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INVESDOR INSIGHTS | 26.1.2023
Günther is responsible for the commercial business in Germany and Austria at Invesdor and is the Managing Director of the Invesdor Group unit regulated under the European Crowdfunding Regulation.
Hello Günther, although Invesdor's headquarters are in Berlin, we're catching you via video call in Vienna. Perhaps you could briefly explain to our readers why.
As many people surely know, Invesdor consolidated three digital crowdfunding platforms: Kapilendo from Berlin, Finnest from Vienna and Invesdor from Helsinki. The headquarters are in Berlin now, but the other two locations are still there - and as the founder and former CEO of Finnest, a large part of my professional life still takes place in the Vienna office.
You are a real Viennese, right?
That's exactly right (laughs). Where to find the best Schnitzel and friendliest "Heuriger" – a typical Austrian tavern – in Vienna is part of my core competence.
What do you do at Invesdor?
I am the Managing Director of Invesdor GmbH, and responsible for the commercial business in Austria and Germany at Invesdor Group. Our team aims to find exciting and interesting companies and turn them into attractive investment opportunities for our users. We have a plethora of options, from debt to equity. And within the framework of our new European crowdfunding licence, we can offer transnational funding rounds. This is very interesting for both companies and investors.
Speaking of which, you initially worked at a large bank - what made you switch to the fintech side after many years of working there?
I wanted to make better use of the opportunities that technology offered even back then and drive digitalisation forward at the bank. However, when I realised I couldn't impact my superiors in this area, I decided to show the potential elsewhere - and founded the crowdinvesting platform Finnest with two other gentlemen in Vienna in 2014.
What do you consider to be the typical Austrian investor?
Austrian investors are often very open to new prospects and are not afraid to invest internationally. So far, the focus has been mainly on German companies. Due to our close relationship, we have lots of insight and trust in the German economy in Austria. Ask me again in a year. I hope that by then, we will have added many new countries. Soon we'll start with the Netherlands.
How do you want to convince your community of your offer?
We want to enable investors to get involved in companies that want to shape the future and offer an attractive return. Their products and services should positively impact and noticeably improve the lives of people and investors. We also believe that corporations with massive marketing budgets should not dominate the topic of "sustainability". Real sustainability comes from thousands of regionally active SMEs living it for years or just now discovering its benefits.
On the other hand, what do you offer companies?
We can offer them many different financing instruments to support them throughout their entire development at every stage, whether in an early growth phase or a later consolidation phase. It's also about presenting your company with pride and taking it forward with the people who like what you're doing. Building and expanding your community is an essential contribution that crowdfunding can make in this area.
There are plenty of challenges, especially for traditional SMEs...
Many challenges have characterised the last few years. But most companies are facing these challenges and learning to adapt their business. This will make the economy more resilient in the long run. But sure, things can get rougher in the short term. We will respond to this with equity instruments that strengthen companies and offer investors an attractive reward for the risk.
What else do you notice?
For too long, the European economy has relied on cheap energy, high-tech and low production costs coming from somewhere else. Companies must quickly find ways to work more sustainably, save resources and energy, and shorten supply chains. Even if "Herculean tasks" are arising, this is very healthy for Europe in the long term. And we will support them where we can.
Invesdor is currently joining forces with OnePlanetCrowd from the Netherlands. Where do you see the most significant advantage for investors?
Funding alternative energy projects with the support of the Crowd has a tradition in the Netherlands, and OnePlanetCrowd is a leading platform in this field. We will use the know-how and experience of our Dutch team members and develop suitable forms of investment in Germany and Austria, such as citizen participation models.
How do you invest money yourself?
Among other things, I started investing in crowd-investing projects while founding Finnest. I'm still doing that today - I've built up a nice portfolio over the years, and I'm pleased about the returns.
What do you do after work or on weekends?
I try to spend as much time as possible with my family or doing sports - having been an enthusiastic triathlete in the past, I still try to swim, cycle or run as often as possible.
The information contained herein is not meant to be, and it shall not be interpreted as investment advice or a recommendation and investors must neither accept any offer for, nor acquire, any securities unless they do so on the basis of the information contained in the applicable investment material of a target company. Investing in securities of unlisted companies is associated with high risk.