Pre-seed Coaching Roadmap

I've been mentoring young entrepreneurs since 2015. I have to admit that I was quite inexperienced myself back then. But over time I gained a lot more knowledge about company building and venture capital. Each year I try to support at least one promising team to prepare for seed funding. Often these teams receive the pre-seed EXIST (either Forschungstransfer or GrĂĽnderstipendium) programmes from the German government where a formalized coaching roadmap is required. Here I want to share the topics of the 20 sessions which form the formal foundation of my roughly bi-weekly meetings with the young founders over that first year of their entrepreneurship. Of course, depending on the individual needs of the team, I do not strictly follow this agenda, but it forms the backbone of my coaching. Maybe I'll write something more about my view on startup coaching later, for now I just want to share the roadmap with you.


Investing in 'Sector Electrification'

Most energy experts agree that the electrification of industries (or sector coupling as it is known in Germany) is an essential key to achieving CO2 neutrality (see McKinsey, Deloitte, DNV-GL among others). Companies that are pioneers today in breaking down the previous sector boundaries of mobility, buildings and industries will be among the beneficiaries. It is their technologies and business models that will benefit from the immense investments that will flow into electrification and climate protection over the next three decades. Other important clean technologies (esp. alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, alternative energy generation such as nuclear fusion or carbon capture and storage technology) will not play a comparable role in the foreseeable future, in my view. With, I advise and invest specifically in the area of 'Industrial Electrification' to support the global energy transition and to maximize my impact on climate protection.

Asset allocation

Within the area of 'Industrial Electrification' I naturally embrace diversification, after all it 'is the only free lunch you get in investing'. However, due to the better access and the higher awareness for the topic, I have a clear Europe-bias. Overall, I aim for the allocation displayed in the table on the left. I invest in the asset classes 'Publicly traded stocks' and 'Green bonds' on the relevant exchanges, according to a well defined system (the available ETFs in the clean energy and SRI sectors are not curated with sufficient attention to detail to really be considered as an investment for For the time being, the Green Bonds are Euro listed government bonds with highest rating. The percentage allocation is a medium-term goal that I will review annually and adjust if necessary.

Investing in public companies

I divide the area 'Industrial Electrification' into three sub-areas: 'Generation', 'Distribution' and 'Usage'. The sub-area 'Generation' is again devided into three segments: 'Solar Tech', 'Wind Tech' and 'Power Producer'. Similarly, I divide 'Distribution' into the three segments 'Grid Technology', 'Grid Operation' and 'Storage'. And the sub-segment 'Usage' I divide into: 'Demand(-Shaping)', 'Electromobility' and 'Heating/Cooling'. For me, the important underlying level (or 10th segment) that enables systemic change is digitization. I invest globally in three companies from each segment. Depending on the relative strength of the region, I invest in 0 to 3 companies per segment. In total, this results in a portfolio of 27+3 equally weighted companies.