Meet Uwe Horstmann, General Partner and Co-Founder at Early Stage Venture Capital Firm: Project A Ventures

Project A is a European venture capital firm, investing at the early stage across the continent. We have $600M of assets under management across three funds, and are based in Berlin and London.

We primarily fund European early-stage tech companies that challenge the status quo of their industries. We invest between pre-seed to Series A, initially investing between $1M to $8M per ticket, and up to $30M for future rounds.

When we invest, we bring both capital and operational expertise to the table. That’s what makes Project A unique in venture capital, a team of over 100 in-house experts that are exclusively available to all of our portfolio companies, and they provide critical assistance across all areas of business including product, growth, data and people. Prominent examples from our portfolio include WorldRemit, Catawiki, Trade Republic, Voi, sennder and KRY.

Every year Project A organizes the Project A Knowledge Conference, a one-day free for all conference for anyone who is interested in digital innovation, venture capital, and entrepreneurship. Experts from every area of digital operations as well as founders from the portfolio will share their insights and best practices.

The company is currently led by six partners: Uwe Horstmann, Florian Heinemann, Thies Sander, Ben Fischer, and Anton Waitz. Additionally, Rainer Berak leads our operational team.
 
 
Project A. The operational VC. | Project A
 

How did you come up with the idea for the firm?

 
Project A was founded in 2012. Coming from the incubator Rocket Internet, our founding team wanted to take a different approach of supporting startups than the incubation model, where you simply build startups on your own from scratch.

We came up with what we call the “operational VC”, combining financial capital with operational support so that founders get exactly what they need. Apart from our regular VC investment team, we have a dedicated team of 100 in-house experts who work exclusively for our portfolio companies, supporting them in all areas from IT and product development, design, marketing, branding, data, sales and recruitment. This gives early-stage founders an incredible and enviable advantage over their competitors, especially in an increasingly crowded market.

For instance, when a company needs to hire new employees quickly, our Talent Acquisition team jumps in; if they need someone to support with launching a campaign, our marketing team helps out and when there are issues in developing a product, we have people from IT and design standing by. This is not mandatory, every portfolio company can book our people if they choose to. This happens intensively at early stages but we also still work heavily with our later-stage ventures as the relationship with our portfolio is much closer than at other VCs due to the operational model.
 

 

How has the firm evolved during the pandemic?

 
We were able to continue our operations during the pandemic, even expanding by opening our first UK office. Despite everything being remote at the moment, we want to give founders all the benefits of having a local partner, whilst allowing them to work with our operational team.
However, as our portfolio is spread across Europe, we have been working with startups remotely since before Covid-19, and we will continue to do so after the pandemic.

Covid-19 has accelerated the investment process and changed it for the better. For example, we haven’t actually met many of our latest seed investments in person. So, a process that used to take months, with several onsite meetings, is now done entirely over Zoom and is completed in weeks. With the amount of venture capital available and the reduced time span of investing, competition has definitely risen in the market.
 

What can we hope to see from Project A in the future?

 
We will be raising our next generation of funds soon to further invest in early-stage tech startups that are reshaping the way their industries work. We have seen in 2021 alone how European startups mature, with many more unicorns being created here. This is where we want to be.

We are planning increased investments into European and UK tech startups. The UK has always been one of the world’s major technology hubs, and commands a significant portion of both capital and talent. We fully expect to see this trend continue.

At Project A, we look into all kinds of game-changing data-driven innovation, and we believe there is a lot to come in DeepTech, B2B marketplaces, AI and Robotics, as well as the manufacturing sector.