At Betatron, we are deliberately sector-agnostic.
Innovation is about identifying new opportunities which in my mind is incredibly difficult to predict in any case. We've had several great success stories of companies that probably would not have fit in any obvious category. Plus, there are so many elements that make for a successful startup venture that goes beyond a simple categorization.
Having said that, we will look at start-ups from an investors perspective, both for the initial investment and for follow-on rounds. As such we are looking for startups with a business model that can scale, a significant size for their addressable market and teams that can execute well.
What are you hoping to achieve with Betatron? How do you plan to take it to the next level?
As I said earlier, having a strong network of partners and partnering organisations is critical to our success. One of my areas of focus will be to build the network further and leverage it to the mutual benefit of our portfolio companies and partners.
Secondly, we will also focus on sourcing high-quality startups which includes efforts outside of Hong Kong. The Pearl River Delta/Greater Bay Area will play an important role for us going forward.
We are also in the process of preparing ourselves to invest in a larger number of companies per year. So we will be hiring additional staff soon.
And, finally, what about Matthias the person? What are you up to when you're not at work?
I love being outdoors and long-distance running. So the chances are that you'll bump into me trail-running on one of the many gorgeous trails that Hong Kong has to offer. And then I do ultra-distance races around the world. But don't get me started talking about that; otherwise, I'll go on for hours... :)
I welcome everyone in the startup community to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Matthias - we're excited to have you on board!