The #AskTheBoss series provides insights into different departments. This time, we talked to Christian Teichmann, CEO at BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI), the growth capital arm of Hubert Burda Media.
Burda - we are over 12,000 people, all with very different, interesting tasks. In the interview series "10 questions for...", we introduce employees from various areas of the company, so you can get to know us even better.
Today we speak to Christian Teichmann, Managing Director of BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI). In the following interview, Christian explains what brought him to Burda, what he is particularly proud of and what he’s aiming to achieve in 2020.
How long have you been with Burda?
Since October 2015.
What did you do before Burda?
After my studies I worked for the investment banks Lazard and Greenhill, and then worked as a management consultant in Munich and London for more than 10 years. Here at Burda I have already worked with Martin Weiss.
Why did you decide on a job at Burda?
There were three main reasons for this decision: the people I would work with directly, the curiosity of the company and the publisher, and the opportunity to build an international investment unit for Burda.
What do you think distinguishes Burda (in three words)?
Diverse, international, ambitious.
You are Managing Director of BurdaPrincipal Investments. In a nutshell: what exactly does this business unit do?
We are a classic growth capital provider for up-and-coming companies in the consumer internet sector. We invest in the USA, Europe and Southeast Asia.
What criteria do companies have to meet in order to be an interesting investment case for BPI?
Typically, companies need to be beyond the start-up phase and already have a turnover in the low double-digit millions. In addition, we expect a high-quality team and a clear strategic differentiation from competitors. Before we invest, we take a very close look at the respective companies and markets. This analysis can sometimes take weeks before we decide to invest. Marketplaces and platform transactions are particularly relevant for us.
At first glance, you might think that BPI primarily spends money, not earns it. How do you make money with investments?
We are a financial investor like other funds. In concrete terms, this means that we acquire a stake, typically a minority position, in a company with the aim of selling it profitably after a few years. Until then, we help our investments increase their value through our work on the board, and by linking our investments to our own network and to the Burda network. With online fashion platform Vinted, our portfolio now includes a ‘Unicorns’, in other words a company with a market valuation of over one billion US dollars. Burda has also been able to sell Etsy at a profit.
Which investments are you particularly proud of?
That's not an easy question to answer, because we have an exciting portfolio with a lot of potential! I am certainly particularly pleased with the development of Vinted, an online secondhand fashion platform. Vinted had massive problems a few years ago. At the time, we were the only existing investor who continued to support the company. Since this month, Vinted officially belongs to the Unicorns! This makes me proud, because our belief in the company and our long-term investment strategy have paid off.
What are BPI's targets for 2020?
We have built one of the few truly international growth capital investing platforms, with teams in Munich, Berlin, London and Singapore. We want to further strengthen this platform next year, with the help of the Burda network.
What do you want from the Burda network?
From the very beginning, we have received a lot of support from Burda - from colleagues and from the network, such as from international innovation network DLD. We are very grateful for this, and we look forward to continuing this cooperation in 2020.