Interview by Olaf Jacobi, Managing Partner at Capnamic Ventures
Today, Capnamic is made up of a team of 10 strong, diverse and driven individuals. This means that we don’t add talent too often but when we do we’re aiming for a perfect match. We initially had decided to grow in the field of Marketing and Communications a couple of months ago and I’m excited to say that with Philipp Blankenagel we’ve won a great talent to lead our Marketing and Communications efforts. In the past four years, Philipp led Marketing and Comms of Berlin-based B2B neo bank Solarisbank where he accompanied the startup’s growth to more than 300 employees and more than 100m EUR raised in funding. Afterwards, he started his own consulting business, focussed on branding and communication of startups, which will help to keep his valued outside-in perspective. With his expertise in B2B Marketing, brand building and his strong PR network he will not only be an asset to Capnamic but also our portfolio companies with many of them having a focus on B2B technology.
Olaf: Philipp, you’re switching from the startup to the VC side. What motivated your decision to go to a VC and Capnamic specifically?
Philipp: During my time at Solarisbank, I was fortunate to work on Marketing and PR topics such as funding round communications with a multitude of investors. The collaboration with the different VCs always had a certain thrill and excitement to it. Being a part of the startup ecosystem quickly showed me the importance of great, founder-centric investors. To be completely honest, I didn’t know Capnamic beforehand. But when I first learned about Capnamic through contacts from my network the first thing they always said was: the Capnamic crew has a fantastic team spirit and they’re extremely close to their portfolio companies. That sounded like a great environment to work in to me and when I found out that you had been thinking about growing the team in the fields of Marketing and Communications the following talks were a no-brainer. I see the fact that I didn’t know Capnamic in the first place as a challenging and yet interesting starting point for me. I would be glad if through our joint work the next months more people found out about Capnamic as I did and learned about the strong value proposition of the firm.
What’s your view on the challenges and opportunities of Marketing and Communications of a VC?
I see a lot of similarities between Marketing and Comms for a B2B tech startup and for a VC firm. Both have intangible products and often USPs which are complex to understand and hard to nail down. This might seem as a challenge to some but I have to say that I became a big fan of this task and see shaping Capnamic’s brand and positioning as an amazing opportunity. Another huge opportunity of VC Marketing is without a doubt working with the portfolio. Collaborating with founders and teams of your portfolio companies gives you a variety of possibilities for joint Marketing and Comms activities which lets you leverage the reputation of each other. I’m excited to add my skillset to the platform support of Capnamic and to deepen the exchange with the portfolio.
As you know, we have a strong investment focus on B2B tech. What’s your take on the importance of Marketing and Communications for B2B tech startups?
Even though you could assume that Marketing is way more important in the B2C world, I’d say that it’s at least equally important for B2B companies. B2C products can often speak for themselves, they’re easier to grasp by the user and brand awareness might grow organically more easily. In the B2B world, building a strong brand is absolutely crucial for success as buying decisions are more complex, rely heavily on trust and are, what’s often neglected, nevertheless emotional. A strong and well-positioned brand helps with all of these factors.
Your first week is coming to an end. What’s your first impression?
It’s a very friendly, down to earth and smart crew. I moved to Cologne only six months ago but I dare to say that I can feel the Cologne-vibe within the team. It’s a very warm team atmosphere in which everyone makes it easy for you to feel like a part of the Capnamic family right away. I’m excited to get to know a VC from the inside. In the next couple of months, I will keep all of you posted on what working for a VC will have in store for me.
Here are some ways to get in touch with Philipp:
More about Capnamic: https://capnamic.com