First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Maximilian Winter: We are doing well. Fortunately, we are healthy, and we have taken precautions to stay safe and healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Neue Fund
Maximilian Winter: I worked on Wall Street and saw a need to support technological innovation in areas with complex problems such as human health. I founded the Neue Fund to research pressing market needs and find talented entrepreneurs working on solutions for these needs. I overcame an autoimmune disease and saw a particular need to improve healthcare.
How does Neue Fund innovate?
Maximilian Winter: We research market needs that we think are solvable in our time, either now or within roughly 5 years. Then we find smart entrepreneurs already working on solutions, or if nobody is working on it, we might help entrepreneurs build a company around an idea with structured milestones for value creation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Maximilian Winter: COVID has caused some delays for our portfolio companies, and delays can be expensive. However, I do not currently foresee the delays to cause any company to go out of business. On the positive side, financing became more scarce for a while, and we benefited from some discounts or lower company valuations.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Maximilian Winter: Overall, we have been fortunate. We cut costs but fortunately, did not have to let anybody on our team go. We had candid conversations about a feasible way forward with some portfolio companies. We learned that we have to evaluate the best entrepreneurs in the due diligence phase or hope that they are coachable later. We learned that we are happy to help anyone who uses us as a resource and who is receptive.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Neue Fund in the future?
Maximilian Winter: There are multiple ways I deal with stress and anxiety: address the root cause and chip away at it, communicate, crowdsource solutions, prioritize, meditate, and reflect. We project ourselves in the future positively, by maintaining a creative direction while staying within the bounds of “reality.”
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Maximilian Winter: Most of our “competitors” can actually be collaborators, depending on how many talented entrepreneurs are working on ideas with the potential to change the world at any given time. We have not yet seen a scarcity of that, meaning we have supported almost all entrepreneurs we wanted to, and we are not a megafund with certain constraints, so we currently do not consider anyone competitors. However, we research unmet market needs and market trends and partner with an extensive network to source new opportunities and sources online. We also connect with entrepreneurs and follow them throughout their careers, so we often know first when someone in our network is working on a compelling new company.