We were lucky to have Jannis Cronjäger a part of our team as a Visiting Investment Analyst at Capnamic for three months. Here he wrote down his experiences to give a broader insight.
My Journey to an Internship at Capnamic
During my studies, I decided to take a gap year between my bachelor's and master's degrees to gain as much experience as possible. Through a friend, I was introduced to the fascinating world of venture capital. I contacted Capnamic to learn about the qualities of a successful Venture Capitalist, the internships that would be beneficial, and the master's program I should pursue with the aim of one day applying to Capnamic as a Venture Capitalist. This inquiry led to a conversation with Markus. He provided me with deeper insights into his work, his field of activity, and the responsibilities of a Venture Capitalist. Markus also suggested that I try to secure an internship to truly determine if this career path was right for me. Taking his advice, I applied. I was allocated a week for my case study preparation. After sharing my conclusions with an analyst and an investment manager, I was privileged to have a dialogue with a partner. Their subsequent offer for the internship filled me with immense gratitude and excitement.
Daily Tasks and Responsibilities
On my first day at Capnamic, I was welcomed with a shiny laptop and a quick realization: while I was ready to conquer spreadsheets, the ping pong table had other plans for my ego. It was a whole different battleground.
Right off the bat, I got to meet every team member, whether it was through a screen or face-to-face in the office. The analysts were great, taking the time to walk me through how things work. During the internship, regular sessions were held where either an analyst or investment manager would provide detailed explanations and insights. And just like that, I was on my way.
As an analyst at Capnamic, my focus was on identifying suitable startups for the fund. This was done either through inbound methods, where startups approached us, or through outbound methods, where I actively searched for exciting startups.
With the inbound method, startups approached us due to Capnamic's reach and network. The investment opportunities in startups, also referred to as "deals," were carefully evaluated to determine their suitability of Capnamic’s EUR 190m fund.
In this category, I proactively searched for exciting startups. Using tools like Crunchbase and LinkedIn, I sourced the market for potential investment opportunities.
Evaluation of Startups
Evaluating a startup is a complex process that considers several key factors:
The team is often the decisive factor. The question was always: Is this the best team to address the identified problem within the targeted market? A dedicated and competent founding team can make the difference between the success and failure of a startup.
The size of the addressable market is crucial for evaluating the exit potential of a startup. A huge market not only offers significant growth opportunities but is also an indicator of the potential return on investment.
After evaluating the market, the business model comes into place. How does the startup generate revenue? Is the business model scalable? What is the gross margin? These questions help determine the long-term potential of the startup.
It is crucial to understand the competitive landscape and dynamics the startup is playing in. How defensible is IP of the startup? Do they have any filled patents? A good understanding of the competition and the startups’ positioning helps to determine the startup's uniqueness and defensibility.
Is it the right time for this startup? Why did such a business idea not work several years before? Are there any legal changes or external drivers that support such business models? Timing and quality is key. A good product at the wrong time can fail just as a poor product at the right time.
The technology behind the startup must not only be innovative but also defensible. It's essential to evaluate how easily the technology can be copied and what barriers exist to keep competitors at bay.
Team & Culture
The team at Capnamic is exceptional. Everyone on the team was ready to meet me where I was and help me learn and grow. Capnamic's culture is characterized by transparency, support, and the desire for everyone to learn as much as possible.
My time at Capnamic was an incredibly enriching experience. I not only learned a lot about the venture capital industry but also built valuable relationships and friendships. If you're considering diving into the VC world, I can only recommend taking the plunge.
Thank you Jannis Cronjäger for writing about your experience and of course for all of your efforts and contributions while being at Capnamic. We wish you the very best for all of your future endeavors.