Speedinvest Blog

Investing in People: Every Great Story Needs a Strong Beginning

September 16, 2020


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We are extremely excited to congratulate Arnaud Bakker and Fred Hagenauer on their recent promotions to Principal. The satisfaction they take from finding diamond-in-the-rough pre-seed investments and helping them grow exemplifies everything we, as a company, stand for.

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Speedinvest Pre-Seed Principals, Arnaud Bakker and Fred Hagenauer

Getting in Below the Ground Floor

At Speedinvest, we are known for seed. What many people don’t know is that our passion for finding and supporting innovative teams of founders extends all the way to the “back-of-napkin” stage of development.

Launched as an experiment in early 2015, our pre-seed practice has proven to be an instrumental part of our strategy ever since, not the least because of the stellar work of these two gentlemen.

Arnaud and Fred come from very different angles, which is in itself a great thing for VC. What unites them is an uncanny ability to filter through the noise and find their ways into increasingly competitive pre-seed deals. All this works because they continue to “put in the work” that, at the end of the day, creates respect, trust and brand power not just for them as investors but for Speedinvest as a whole.

— Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Oliver Holle

Fred and Arnaud’s passion for founders continues to help a wave of new pre-seed startups find their first foothold, even during this time of great uncertainty.

Arnaud: Helping Forge the Way Forward with Digital Health

Having spent three years in investment banking before joining Speedinvest in 2018, Arnaud gained valuable experience in finance, business models and fundamentals. During this time, he slowly became more and more interested in the healthcare industry as well. But something was missing.

My work was mostly transactional, and I eventually recognized that it was not going to give me the opportunities I wanted to interact with companies on a big picture and vision level.

This led him to understand that his true calling was on the ground, working closely with talented teams of founders at the very beginning of their journeys.

At Speedinvest, his passion for and experience with the healthcare industry has proven invaluable. In addition to key investments in startups like Elephant Healthcare, Blub Blub, IOMED, Sense Street and Seqera Labs, Arnaud also played a key role in formulating Speedinvest’s healthcare investment thesis.

Fred: Bringing Personal Experience to Founders

Always excited to learn and mentor, Fred founded an EdTech company right out of university. After four years as a founder, he decided it was time to move on and share his knowledge. He began helping Deep Tech founders sharpen their pitches and business models through “devil’s advocate” coaching, and in his free time he still hosts meetups for micro VCs and emerging fund managers to exchange ideas, learnings and opportunities.

Seeing first-hand how much of a difference he could make for so many, Fred knew that’s what he wanted to do full-time. So begins his Speedinvest story. Since joining in 2019, he has already helped secure several key investments, such as Platypus, Sylvera, Meisterwerk and hier.in.

There are loads of innovative entrepreneurs all over Europe… especially at the super early stage. Platypus is a prime example. We backed Nico’s vision for the company when it was only three people working from a basement in Copenhagen. Fast forward and they have since launched one of the most ambitious HR solutions out there, and are fresh off of a €2.3m round led by Inventure.

Going Strong in 2020… and Beyond

Both Arnaud and Fred agree that their work is less about finding the perfect product than it is about discovering strong, visionary founding teams. And the pandemic has proven that Europe has no shortage of innovative and tenacious entrepreneurs who are willing to fight for their ideas, no matter the circumstances.

There are so many more awesome and talented founders out there just waiting for their chance. We look forward to meeting them and seeing their companies grow from fledgling startups into huge companies that change the world for the better.

— Arnaud Bakker

The pre-seed startups Arnaud and Fred discover are in good hands. With the foundational support and funding they provide, these companies are being set up for long-term successes and game-changing futures. There could be no better beginning to their stories.

We are incredibly lucky to have both Arnaud and Fred as part of the Speedinvest family, and we congratulate them on their well-deserved promotions to Principal.

Speedinvest is a leading pan-European, early-stage venture capital firm. Our portfolio includes Wefox, Bitpanda, TIER Mobility, GoStudent, Curve, CoachHub, Schüttflix, TourRadar, Adverity, and Twaice. Sign up for our newsletters to get our exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

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