Last January, I took an in-depth look back at our first year at Speedinvest Network Effects. I received a lot of great feedback, so I decided to make the review an annual tradition. There’s a lot to cover, so I’ve split this year’s look back into three separate posts and changed the structure to better align with our day-to-day business operations.
The three-part series will follow the actual investment process in chronological order: from deal flow (Part 1) to portfolio management, i.e. new and follow-on investments (Part 2) and, without further ado, everything that is related to running the fund itself e.g. team, events and LPs.
While Parts 1 and 2 focused on the main activities of our business, to which we dedicate 80% of our time (i.e. finding and making great investments and supporting our portfolio companies), Part 3 is about the remaining 20% needed to run the fund, organize events such as The Marketplace Conference and, work with our own investors a.k.a. LPs (Limited Partners).
In 2019, we onboarded new team members throughout the first half of the year and, as laid out in my 2018 review already, we welcomed Mirjam as an Associate Partner and Pierre-Francois a.k.a. “PF” as a Partner. Oleg joined as a Visiting Analyst to fill in for Krishan, who took on an Associate role in another investment team at Speedinvest. And we completed our 2019 hiring by adding Konstantin as an Analyst with a particular focus on our efforts around The Marketplace Conference (more on that below).
Here’s a quick team breakdown (total team size: eight people) at the end of 2019:
8 team members, 6 different nationalities:
Languages (multiple choice possible):
The Speedinvest Network Effects team speaks 8 different languages, with English and German being the most common. On average, each team member speaks three languages.
Professional background (multiple choice possible):
We’ve tried to cluster our diverse, previous professions into seven categories to provide a better overview of our background and professional experience. All members of the Speedinvest Network Effects team have prior experience working in a tech-startup (mostly marketplaces), several even have previous founding experience.
The Speedinvest Network Effects team, as well as other teams within the Speedinvest family, work in a highly remote setup across our offices in Vienna (Mirjam, PF), Munich (Philip), Berlin (Jeroen, Mathias, Konstantin, Oleg) and London (Magda). Our horizontal functions in our Vienna, Berlin and San Francisco offices not only support the investment team (e.g. finance, legal, HR) but also our portfolio companies directly (e.g. Business Development in the US, Growth Hacking, Recruiting).
What started as a side project launched by Speedinvest Network Effects and Daniel Hoffer from Autotech Ventures in 2018 has quickly become a “must-attend event” for marketplace aficionados around the globe.
Due to its phenomenal, early success, we continued to further develop The Marketplace Conference (#MPC) throughout 2019, and we have decided to make it a recurring, semi-annual event series in partnership with our friends from Battery Ventures and Autotech Ventures. In 2019, we co-hosted two Marketplace Conferences, one in San Francisco (Spring) and another in Berlin (Autumn). We also rebranded MPC and unveiled a new logo, website and overall structure for the conference and ancillary events.
The Marketplace Conference is as a full-day event attracting between 400 to 500 attendees and features several parallel tracks with over 30 sessions. In addition, we decided to launch a smaller, ancillary, local event-series called The Marketplace Meetup (#MPM), which we debuted in Warsaw (Poland) together with our friends from Market One Capital and Point Nine Capital.
The meetup format could be described as a condensed version of the conference, usually half a day in duration and only one track (focus) with 8–10 sessions. We felt and observed a strong pull from the local marketplace ecosystems and thought this would be an excellent opportunity to a) bring marketplace-related know-how and best practices to the local European hubs, b) unite local marketplace enthusiasts and c) scale our event series in an efficient and meaningful way without compromising on quality while increasing overall impact.
In 2019, nearly 1,000 people attended, at least, one of these events. Similar to previous events, over 70% of attendees were founders of marketplace or platform companies. In total, 90 different speakers delivered more than 70 sessions, many of which can already be found and watched on our YouTube Channel. I would like to use this as an opportunity to, once again, thank all of our speakers, partners, sponsors and attendees for their incredible support. Without each of you, these events would simply not be possible and we look forward to many more to come!
To reflect the growing importance and address the organizational challenges related to running several major events each year, we hired Konstantin Schmeisser. Much of his time will be spent managing The Marketplace Conference and The Marketplace Meetup series. He is already hard at work planning the next San Francisco edition of The Marketplace Conference with our partners, which is just two months away (buy your tickets now). We are also in the beginning stages of planning several local Marketplace Meetups across Europe and in the United States. If you’re keen to become a partner or contributor, please get in touch!
In addition to our blog and our efforts around The Marketplace Conference as described above, we’ve worked on various content initiatives throughout 2019 in order to create a “Marketplace Movement” by fostering the international ecosystem of marketplace entrepreneurs and investors.
Annual Report: The future of online marketplaces 🔎
In late 2018, we released an annual report about the future of online marketplaces in collaboration with Dealroom, Adevinta and Point Nine Capital. While we did not publish a proper update of the report in 2019, we shared an overview featuring 250 startups reshaping the future of online marketplaces and, Florence of Adevinta gave a “sneak peak” of the next edition of the report at the last Marketplace Conference in Berlin:
Together, with our partners, we will continue to work on the series in 2020 and expect to release a major overhaul of the report — stay tuned for more!
The Marketplace Snippet 📬
In December 2019, we finally released the first edition of The Marketplace Snippet, our monthly newsletter that covers interesting insights about all things network effects, marketplaces and platforms going way beyond the Speedinvest Network Effects universe. In short, this is basically a monthly “best of collection” of our internal Slack channels i.e. link and resource-sharing not only within the Speedinvest Network Effects team, but also our portfolio companies. We strive to release one new Snippet at the end of each month — please subscribe and share your honest feedback, so we can continue to improve it! The next edition is due end of January 2020.
2019 marks our second (full) year since launching Speedinvest Network Effects. As we did the final closing of our first fund in the course of 2018, fundraising became less of a priority for us in 2019 and we primarily focused on all other topics covered in this series.
To ensure our LPs were consistently kept up-to-date, we held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in December and gathered our Investor’s Board in Q2 and Q4 to sign-off on our annual budget and reflect on the fund’s performance and outlook. We also met many investors at our annual Speedinvest Investor’s Day in Vienna. In addition to these events, we keep our LPs informed through our Quarterly Reports and “Analysts Calls,” which we use to answer potential questions and walk everyone through the quarterly results of the fund. We’ve also shared several exciting investment opportunities with our LPs including SPVs for follow-on funding rounds at TIER Mobility and CoachHub, as you can read in Part 2 of this series.
Now, being more than “halfway through” the investment period of our current fund, it is a good time to reflect on a) our overall performance and b) our strategy moving forward. That said, fundraising for the next generation of Speedinvest Network Effects will likely become more important again in the near future, i.e. throughout 2020.
Reflecting on 2019, I honestly didn’t think we would be able to maintain the same pace as we did in 2018, our inaugural year. In a way, last year was somewhat a moment of truth for the fund, as several of our early portfolio companies graduated to the next stage of development and had to pass the always stressful “market test.” As outlined (hopefully) in this 3-part-series, I’m very happy with the outcome of this “reality check,” and I’m now even more excited about what lies ahead.
Again, I’d like to thank every single founder, team member, (co-)investor and business partner for sharing every step of this journey with us! Here’s to an amazing 2019 and an even more exciting and successful 2020!
If you enjoyed reading this final chapter of my 2019 Speedinvest Network Effects review, follow me here on Medium (Mathias Ockenfels) and Twitter to not miss any future posts. FYI: Check out Part 1 (Deal Flow) and Part 2 (Investments) of the series and let me know what you think!
Authored by Mathias Ockenfels, a member of the Speedinvest Network Effects team, with contributions from NAME. The team invests in SaaS-enabled platforms and marketplaces and other Network Effects-driven businesses where the value of a product increases with every new user. Enabled by new technologies in areas we cannot even imagine today, the team believes these are the businesses that will continue to revolutionize the world.
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