MAIRDUMONT, supporting European and Chinese Travel Sector Startups

This interview was conducted by Burak Buyukdemir, the Founder and CEO of Etohum, a Turkish Accelerator program. The article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Turkey.

Daniel Gundel is Investment Director at MAIRDUMONT , one of the largest travel guide publishing houses in the world. Daniel is responsible for the M&A and Venture investments in digital travel companies.

Previous stations were SevenVentures, the venture arm of ProSiebenSat.1, , Paypack and goetzpartners. Additionally Daniel was interim manager for ventures with focus on finance, operations and marketing. MAIRDUMONT will profit from his experience gathered on venture and funding side.

4 years ago, MAIRDUMONT launched its corporate venture capital fund in Germany. So far, they have invested in companies that are in the Seed to Series B stage. The fund invests in startups in the digital travel sector, and are open to co-investing with other venture capital funds. In some cases, the team also invests in startups in their late stages.

The fund takes the position of being a limited partner to their investments. The unique difference, when compared to other funds, is their expertise and experience in the travel sector. Daniel mentioned that they do not bind to specific business models, not only various kinds of B2C, but also B2B modeled startups in the travel sector, which can include CRM systems, hotel booking solutions are all possible investments to the fund. In short, the fund is sector-driven, and not business model-driven.

The fund started by investing in German-speaking countries. 8 of the fund’s investments were made in Germany, 2 in Austria and 1 in Switzerland. One of those also with a Turkisha co-investor. Investments made by the fund are more driven by the opportunities, the fund is open to investing in other countries, and is already looking into the UK, Israel, Turkey, China, and the United States. The German speaking majority is because there are very good opportunities and the ease of access between the team and the investments. Currently, the fund does not invest in pre-revenue startups but consider doing that in the future.

The first stage ticket size is between €250K – €1.5M. The process of meeting startups is easier when the startup is introduced to their team by someone they are familiar with.

Daniel mentions that he pays close attention to the team of a startup. He also likes to see a good amount of skill and expertise in the team.Tech, development and business development are three key roles that are important. Especially for B2C businesses, he expects the team to have experienced online marketing personnel.

Daniel advises startup teams to be honest to their abilities and avoid exaggerating what they can do.

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